Friday, 6 November 2015

Kent Property Market Report 2015 upbeat

Having attended yesterday’s launch of the Kent Property Market Report 2015 Andrew Metcalf says it’s good to note that, if the figures are to be believed – and there’s no reason to doubt them given the authors and contributors – there really is an upturn in investment, growth, and commercial confidence.

The conclusion of the 2015 report is that Kent and Medway’s commercial property market is witnessing the return of rental growth.

Produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, the report was launched at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, along with a new KCC-led initiative (more about that another day).

The report is encouraging news for the office sector, with the return of rental growth for the first time since the global financial crisis hit in 2008. While rental growth in the county is still slightly behind the national and South East averages, the upturn is described as significant. 

Additionally, the report states the recent past has left rents in the county relatively affordable when compared to the rest of the South East, making Kent an attractive proposition for relocating and expanding businesses. The county’s key business parks of Crossways, Discovery Park, Gillingham Business Park, Kings Hill and Kent Science Park, all recorded important deals and investment announcements.

Kent’s town centre office markets followed the national trend with many being converted to residential units thanks to the Permitted Development Rights legislation.

Elsewhere, 0.2% of rental growth in the county’s warehouse sector outperformed UK and regional averages, while the retail sector also saw growth after five years of falling rents. With demand steady and supply low, Kent has seen speculative industrial and distribution developments, including at Ashford, Aylesford and Kingsnorth. 

Caxtons’ Chairman Ron Roser said: “Kent has mirrored other occupational office and industrial markets outside London in demand and rental growth. In turn, this has sustained investor interest, and when strong assets do come to the market there is increased interest and competition. 

“In general, improving infrastructure and on-going regeneration has positively and directly benefitted Kent, presenting us with many more opportunities than in the recent past.”

A clear indication of the growth in demand in the county has come from Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, which helped 46 companies, 16 of them from overseas, to set up in the county in 2014/15, bringing with them 2,612 jobs.

“The Kent Property Market Report reflects the level of growth across the county, which is at its highest for many years,” said Paul Wookey, Chief Executive of Locate in Kent.

“As property demand rises we have to ensure we are attracting high quality developers to invest and bring new product to the market, whether they are new offices, retail development, warehousing or industrial space.

“We are fortunate that here in Kent, there are tremendous opportunities for those developers to deliver that space with support from local authorities, national Government and agencies such as ourselves.”

The Kent Property Market Report is also supported by Cripps, DHA Planning, Kreston Reeves and RICS.

Visit www.kentpropertymarket.com to read the report.

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