Chartered surveyors and valuers John Truslove, who are based in Redditch, said Brexit had been a mere “hiccup” in a very successful year.
Sales of industrial properties, in particular, were up. They trebled in 2016 and could have been far higher if more stock was available in north Worcestershire.
John Truslove director Ian Parker said the demand was further evidence of the pressing need to identify more employment land in north east Worcestershire and the M42 corridor.
“It was noticeable that Hepworth Park, seven units speculatively built, let in short order, and when the 50,000 sq ft Unit 2 at Acanthus Park was released it was snapped up by Avon Groupage prior to practical completion.
“This was Redditch’s first speculatively-built, large-scale Grade A industrial unit since the 2008 recession and it provided powerful evidence of the underlying demand for space in the town.
“Redditch, Bromsgrove and Droitwich are very well placed location-wise. They have good, skilled and semi-skilled residents and there is clearly an opportunity here that is being missed,” he said.
But he pointed to Royal Enfield Business Park as the next jewel in Redditch’s crown. The former manufacturing site of the iconic Royal Enfield motorcycle is being re-developed into factory and warehouse units.
Redditch firm EDR Developments are set to deliver a total of 11 units available separately or in combinations, ranging from 1,000 to 24,210 sq ft, with completion scheduled for summer 2017.
John Truslove is marketing the scheme.
Ian Parker said: “We are already in detailed negotiations on three units with bluechip companies competing for space.”
Increased demand for industrial space coupled with lack of available stock in Redditch and Bromsgrove is the main reason that freehold values have “gone through the roof”.
“Price-wise, we have surpassed what was being paid at the height of the market in 2007, with the recent sale of Heming Point achieving a new record for the town.
“And this is also reflected in rents. Hepworth Park set new levels and Royal Enfield is coming to the market at rents from £8 per sq ft.
“On one industrial estate, the io Centre, units that were achieving £4.25 per sq ft two years ago are now letting at £6.50,” he pointed out.
The office sector also fared well with Oakenshaw House, at 13,500 sq ft, being let by John Truslove in the largest office sale or letting in the town for over ten years.
The town still represented good value against south Birmingham and Solihull, with rents for secondary stock achieving £10-13 per sq ft against £18-25 in neighbouring areas.
Turning to 2017, he said that Brexit and the Trump presidency cast uncertainty over any attempt to make sound predictions, but he pointed out that the Brexit affect had so far been minimal in Worcestershire.
“The phones went quiet for a period after the vote and we had the usual quieter time during August, but the market returned with a bang in the autumn – hence our results being 30 per cent up, which arguably might have been better without the Referendum confusion.
“However, Worcestershire has a lot going for it. We have a proactive LEP and local authorities who are now well aware of the pressure on business space and the need to react positively.
Examples of companies in the Redditch and Bromsgrove area which we have recently assisted fulfil their ambitious growth aspirations include:
- BEE Lighting – recently named National Small Business of the Year in the British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. BEE Lighting are industry experts in interior and exterior lighting products – mostly, but not solely, for the automotive industry.
- Gymshark – awarded ‘fastest growing business in the UK’ in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table. The online retailer, utilising social media to build its brand recognition, grew sales of its gym clothing by an average of 193 per cent a year to £12.8 million in 2016.
- Thorlux Lighting – respected throughout the World for their comprehensive range of professional lighting and control systems for architectural, commercial, floodlighting, industrial, hazardous area as well as tunnel applications.
Ian Parker concluded: “And at John Truslove we are proud to say that we have helped them with their property needs in recent times.
“We look forward to another prosperous year for us all, and await your call.”