With Q1 2019 almost complete, Tom Holloway and Stuart Mitchell give their views on commercial property activity across the South Coast. Portsmouth based Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell specialises in office and industrial agency, valuation, management and professional advice, drawing on the team’s wide-ranging experience. Both Stuart and Tom have served as Chair to The Portsmouth Property Association, promoting the sector to businesses the city, as well as supporting local charities through events held.
There were two principal themes seen throughout 2018; the strength of the freehold market and specific interest in industrial space, and as 2019 begun, this continues. One example came at The Potteries in Fareham, where well-appointed offices of 4,000 sq ft had been available to lease but with little interest. On our appointment as agents, we recommended the property be offered for sale, resulting in an agreed deal and exchange within a month.
The regional focus is very much on the industrial sector with several speculative developments recently or close to completion, including Merlin Park in Portsmouth, Velocity in Havant and Daedalus Park in Lee-on-the-Solent. Daedalus Park has been particularly popular with Phase II close to completion. All units were sold off plan and even those bought as investments have almost all been let.
Key to our client relationships is being able to offer them more than one service. Towards the end of 2018, we advised on the acquisition of The Briars Business Park and following the deal’s completion have since been appointed as both management and leasing agent for the site.
When viewed as a whole, the market continues to be active, whether in spite or because of Brexit, it is difficult to know. Businesses are still growing, and with that growth can come the need to move. Occupiers can overthink the move option when they could repurpose their existing space. Where the decision to relocate is based on a lease event, the result of several transactions we have been involved with, has been a successful renegotiation of a new lease, a revised office plan with a new fit out to give the additional space originally required.
The first two months of 2019 have already been busy. There is without doubt a certain amount of caution based on the uncertainly of Brexit, but we are optimistic that the South Coast is quite well placed to weather the storm and more widely the market won’t stagnate to the same degree it did a decade ago.