The commercial property market in Lancashire is experiencing a strong period at the moment. We have seen commercial clients across the region looking to grow – both by way of increasing space in their current premises and taking up space in additional locations. Alongside this we have seen an increase in demand for new units – both large and small.
In this blog we take a look at the challenges and opportunities that face the commercial property sector as we head towards a new year.
In Lancashire’s office sector, demand and take up is reasonably good for small to medium sized space. Larger lettings are more difficult to achieve, with some units remaining unoccupied for longer periods of time.
There continues to be strong interest for owner-occupied space, whilst good quality buildings in proven locations remain good investment options.
In general, the lack of new stock in good locations constrains the market to a degree. Whilst there is reasonable demand, build costs increases have outstripped rent rises, such that speculative development is very challenging.
Landlords who take a more proactive role- offering shared spaces, communal facilities (such as receptions split between businesses etc)- can really appeal to small businesses and we expect to see this even more in 2019. There is risk here, but also opportunity as these businesses grow.
Smaller industrial units are proving popular and particularly those that offer flexible space –for example those that have office space combined with storage or workshops.
Lea Hough has been acting as employers agent on a number of commercial developments throughout the county. One such development is Pendle Court, which will have a nursery and an engineering firm in its two main units, with another 11 smaller units being built and lettings already agreed. This goes to show the level of demand for such units in the region.
There is a general lack of good quality space in attractive locations (i.e. close to transport links, facilities and centres of population) whilst, as ever, provision of sufficient parking is also limited.
Edge of settlement developments that have good links to the motorway, but also a connection to an urban centre, remain popular. For example, developments at Buckshaw Village and South Rings have been very successful in attracting and retaining tenants.
Town and city centres generally proved a more difficult prospect in 2018 and we expect this to continue in 2019. They do appeal to some operators who need to be in close proximity to the town centre or benefit from passing trade.
Lea Hough can assist both commercial landlords and tenants by way of conducting a range of reports such as Pre-Acquisition Surveys, Schedules of Condition, Pre-Lease Assessments and Schedules of Dilapidations. Additionally, we are able to undertake a wider range of property consultancy services for commercial clients, including Employers Agent and Development Monitoring, Project Management, planning and building regulations advice and planned preventative maintenance programmes.
For more advice on any of our services to the commercial sector, please contact us.