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Reasons to be optimistic accoring to Ian Pitt, Partner, Bruton Knowles - Birmingham

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Reasons to be optimistic accoring to Ian Pitt, Partner, Bruton Knowles - BirminghamAt the start of the year thoughts always turn to the year ahead. It’s a time of optimism as we say farewell to the previous year and turn our attention to the next 12 months.

What will the future hold for the property market? How will the economy perform? How will we achieve business growth? These are the questions that business owners and managers will be asking themselves.

I suspect that for many people in the commercial property industry the view will be one of cautious optimism. It’s no secret that the sector has had its challenges over the last few years but there are signs that the market may have turned a corner.

In the office market, according to figures from the Birmingham Office Market Forum, take-up of new and secondhand space in the city centre increased quarter on quarter during 2012 to end the year on 500,955 sq ft. Although historically low, there are a number of significant requirements in the market, which bodes well for stronger take-up figures this year.

The shed market also put in a good performance in 2012, with increased take-up in the second half of the year.

At Bruton Knowles, we have noticed a general upturn in the number of enquiries we are receiving on the agency side and there appears to be more businesses relocating to new premises, which could indicate that general business confidence is returning, with companies investing in better or larger premises.

In the Birmingham office, we have also maintained a good level of valuation instructions over the last 12 months, despite the difficult economic conditions. As lending activity increases, we expect the volume of valuation instructions will also rise, along with opportunities for building consultancy work.

However, while these are all encouraging signs, there may still be some challenges lying ahead for the commercial property industry.

In the industrial sector, for example, available stock is continuing to dwindle and with little in the way of new stock being built there could be a severe shortage within the next 12 – 18 months, unless developers start speculatively building again.

In the office market, space is also at a premium, with the level of available Grade A space in Birmingham slowly being chipped away. There is, however, plenty of secondhand office space on the market, but with the government relaxing the planning rules to enable offices to be converted into residential property, we may yet see some of this stock being absorbed by the residential sector. We have already seen a number of redundant office buildings in Birmingham brought back to life as hotels, so it will be interesting to see how the property sector reacts to this latest planning development.

Notwithstanding these challenges, I sense there is a quiet confidence among the property community in Birmingham and the West Midlands for the prospects for the industry in 2013.  
For Bruton Knowles, I’m optimistic that 2013 will be another good year.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 3rd February 2013

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