‘Strong fundamentals’ of industrial market will help it bounce back from Covid-19 crisis, says report

May 15, 2020

Take-up in the West of England’s industrial property market will be hit by the Covid-19 pandemic but should bounce back quickly, according to a forecast by one of the region’s top property agencies.

Colliers International says the fundamentals of the market remain strong – and even now deals are being done. 

Take-up in Bristol alone during the first quarter of 2020 was up on the same period last year with 342,000 sq ft let or sold in a total of 36 deals.

Tom Watkins, pictured, head of Colliers South West Industrial & Logistics team, told the firm’s recent Q1 industrial & logistics webinar: “The Covid-19 crisis is inevitably going to affect take-up as companies focus on the matter at hand as opposed to their relocation plans.

“Notwithstanding this, the fundamentals of the South West industrial sector remain strong, built on a lack of available stock and pent-up demand, so we’re confident that rents will remain unaffected but, in some cases, rent-free periods may push out slightly in order to secure leases.”

He said deals under 10,000 sq ft and 20,000 sq ft were still completing, adding: “I am aware of some larger lets that are still rumbling on, albeit probably at a slightly slower pace than before.”

The type of active tenant appeared to be in the healthcare and R&D (research and development) sectors, he said, which were particularly resilient at the moment.

Mr Watkins also pointed out that, nationally, trade counters were already starting to gear up for the opening of stores and were adopting precautionary measures. However, he added that there was presently little new acquisition activity in the market.

“On the whole, most trade occupiers seem to still have new acquisitions on hold, and this is unlikely to resume until the main function of each company has started to fire up again and more importantly, government restrictions begin to relax allowing inspections,” he said.

The Colliers’ report comes after research conducted by rival Cushman & Wakefield showed demand for short-term industrial space around the region surged in March as the impact of Covid-19 spurred retailers and logistics firms to seek extra capacity to meet demand.

The firm said panic buying by consumers and the growth in online sales sparked by the lockdown had a marked effect on the industrial market while businesses linked to supplying equipment to the NHS had also been forced to take extra space to meet spiralling demand.




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