Industrial & logistics is one of the few sectors to have emerged strongly from the pandemic. Indeed, such has been the boom in demand for shed space, mainly from ecommerce retailers but also cold storage operators and data centres, that speculative development is booming, too.

Grace Howarth

Grace Howarth

Data from Cushman & Wakefield shows that 12.5m sq ft of speculative development is expected to be completed in 2021 – only 1m sq ft less than the record 13.5m sq ft in 2019 (p8). The figure could have been higher, but a lack of materials has been a thorn in developers’ sides since the pandemic started (p12). Building materials, particularly steel, are in perilously short supply, which has prompted costs to soar and slowed delivery.

Putting additional pressure on supply are all the new industries looking for shed space, such as the film and TV production industry, with streaming services in addition to traditional film studio companies on the hunt for studio space. Studio provider Location Collective is hoping to meet some of this demand with OMA:X, which opens this summer (p16).

Modular home developers are another new group snapping up space. Following the government’s commitment last September to deliver 75,000 modular homes a year by 2030, this sector could become a major occupier of warehouse space over the next five to 10 years if it takes off – and with Brexit that remains an if (p26).

With demand soaring from occupiers old and new, the market shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Grace Howarth is Property Week’s market reports editor