In recent months, much has been made of companies taking warehouses to stockpile goods ahead of Brexit, but ask agents and institutional investors and they will tell you it has not quite been the phenomenon it was expected to be.
There have been enquiries, sure, but there haven’t actually been many deals. Of the deals that have been done, most have involved third-party logistics companies, which are subletting space where they have spare capacity. Where whole warehouses have been let, the consensus is that the space that returns to the market when Brexit is resolved will be absorbed quickly.
This is partly a result of the ongoing national land and supply shortages, which are particularly acute in markets along the planned HS2 route, where industrial land is being taken out to make way for the line.
Land being ring-fenced for this and other uses has contributed to the widening gap between land prices and rents. Carter Jonas data shows that in Coventry, for example, rents rose by 3.6% and the cost of land by 41.7% over the 12 months to March. Comfortingly, though, the gap is expected to close across the UK.
As for take-up, JLL data shows there was a sharp slowdown in Q1 2019, albeit off a high base. Nevertheless, spec development continues apace, signalling ongoing confidence in the market.
Uncertainty has become the new normal, but for the property industry’s golden child it is very much business as usual… for now at least.
Mia Hunt is Property Week’s market reports editor
Industrial & logistics supplement
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Uncertainty’s the new normal, but it’s business as usual for industrial & logistics