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5

Commercial Property Register

December 2017 - March 2018

www.compropregister.com

The investment flows across the North West appear to be holding up

and are being helped by a shift from the south as investors seek higher

yields.

Manchester agent Christopher Dee has bought four properties for the

Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester’s fund, two of which are in

Blackburn and Knowsley. The other two are in Edinburgh and London and

have a yield of 6.5%.

The unitized property fund (UU(P)IF) provides returns for the Society’s

129 branches as well as central funds and is currently valued at around £65

million.

Chris Jones of Christopher Dee commented: “We have focused on stock

that can cope with the inevitable changes in the market that are being

properly contemplated by professionals dealing in the sector. With signs

that Brexit is now beginning to impact in a negative way in several property

sectors, and as occupier demand stalled by uncertainty is no longer a given,

it will be quality, well-let stock that will prevail over the next few years.”

Oddfellows, a non-profit organisation, is one of the largest and oldest

friendly societies in the UK (established in 1810) and has 310,000 members.

TOP OF THE

props

It is easy to forget that the current status of

Manchester as a global business centre has

been a long and often hard journey that

has taken a combination of forceful local

government and entrepreneurial spirit.

That is why Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy

Burnham, needs to step carefully in his declared

objective of radically rewriting the area’s spatial

framework. Burnham’s argument is that the plan

was not good enough and would bring urban

blight and traffic congestion.

For a decade or more, there has been a subtle

balance between the aims of the council under

Sir Howard Bernstein and the local developers

that many thought brought the results the city

needed and spread throughout the region.

Burnham appears to be unhappy with the

developer-led approach and is switching to

a policy with the emphasis on town centres,

integrated transport, new cycling infrastructure

and possibly increased digital start-up space.

Broadly speaking, the major concern for the

property industry in the North West is that too

many radical changes to the plans will disrupt

new development, particularly of housing.

Changing the plans comes at a time when

Manchester has been acclaimed as dynamic

business centre, the latest being a survey by

Trainline, an independent train ticket retailer

that cited Manchester as the second most

popular business city after London for SMEs in

the UK.

Another positive indicator is the report by

Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) that property

investment in the North West in the second

quarter totalled £610 million, up 30% on the

previous three months and 5% ahead of the

same period of 2016.

LSH noted that the leisure and hotel

market accounted for around a quarter of the

total at £147 million, once again well up on

January-March. Top of the pops with an 80%

rise was industrial property with such deals

as UBS paying £47 million for the Stakehill

Industrial Estate.

Ben Roberts of LSH said: “While the

resilience of the North West market is welcome

news for investors, buyers are having to work

much harder to dig out deals and we have

seen a significant increase in off-market and

selective marketing over the last quarter.”

It is important that the government

recognises the transport needs of the region

and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip

Hammond, has made an extra £400 million

available for the Northern Powerhouse. This is

aimed at bringing faster rail services between

Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and

York (as well as the East Midlands and London).

IN BRIEF

Towngate

celebrated the conclusion of their refurbishment of

the 7,060 sq metres (76,000 sq ft) warehouse Towngate Business

Centre at 1 Everite Road with a launch for industrial agents. The

self-contained unit is available to let to a single occupier, providing

warehouse space and offices on the modernised estate.

Considerable interest has already been shown in the unit.

TREAD

carefully

NEWS