Renewed confidence across the board has seen the property market in the East Midlands continue to improve according to regional expert and director at Innes England, Matthew Hannah.
He said: “We are seeing more and more companies making positive decisions to invest and expand and a subsequent increase in market activity that obviously has a relationship with economic performance in not only the East Midlands but the UK as a whole.
“The property market is cyclical, so the levels achieved pre-recession can certainly be achieved again but the way we get there is likely to be different – the fundamentals have changed. Across the East Midlands we are starting to see rents recovering in prime areas such as Clumber Street in Nottingham, but they are not quite back to where they were before the downturn.
“That said, it is important to remember while the investment market in this country is strong at the moment, it is set against a very different climate – money is much cheaper now than it was before the recession, interest rates are very low.”
The retail and leisure sector has seen growth in the East Midlands during the last 12 months – something Matthew attributes to an improved confidence from consumers.
He said: “It isn’t just businesses that are feeling more confident – the man on the street is too. People are happier to spend their money now, which has had a really positive effect in the retail and leisure industry.
“Nottingham is a perfect example with new restaurants and bars opening nearly every month; intu Victoria Centre has just added an entirely new dining area in response to consumer demand.
“Leisure facilities are also becoming increasingly popular. For example, we recently helped to bring Planet Bounce into Nottingham city centre, but there is a real demand for that sort of facility across the county. It’s a very healthy market at the moment.”
Development is also back on the cards with an increased demand for everything from discount foodstores to office space – and the East Midlands distribution market continues to thrive.
Hannah added: “The development market is emerging, with people keen to find good quality sites for a range of different uses. Student residential is a significant market in the East Midlands with schemes planned and underway across the region. The region is also a strong strategic location for distribution warehousing, which is doing well too.
“Unlike pre-recession, however, there is a much bigger need for private investment to fund capital transactions. The banks are getting behind businesses, but the percentage borrowing they are offering is lower than previously – which is more sustainable. A number of businesses are purchasing for their own occupation in the current interest rate environment”.
Hannah predicts that 2016 will bring more of the same as the hunt for good quality stock across the market continues. He said: “The market is encouraging at the moment, and I expect we will continue to see improvements into 2016. Perhaps we will even start to see a few more cranes.”