Sunday, September 19, 2021

UK logistics space demand hits record levels

Demand for UK logistics and distribution space reached record levels in Q3 2020 as retailers and 3PLs expanded their supply chains in response to the ongoing pandemic, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The firm’s research revealed the third quarter of the year was the busiest on record with 16 million sq ft of space transacted, nearly double the ten-year average for Q3 of 8 million sq ft.

The figures indicate a further acceleration in demand for logistics and distribution space to keep pace with the boom in e-commerce. In total, e-commerce has accounted for 40% of take-up so far this year – an all-time high – with related sectors including meal kit operators, parcel delivery and fulfillment companies also expanding.

Reflecting the ongoing pandemic response, several short-term requirements have developed into long-term commitments during the quarter, including Supply Chain Co-Ordination (NHS/Clipper Logistics) leasing 536,991 sq ft at DIRFT in Northampton on a 5-year term for PPE storage.

The data also shows that take-up for the first nine months of the year reached 35.5 million (excluding 3.7m sq ft of short-term deals) with a further 11.5 million sq ft currently under offer. It means that take-up has already outstripped the full-year take-up for 2019 of 33.2 million sq ft with 2020 on course to set a record for take-up.

Amazon continued to expand its big box and last-mile network during the quarter, taking 2.3 million sq ft at Panattoni Park in Swindon which was the largest deal in Q3. The online retailer accounts for one third of all take-up this year so far, acquiring 11.5 million sq ft in total.

Record take-up levels, combined with a slowdown in speculative development, meant there was a 11% drop in supply during the quarter with total availability falling to 66 million sq ft. Supply is now below its historical average across all regions bar the Midlands and the South East, with the North West recording the sharpest year-on-year decline in availability (-39%)

Simon Lloyd, Head of Logistics and Industrial at Cushman & Wakefield in the Midlands, said: “The market trends accelerated by the pandemic continued to drive demand during Q3, and the Midlands region saw some 45% of the UK’s total take up, with both the East and West Midlands performing well.

“Robust take-up is fast eroding existing supply, with some regions and sub-markets now facing a shortage of suitable accommodation across certain size bands.

“Availability levels across the Midlands have decreased by over 15%, and speculative development has slowed, which means this imbalance could persist. There are signs that prime rent growth could return as a result, particularly for mid-box units.”

Bruno Berretta, Associate Director, UK Industrial & Logistics Research and Insight at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Whilst the pandemic has taken centre stage over the last few months, investors and occupiers are now starting to turn their attention towards Brexit.

“Although the outcome of ongoing negotiations is uncertain, and some sectors such as manufacturing are arguably more vulnerable to a ‘hard’ Brexit than others, the market is about to enter some potentially disruptive months in good shape. Demand has proved resilient and supply is in line with its long-term average and 30% below its post-GFC peak.”

From an investment perspective, volumes recovered some of the lost ground during Q3, rising 77% quarter-on-quarter to £1.65 billion, on a par with Q3 2019. As a result, at £4.0bn, transactions year-to-date are now only 8% below 2019 levels.

However, the research also revealed that the number of deals is down sharply by 45%, suggesting that larger deals have retained their market appeal as certain investors continue to scale up. Overseas investors account for almost 50% of total investment so far this year.

Ned Jones, Capital Markets Partner at Cushman & Wakefield in Birmingham, added: “Despite the challenging economic climate, there remains a significant pool of capital looking to increase exposure to the industrial sector, which has been one of the most resilient UK commercial property sectors so far.

“Competition for prime assets is very healthy and we are seeing this firsthand on the various sale mandates we have locally with over £50m of stock that we have recently put to the market.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £33.60 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.