A Lincolnshire town which for years has carried hundreds of thousands of square feet of unused warehouse and office space has seen its stockpile of vacant commercial property halved as the post-crisis recovery gathers pace.
At the depths of the recession there was three-million sq ft of large property available in Scunthorpe — that has plunged by more than half, with a string of recent 40,000-plus sq ft deals.
“Searches show there is now is just under 1.5m sq ft available in and around the town,” said Carl Bradley, a director at chartered surveyors Clark Weightman. “That is a massive shift in both stock and confidence.”
Prices, said Bradley, are varying widely across the north of the county and could range from 60p to £3.50 per sq ft depending on age, quality of services, the building location and overall condition. “There is some stock remaining, but that is almost dead stock and it’s unlikely anything is going to happen with it,” he added.
A resurgence of confidence is also driving deals at property managers Scotts. “There is certainly renewed enthusiasm and we are now seeing organisations that are not back to pre-recession trading, but getting there,” explained partner Lawrence Brown.
“They are pushing the boat out, taking the 50,000sq ft, even if they only need 25,000sq ft, so that in six, 12, or 18 months’ time they are ready to hit the ground running and can meet demand as it increases,” he added.
Duncan Willey is a partner at PPHand feels Grimsby is also suffering a demand shortage. “New stock is generally a problem, as there is not much coming to the market, and what is coming is moving at a reasonably steady speed,” he said.
“There is still no speculative investment of any note in the current climate. No-one is building new buildings, so older stock is being refurbished, and in some cases, because of empty business rates, some of the poorer quality buildings have been demolished.”
At one time PPH had 10 properties in excess of 50,000sq ft on its books, now it has just two. “The economy has improved and we are seeing a situation where not only is there indigenous growth in companies, but other companies are coming into the area too,” Willey concluded.
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