I wrote this guest blog for Nottingham Means Business last week…
What is coming is better than what has gone!
It’s been a tough few years in the property game; the doldrums of 2008 seem to have finally left us.
We presented our Market Insite to over 400 people recently – in our three cities but also in London too. We have been monitoring the regional property market for more than a decade. This year’s report showed increased levels of speculative development and refurbishment across the region – the investment sector lead the way as confidence returned to the market and multi-million pound investments in transport and leisure delivering excellent facilities across the region helping, with more to come in 2015.
The East Midlands has really pushed itself to the fore during 2014, emerging as one of the strongest regional economies in the UK, and the property market is undoubtedly reflecting that.
Commercial property prices are approaching pre-crash levels in some sectors and the UK is set to power ahead in 2015. The mood across the East Midlands property market is a positive one, as we look ahead to what is set to be an exciting 2015.
The market in the East Midlands has not been subject to the fluctuations experienced in the South East, and we could well see the regions come further to the fore in 2015 as domestic institutions look outside of the over-heated London market to invest in higher yielding markets.
Political focus on the regions could also have a hugely positive impact on the East Midlands, with devolution a real buzz word outside of the capital at the moment.
In Nottingham, improvements to the retail offering are well underway with the £40m redevelopment works at intu Victoria Centre set for completion in December, with a range of new restaurants due to open in time for Christmas. Plans for a multi-million revamp of intu Broadmarsh are also due to be submitted for planning in the early part of this year too.
Industrial activity in Nottingham was up 45% on 2013 levels and investment deals were at £300m – more than double the 2013 figures.
At the London event we were joined by Commercial Secretary to the Treasury – Lord Deighton who heralded the East Midlands as an “excellent place to invest” – and said HS2 would help unlock even greater growth in the region. He also saw that investors are increasingly looking outside London for value and opportunity – and that the East Midlands was making the most of this.
Lord Deighton, who is the Minister for UK infrastructure projects, said at our event, “The potential location of a station in the East Midlands is a key issue. An East Midlands hub is essential. It is important to choose the right location and discussions on this are now underway.”
But he also said it wasn’t all about HS2. There is the £500 million extension of rail electrification from Bedford to Nottingham, as the first phase of the ‘Electrine Spine’ programme which will see the whole of London to Sheffield route electrified.
“Add to that, major investment in the road infrastructure in the East Midlands, such as the A453 widening due to be finished later this year and which improves access between Nottingham and the M1. Through growth deals announced in July 2014, the Government will invest more than £17 million in projects across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to fund a wide range of projects to unlock local growth.”
In my view one of the biggest challenges facing the market at the moment is a lack of good quality stock, but already a number of schemes have been announced to deliver high quality space throughout the East Midlands.
In Nottingham, the return of speculative refurbishment has already begun to supplement stock levels in the city, a trend that I fully expect to see continue during 2015, not only in Nottingham but across the region.
Reasons to be cheerful as Ian Dury once quipped!