Sparkling Q2 For Golden Triangle Sheds But Beware Of Tarnishing
However you cut the data, the Midlands shed market looks strong.
This week's big lettings and finance deals, including an NHS supplier’s decision to take 537K SF at Prologis' DIRFT site in Northamptonshire, and NFU Mutual funding the £24M development of a 200K SF M40 mid-box scheme at Bicester come at the end of a record-breaking Q2.
A total of 16 deals over 50K SF took take-up in the quarter to 4.2M SF according to Knight Frank’s quarterly dashboard report, an increase of 51% compared to the long-term quarterly average.
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Key occupational deals included Beeswift taking 119K SF at Hub 120 Birmingham and a 335K SF pre-let to Great Bear at Central M40 Banbury.
Industrial investment volumes were also up, but by a more modest 4% at £206M.
But the glittering spring quarter could give way to a more tarnished second half. Knight Frank pointed to the danger of grey space returning to the market. But there are reasons for caution.
Whilst the UK government is unlikely to go as far as the French government, which is mulling a temporary moratorium on Amazon warehouse development, government proposals for an online sales tax have long been a concern to the warehouse sector.
Its anxiety is that the complexities of creating an online sales tax will defeat the government that will focus instead on the much easier route of imposing higher or supplementary business rates for warehouse premises. Retailers have also expressed anxiety.
New data from Gerald Eve shows how dependent the warehouse property scene is on online sales.
Nationwide Q2 take-up totalled a record 14M SF, an increase of 19% on Q1 and 17% above the five-year quarterly average. The figure would be higher if NHS transactions were included.
Amazon’s pipeline grew by 6M SF in six buildings during Q2, with more to come. Amazon provided the UK’s largest deal in Q2 with its 2.3M SF signing in Dartford.
Retailers and wholesalers accounted for 63% of Q2 occupier demand. Dedicated internet retailers alone accounted for 44%.
A tax crunch on the warehouse sector, or a French-style clampdown on development, will inevitably have serious damage given this level of retailer demand for the logistics property.
Contact David Thame at email@example.com.