Award-winning commercial real estate agency Bromwich Hardy has called for more development land to be urgently identified across the West Midlands to help drive economic growth.
The Coventry-based firm says a long-standing lack of land supply is stifling the ambitions of companies to grow across the region.
The firm’s founding partner Tom Bromwich was speaking as he launched the 2022 Bromwich Hardy Barometer - containing a wealth of facts and figures about the office and industrial market across Coventry and Warwickshire.
He told an audience of 70 leading property, construction and development experts at the event at the Telegraph Hotel in Coventry that 2022 had been a year of growth for the agency. Highlights included:
• Commercial sales of more than £35million
• Land sales of £57.6million
• Lease deals worth £4.3million
• Bromwich Hardy again the biggest dealmaker across Coventry and Warwickshire
Tom said that the 2023 market remained positive, despite the challenging economic background, and that there were good reasons for optimism across the commercial property sector.
“The last 12 months has seen Coventry and Warwickshire continue to do well. The region’s location, in the Golden Triangle at the heart of the nation’s motorway network, insulates it from some of the more chilling effects of the current economic difficulties and has enabled it to remain competitive.
“The warehousing sector has been particularly strong, with excellent demand for high-quality units whenever they have become available. Occupier demand has also held up well across the region over the last 12 months – and shows all the signs of continuing to do so. The strength of interest is reflected in rising rental values, with a unit at Tachbrook Park in Leamington Spa achieving £13 per square foot earlier this summer – thought to be a new record rent for industrial warehousing in the town.
“And the office market has shrugged off suggestions that it would be hard-hit by the pandemic. We have seen the level of deals continue to improve as employers have recognised the need to offer high-quality, sustainable and employee-focussed work spaces as a way of attracting staff back from their home offices. Developments such as Bourn in Coventry are a perfect example of this trend.”
But Tom said the lack of new land for development was a serious concern and one which needed addressing urgently.
“There is a significant lack of employment land on offer and the pipeline for the future is nothing like as strong as we would like to see. Very few new schemes are coming through and demand is being consistently frustrated by supply.
“This is a hugely serious issue for the region. Our location means we are an attractive destination of choice for developers, but they will simply start to look elsewhere if the regional and national authorities do not take urgent steps to open up more of the new opportunities for employment land we so urgently need.”
Bromwich Hardy partner David Penn and Lisa Dean from industry data experts CoStar gave guests an update in the state of the markets, whilst Brian Harrabin, from Complex Development Projects spoke about the scheme to transform the former Coventry Telegraph offices into the new Telegraph Hotel.