The state of the market - we have never had it so good?

  • Is it all blue skies for commercial property? 

The property market is vibrant once more – and that’s partly down to the election. Managing director Tim Garratt explains why.

We have never had it so good? Whoooa! Hang on. Not quite – but there was a huge amount of relief after the election results, but in a non-political way. I think the concern about what might have happened and the uncertainty around it was unhelpful in the run up to the election.

But once it was done, the market reacted and it reacted well. The market doesn’t like change. The general consensus is that money remains cheap and plentiful and we are seeing the banks lending more and relaxing some of their lending enquiries.

At Innes England, we can say we are doing more valuations than we have been doing in a while. We are 50% up on last year which is a sure sign that the market is improving. We are definitely getting more enquiries and interestingly we are getting enquiries on property which was sticking for a while. And this has been definitely the case since the election.

When we were stuck in the mud, there was a lack of stock which made matters worse, but I’m glad to say that the market is definitely back on the move. Deals seem to be easier to do than they have for a while and we are seeing more and more people entering the market which is great news.

The professional side of the business is increasing as well. Our building surveyors are seeing an uptake in enquiries and tangible projects which are truly getting off the ground. And we are seeing many more projects coming forward.

Retail in the cities is improving – and probably much more than we anticipated. There are several instances recently where we have acted for occupiers and got into best bids. That’s quite something – when you think that it was only a couple of years ago that Grimsey sounded the death knell on the UK high street. The high streets are starting to fill, and yes much of that are cafes and eateries, but it’s positive news for Nottingham.

From the independents' point of view, there is more going on. Independent retailers have the confidence to seize opportunities and literally set up their stalls. Undoubtedly, people are feeling better about the world – and whether that’s setting up a business, or spending money, it can certainly be felt in the city centres.

The office market perhaps is the stumbling block in the property world. It’s still very difficult. I think that this because opportunities are limited. I think people are starting to look how they are working too. We will see more changes over the next couple of years on mobile working. I know we agents have been saying it for a while, but changes in the ways of working will really start to happen now.

It’s technology which will support that. Previously the technology perhaps hasn’t been there to allow people to work from home or do hot-desking. But now, with the advent of 365 and cloud, you can work pretty much anywhere.

I can sit in my favourite Costa, work, use the cloud – and hardly need to be in the office at all. And this is something we at Innes England have been realising. We’re looking to move offices in Derby and although the team is larger and we are busier, we will be looking for less space. And that’s because we will be ‘agile working’, using technology to the max – and cutting down on paper. I predict we will all be working like this in the future. Watch this space…