Russell Crofts, head of Industrial and Logistics at property consultancy Knight Frank in Bristol, comments:
“Despite the current lockdown, which brought markets to a standstill, we have received a number of short term requirements, equating to 3.2m sq ft nationwide, for warehouse space – ideally fitted and racked – particularly from online retail and last mile delivery businesses.
“In the Bristol area we know of separate, immediate short-term requirements for industrial premises of 800,000-1,200,000 sq ft and of 60,000-100,000 sq ft, with a further 250,000-300,000 sq ft requirement elsewhere across the South West.
“Demand has come from smaller home delivery business, which have seen considerable growth in the last few days, however they want flexibility in their lease terms accounting for and reflective of these being exceptional circumstances. They need space for the time being to cope with the current increase in customer levels but want to be able to leave this when the crisis subsides. Landlords are accommodating for this flexibility, especially for food and healthcare supply businesses.”
The Knight Frank industrial property tracker shows an immediate need of up to 3.2m sq ft nationwide for short-term occupation from as little as two weeks and up to 12 months.
For Q1 2020, preliminary national take-up figures show approximately 5.6m sq ft take-up of industrial units over 50,00 sq ft. This compares to around 9.5m sq ft in Q1 2019.