Avison Young introduces its new UK Cities Recovery Index

Avison Young has introduced its UK Cities Recovery Index, which monitors the market activity and the speed and trajectory of the post-COVID-19 recovery.

Avison Young’s UK Cities Recovery Index suggests that since early July, Bristol has been recovering at a rate above the national average, having been generally aligned with national levels during the early stages of the pandemic. The city has been supported particularly by a relatively positive business sentiment, including the Hotel & Leisure Sector, which has been experiencing a speedier recovery than the national equivalent since early July. The Recovery Index points to the rate of national recovery reaching a peak on September 4th with the highest reading to date of 88 compared to the lowest of 33 on April 30th. Despite early signs of encouraging recovery, a combination of new government guidance and general concern among the public has seen this recovery level off, and in some cases begin to decline.

The UK Cities Recovery Index uses a range of high frequency indicators at a local and national level and includes a series of Sector Indices that reflect different aspects of city life, including commercial activity, return to office, retail, residential and hotels & leisure.

The recovery indicators for Bristol show the Hotel & Leisure Sector 35% higher on 4th October than the national equivalent. Benefitting from the sharp increase in the number of day staycations, this has had a positive effect on numbers travelling through the city and has resulted in relative resilience in pricing for hoteliers.

However, the return of schools and the cessation of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, has seen the Hotel & Leisure Sector Index recede to 75.7 on 4th October, from a high of 97.2 at the end of August.

The Mobility Sector Index for Bristol – looking at journeys by foot, train, bus, car and air – has been improving rapidly, and overtook the national figure on 22nd September. As of 4th October, the Mobility Sector Index was 98.6 for Bristol, compared to the national figure of 88.9.

This is also reflected in the Return to Office Sector Index for Bristol, from the end of August tracking higher than the national figure, and now standing at 70.8. A key cause for this strength of late has been boosted car traffic that has been above 100 for a sustained period now.

Gordon Isgrove, Managing Director, Avison Young, Bristol, says, “The extent and timing of recovery has varied across sectors and cities and it’s therefore encouraging that the indicators for Bristol tell a relatively resilient story, particularly in the areas of commercial and hospitality activity.

“The Commercial Activity Sector Index for Bristol has been consistently above the national equivalent since the end of May. Relatively positive business sentiment has underpinned the strength of the Sector Index of late and has been around 10% above the national figure since early August. In fact, when it comes to travel around the city, Bristol is the only UK city to track higher than the national figure.

“Of course, it remains to be seen what longer term effect the recent restrictions on UK life will have and whether Bristol will be affected by any additional local restrictions. But with people beginning to return to the office, travel around the city and enjoy the city’s hospitality offer, Bristol currently sees itself in a more resilient position than many other UK cities. This doesn’t surprise me as Bristol is an incredibly diverse business economy, although we need to see this trend continue and support our local businesses and trade.”