Steven Harvey, Cheffins Commercial Agency comments:
“By setting out her plans for free trade between the UK and the EU, hopefully Teresa May will have increased confidence in our markets. The greatest impact we are likely to see in the commercial property sector will be the effect which leaving the EU will have on the major R&D sectors. We have already seen that since Brexit the larger enquiries of 30,000 sq ft and above have stalled from the multinational companies and development enquiries for pre-lets have decreased whilst the industry waits to hear how the final agreements on free trade are negotiated. Her commitment to trading as freely as possible with the EU is a positive, however as she talks of ‘a truly global Britain,’ companies spanning multiple continents will need an understanding of how not only their trade is going to be affected, but also their recruitment process and how we interact with our European partners and beyond.
On the flip side, at the smaller end of the market, Cambridge commercial property continues to be in demand as a number of start-ups and spin outs from the Science Parks are privately funded, mainly with money controlled from within the UK. However, this is a drop in the ocean when compared to the big international players in our region, who no doubt will be feeling the Brexit pressure when planning their next steps. There are also specific concerns over the delivery of much needed infrastructure projects, the possible reduction in research funding, and the impact on the recruitment of the best talent, despite May’s plans to ‘continue to attract the best in international talent.’ All of this remains to be seen. However, it is difficult to see Cambridge’s attraction as a global hub for technology-based industry, as a regional administration centre and as an area for housing growth being diminished, no matter how the Brexit deal is negotiated over the coming months. The long term prospects for the region are still terrific; and whilst there will be some short term pain I would expect to see our economy bounce back strongly and quickly. In a changing market opportunities will emerge – and with the correct strategies these can be exploited to the full.”