These are uncertain times but Jason Thorne of commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) argues that there are significant opportunities for local companies in the year ahead.
The start of any new year prompts specialists to make predictions about the outlook for their sector but this year, many commentators are reluctant to say little more than ‘these are uncertain times’.
Indeed they are with the Government planning to begin the formal Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017. As we saw last summer, markets react negatively with uncertainty in the air and where commercial property is concerned the impact lasted until September 2016.
The year concluded with a very healthy and busy Q4 but the subdued summer meant that 2016 was only active for 9 months out 12.
This month has begun positively, with commercial decisions put on hold due to the referendum, now reaching completion.
And this local market movement provides real insight. No matter what is happening on the bigger stage of the EU and the exit negotiations, as a region, we are able to use insight and local market conditions to create profitable opportunities.
Castle Street and High Street in Swansea is one example, with independent outlets opening as well as national chains to serve a local market. As well as residents and a growing student population, this vibrant hub of cafes and bars is attracting visitors to the city too.
Oyster Wharf in Mumbles is another example and it has already been acknowledged as a huge success. Spend on eating out and leisure activities is up and so building on the growing ‘experience economy’ makes sense for a coastal region.
Visa released figures to show that consumer spending soared by 6.9% on hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs, dwarfing the growth of only 1.1% on clothing and footwear.
And so we have been assisting clients to match opportunities with local requirements, securing viable space although the need for quality premises is ever-present.
Whatever the stormy weather ahead, we are sheltered to a very great extent by our ability to identify and create local opportunities and we remain committed to building what is best for our region.