More than half of the industrial space taken up in Luton and Dunstable during the first half of 2017 was by businesses that are new to the area, according to an insight report by national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).
LSH’s Industrial & Logistics team report that of the 55% who moved to the area, most had relocated from either Hertfordshire or North London M25 locations.
“This is a clear indication that Luton and Dunstable are attracting inward investment, which is great news for the local economy,” said Dan Jackson, Associate Director of LSH in Luton.
LSH market intelligence suggests that take-up of industrial and logistics properties in the Luton and Dunstable areas rose by 4.5% in the first half of 2017, with 16 transactions for commercial units totaling 313,500 sq ft – 84% of which involved LSH.
This compares with 300,000 sq ft of transactions in the same period during 2016.
“While the first half of 2016 was flattered by the Prologis letting of 240,000 sq ft to 4PX, the first half of 2017 was weighted towards the small and mid box sectors, which reflects the lack of available stock at the larger end of the market,” explained Dan. “Although the smaller end of the market remains more resilient, the volume of enquiries has fallen slightly since the beginning of the year.”
The report says that availability in June 2017 fell to 357,000 sq ft from 504,000 sq ft compared to the same point in 2016, which equates to just 4.5 months’ supply. If however, the 113,000 sq ft at Unit E Chiltern Park, Dunstable (the largest building currently available) is excluded, then supply falls to just three months, said Dan.
“Almost all immediately available space, not currently under offer, is unrefurbished, although some refurbishments have recently been announced or are on site,” said Dan. “The only refurbished option available at the moment is Unit N Airport Executive Park is and we anticipate that this will go under offer shortly.”
Speculative development of two units of 7,000 sq ft is nearing completion at Bilton Way, Luton, while industrial developer Baytree is expected to begin a 55,000 sq ft speculative development on its site adjacent to M1, junction 11A once infrastructure works are completed next month (August).