M8 corridor warehouse vacancy falls to record low

Artemis, Eurocentral, Motherwell. Image: CoStar Group.

The industrial vacancy rate along the M8 corridor between Glasgow and Edinburgh ended 2023 at 2.4%, the lowest year-end figure on record.

Of the 31.5m sq ft of warehouse space within the one-and-a-half miles on either side of the motorway, less than 800,000 sq ft was unoccupied at the end of the year, down from 1m sq ft in 2022 and half the amount that sat empty in 2019.

Occupier activity along the 35-mile stretch, which accommodates around 2.5m HGV movements a year, was almost evenly balanced between the western segment, which runs from the Baillieston interchange to Harthill Services, and the eastern portion that stretches from Harthill to Hermiston Gait.

At 1.3m sq ft, take-up along the route last year was on a par with 2022 and 25% above the 10-year average.

Standout lettings in the west included tyre wholesaler MTS pre-letting 70,000 sq ft at Connect-70 and flooring distributor Likewise Group securing 50,000 sq ft at Belgrave Logistics Park. Both are new schemes in Bellshill.

Kloeckner Metals’ acquisition of a 100,000 sq ft refurbished facility In Newbridge and healthcare diagnostics group LumiraDx’s letting of 99,000 sq ft in Bathgate were among the key deals in the east.

Net absorption, or the change in occupied space, was positive by 450,000 sq ft after factoring in space released back into the market through warehouse closures or move-outs.

Supply additions meanwhile amounted to 220,000 sq ft as new schemes delivered in Newhouse, Bellshill and Tannochside Park.

Fuelled by the imbalance between demand and supply, average rents along the route climbed by a record 9.2% last year, up from 7.3% in 2022 and stronger growth than the industrial sector at large.

Grant Lonsdale, director of market at analytics at CoStar commented: “Record low vacancies along the M8 corridor underline the strength of occupier demand for warehouse space along this key distribution route.

“The figures are particularly impressive in light of persistent economic weakness and high interest rates, which are causing some firms to put expansion plans on hold.”