Reasons to be cheerful as M42 corridor gains momentum

Just a few weeks into 2012 and the M42 Corridor office market is already showing signs of strong interest from local occupiers, according to leading agents KWB.
Last year the Solihull economy outperformed every other West Midlands sub region as a result of the prosperity in the automotive and ICT sectors. This, it now seems, is being reflected in the level of interest that is being shown in the local office market, said KWB partner Mark Robinson.
Activity levels were high at the end of last year and have continued straight into 2012 with some sizeable relocation requirements already in discussions.
It may be too early to suggest that it could be a bumper year but if the interest that is currently being shown translates into lettings a large proportion of existing stock could be acquired during the course of this year, said Mr Robinson.
It follows a year in which there were a total of 47 lettings completed in the M42 Corridor, amounting to 191,887 sq ft. The average letting size was 4,000 sq ft. Mr Robinson said KWB had enjoyed another successful year, transacting 24% of the market.
He said: “Whilst the economic conditions recently have been far from certain 2011 was actually a typical year in terms of activity, with take-up remaining in line with the five-year average of 200,000 sq ft per annum. If activity levels continue at the current level I am quietly confident that this could be improved upon in 2012.
“KWB has been the most active agent in the region, where we have transacted just under a quarter of the market which is a higher proportion than our competitors so we are delighted with our performance during the last 12 months.”
Mr Robinson was appointed as a partner at KWB with a focus on the M42 corridor in late 2011. Joining from GBR Phoenix Beard, he is an out-of-town office specialist with a wealth of experience. His office agency role at KWB – the largest independent agency in the region – includes advising both landlord and tenant clients within the out-of-town markets along the M42 corridor.
He added: “The exciting news to report is that things are already looking very healthy and very active in 2012. Business confidence seems to be there. People are confident in their own business but, as we see in the news every day, other issues such as the wider economy and how it will be affected by the Eurozone is a limiting factor.
“In recent years rents have fallen on the area’s business parks as a result of the level of oversupply. If current occupational interest translates into lettings later in the year I can see this trend reversing with their being significant pressure on large buildings over 30,000 sq ft. It is too early to say that the pre-letting market could return but it will be interesting to see how this year progresses.”