West Midlands property investment hits record levels

Adam Ramshaw, head of LSH’s Birmingham office

Investment in commercial property in the West Midlands reached record-breaking levels last year, and 2017 looks set for an even stronger performance, according to national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).

Figures released by LSH in its quarterly UK Investment Transactions (UKIT) report reveal that £3.35 billion was invested in the area during 2016 – the highest figure previously stood at £2.67 billion in 2015, while 2014 saw spending reach £2.51 billion.

A major contribution to the latest figure was a rise in investment from overseas buyers taking advantage of the devalued pound sterling.

Adam Ramshaw, head of LSH’s Birmingham office, told more than 40 property professionals at the launch of the report that the figures show the ongoing appeal of the West Midlands region.

“This is clear testimony to the ongoing global appeal of the West Midlands, and the opportunities it presents investing outside of the capital. We saw significant appetite from overseas buyers during 2016 and this trend is continuing into 2017 following deals at OneEleven Edmund Street Birmingham and the Aston Student Village.

“Secure, long-income investments will be highly prized by core investors, while asset management initiatives, such as office refurbishments in tightly supplied markets, will continue to offer opportunities for the value-add investor,” he said.

Despite political uncertainties faced in the year ahead, and with the long-term effects of Brexit still largely unknown, Mr Ramshaw is confident of another record-breaking 12 months.

He said: “Uncertainty stemming from last summer’s Referendum could well support activity over the coming year. Overseas investors are capitalising on the currency position, while decisive action from the Bank of England is helping to maintain gilt yields at relatively low levels.

“With major UK institutions signalling that they are open for business, I am cautiously optimistic that volume in 2017 will surpass 2016’s respectable level.”