Commerical property agents predict upturn
COMMERCIAL property agents are predicting an upturn in the market following what has been a challenging year for businesses.
Similar to the flurry of activity reported towards the end of 2011, the final quarter of last year saw a number of transactions complete, however the first three quarters of the year posed many different, often unique challenges.
Dave Garness, of Garness Jones, said: "In common with 2011 we saw a strong end to the year last year, but the background was very different.
"There was more activity in the property market during 2011 and we also found that by working hard we were able to make things happen.
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"But the situation last year was much tougher."
Last year started in promising fashion, with significant moves by prominent businesses including SGS, which moved into Brewery House, 1884 Dock Street Kitchen opening as a destination restaurant at Hull Marina and JR Rix and Sons taking Victory Caravans to the former Britspace site at Gilberdyke.
However, the twin distractions of the Diamond Jubilee holidays and then the Olympics, as well as the general economic gloom both nationally and internationally, led to a sluggish period mid-year.
Mr Garness said: "There were still some good deals to be had.
"On the retail side we continue to experience success at the North Point Shopping Centre in Bransholme, where footfall is holding up and attracting national brands. We worked with Ramsdens, who are quickly raising their profile nationally, as they strengthened their presence in our area.
"Another significant deal was the opening of one of the first sites in the country by Yesss Electrical, which is using Hull as the platform to create thousands of jobs nationwide.
"So there was an encouraging late surge in November and December, resulting in some genuine activity and decent enquiries.
"There are real prospects of delivering results early this year.
"Provided issues outside our control do not hinder progress, there is a good chance that we will gain some momentum."
Carl Bradley, of Clark Weightman, said he remained frustrated by the difficulties some businesses were having in accessing finance, however he pointed out a number of banks were "very active in the Hull and Humber region".
"With every negative there is a positive," he said.
"Some banks are being very supportive. However, finding finance remains difficult for some companies, which impacts on the ability to do deals."
Mr Bradley said that, in terms of commercial property activity, he believed there would be more positives than negatives over the next year.
He said: "Activity seemed to fizzle out in the summer and everyone went into the last quarter thinking we were behind on the previous year, but towards the end of last year a lot of things came together, which put us about on a par with 2011.
"There is now a growing momentum in the region. I believe we will see a lot happen over the next three to six months.
"We all feel the need for central Government to give Siemens the big hug it wants, but locally the authority and Lord Haskins, along with others at the Humber LEP, are doing a great job of backing that.
"We are seeing the right calibre of people coming to this area from Westminster, and the Humber brand – as well as the messages about what is happening in the area – is growing and being heard across the country."