The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 21: Oct/Nov 2015 - Page 22

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY Swindon office market back in business says Smethurst Property Consultants Daniel Smethurst, Qualified Chartered Surveyor daniel@smethurstpropertyconsultants.co.uk 01793 847 470 Swindon’s office market has continued to perform well on the back of impressive 2014 take up levels and a realignment in rental profiles has provided a much needed stimulus for investors to look seriously at the town as a centre for growth. The recent purchases of Edison Park (East Swindon) and Station Square are just two excellent examples of this. Such inward investment should trigger much needed re-investment in existing stock which has the ability to be brought online far quicker than any pipeline development and will ensure that Swindon retains its high calibre occupier base over the coming years. The out of town office market has dominated take up once again for the first half of this year. Significant transactions include Nationwide’s acquisition of 70,000ft2 at Optimus, Windmill Hill and BP’s 36,000ftÇ acquisition of Auckland House at Lydiard Fields. Total take up of offices in the first half of 2015 stood at 172,000ft2 against total take up of 227,000ft2 in 2014. If, as we anticipate, take up levels continue at current pace we are going to see a pinch point over the next few years and demand for offices could out-strip supply. Total availability is on the decline, reportedly at 700,000ft2 across all grades. There has been much talk about the need for speculative development of offices in the town. Whilst we endorse this we should not lose sight of the fact that not every occupier is seeking Grade A office accommodation. Any new development needs to be financially viable and this would see quoting rents exceed £18.50ft2 for new buildings. Swindon has proved in the past that there is the ability for a two tier market to co-exist and what the town really needs at the moment, is a sustainable blend of good quality refurbished office space coupled with some speculative new build. Current market conditions suggest that this is achievable. A decrease in the availability of stock and an increase in the level of demand will be viewed by some occupiers as ‘bad news’ and there have been instances where occupiers have been panicked into taking decisions. The key message here is that with the right advice there are still opportunities in the town, but occupiers need to start to look at their growth expectations earlier and plan well ahead of any move. From our experience landlords are willing to discuss and understand occupiers requirements, but traditionally the period between occupiers entering the market and the timescales for delivering a finished product have been too tight. Landlords remain keen to secure occupiers and there will be opportunities for parties Let Basepoint help you test the water... …and find out if taking that step into an office is right for your business. Test the water at Basepoint Swindon with our flexible terms and find out for yourself the benefits of working from a professional, purpose built environment where businesses are given the space to grow and discover their true potential. Offices | Flexi-Space | Virtual Licences | Meeting Rooms Unique workspaces for your business 01793 602555 basepoint.co.uk hellosw [