The summer has seen property interests focus on the south and north poles of the compass points of Cambridge.
Will Mooney, Partner at leading consultant Carter Jonas, gives his take on issues in the commercial property world.
Early in July, the Government announced the release of the first tranche of a big pot of £6 billion of cash for the English regions. With an eye on being better together and although the phase 1 £12 billion is very much for England, the Prime Minister heralded Growth Deals as ‘...a crucial part of our long-term plant to secure Britain’s future.’
In seeking to do our best to pour a quart into a pint pot when it comes to business space requirements in Cambridge in current market conditions, property agents are also tasked with finding the right kind of space in which modern businesses and their employees want to work.
A year ago I was anticipating the end of the central banks’ monetary stimulus for their economies. In the case of the Bank of England, it was, at that point, the £375 million worth of quantitative easing.
Setting aside the uncertainty of interest rate rises, what could severely hamper the speculative development all peer Cambridge agents are calling for in the long term - and have been eagerly anticipating for Q4 2014 and Qs 1 & 2 in 2015 - is a steep increase in build costs.
The sound of the “plink, plink Pfiz” echoes around the Cambridge commercial property market presently as the wider political debate hots up on the national and international stages with the prospect of a hostile takeover bid of AstraZeneca by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
It was neither a surprise nor an April fool to read on 01 April that once the devil of the detail of the Chancellor’s Budget statement in March had been examined, it turned out the local headline-grabbing £1 billion ‘City Deal’ for Cambridge was more damp squib than big deal in the eyes of business in the city.
Property agents regularly publish research and statistics in seeking to present a view – their view – of their market.
Gone are the days when land availability is a matter of concern just for planners and developers in the business property sphere in and around Cambridge. Anxiety has been expressed below-the-line by some agents since the early years of this decade.
The year has been heralded as one in which investor confidence in property will return in earnest. Rural property peers have pointed to the ‘froth’ skimming off premium agricultural land values this year as property-minded investors return with more confidence to the more obvious residential and commercial sectors for the first time post-credit crunch.
The year started and ended with think tanks – the Centre for Cities’s annual ‘Cities Outlook’ in January and, in November, Demos producing PwC’s ‘Good Growth for Cities’ report - identifying the importance of Cambridge to the growth agenda.
Using an onion as a metaphor for explaining the commercial property scene in and around Cambridge is becoming a default position of mine when discussing the matter with those who are unfamiliar with the area.
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