A shortage of industrial units is threatening growth in the Midlands’ economy, according to a leading industrial agent.
Kenny Allan, Director of Industrial Agency at Birmingham independent commercial property agency KWB, says that an increasing shortage of industrial warehousing and manufacturing stock is impacting negatively on the growth plans of Midlands’ businesses.
“Numerous estates are fully let, and have been for some time. Many large industrial funds are reporting that their void rates are lower than three per cent,” he said.
“Occupiers are being sold short by this lack of stock. It is having a negative impact on many businesses as they are not able to grow efficiently under one roof. Medium sized companies are not having the opportunity to upgrade to new bigger units, and this is then not freeing up the smaller side of the market to allow newer businesses to flourish.
“For those companies that can find new larger premises, the shortage of units continues to push up rents. We expect that rents for new Midlands’ medium-sized industrial units (35,000 to 50,000 sq ft) will continue to rise above £7psf in the next few months, with some better-quality units at the smaller end of the market already in excess of £8psf.
“While having a well let portfolio is enviable for most landlords, having such a low void rate restricts opportunities to allow tenants to grow within their ownership. Unfortunately, this situation is unlikely to improve with less than a handful of multi-tenanted industrial developments presently under construction.”
A lack of development land is one of the major obstacles stopping the building of more units suitable for SMEs, he said.