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IN MY VIEW A


fter working in Falkirk/Stirling for 20 years it is great to see the majority of


market sectors returning to what is almost recognisable as, “normal” after the turmoil of the economic downturn/credit crunch. One of the highlights within the area


remains the industrial sectors which, given comparatively limited supply even during the recessionary years has held up well in terms of underlying rental and capital values. Indeed, in conjunction with Ryden, DM Hall have carried out a number of


Michael McIntyre


lettings on behalf of London & Cambridge Investments within Middlefield Industrial Estate which continues to show stable levels of demand from a variety of trade counter and traditional warehouse operators. In terms of the office market, this was


particularly badly hit by the economic downturn with extremely few deals being


done between 2009 and 2014. Market activity has undoubtedly picked up over the past two years and I am hopeful that this trend will continue as we progress through 2016. This increase in demand/uptake is clearly borne out by our experience as joint agents at Earls Gate Business Park, Grangemouth where occupancy levels have gone from 24% in early 2014 to 72% following the letting of the first floor of Unit 4 to Broom Affinity Accountants in January 2016. Earls Court comprises a modern development by Northern Trust Co Ltd of 6 Class 4 pavilions totalling just under 20,000sq.ft. The retail sector has probably been the


hardest hit by the turmoil of the past few years which has also coincided with changing shopping patterns and the rise of retail parks and internet shopping. Locally we have however seen an improvement in demand for smaller retail premises, particularly with Rateable Values of £10,000 or less which continue to benefit from 100% rates relief under the Scottish Executives Small Business Rates Relief Scheme. The retail market does however remain particularly challenging for those properties which would have historically been considered good secondary or prime


where the postponement of the rates revaluation until 2017 has left properties with RVs which are often now significantly out of step with the rental tone of such locations. In the investment sector low interest


rates look set to continue for the majority of 2016 making the yields on offer from property an attractive proposition for buyers. The sector would however appear to be polarised as while funding is readily available for well let, long term investments, securing such for shorter term leases or those incorporating break options is much more difficult. Under these circumstances there is generally a significant gap between the strong yields being achieved for the former and those let on more challenged terms. In conclusion, while there are still


sectors of the market which face continued challenges, the world would appear to be generally returning to normal and there is an expectancy that the overall improvements which have been experienced over the last two years will continue as we progress through 2016. Here's hoping! Mike McIntyre is an Associate at DM Hall


Chartered Surveyors. THE GRAHAM + SIBBALD OVERVIEW


total of 11 staff based in the office. Graham + Sibbald provides a complete


G


range of property services, including residential property valuations, commercial property valuations and commercial agency, property management, building surveying and architectural services, planning and development consultancy, etc. The last two years has seen a general


improvement in most areas of the commercial property market, particularly office and industrial. The retail market is also showing signs of improvement, however, there does continue to be a relatively high number of vacant retail properties in Stirling City Centre, particularly in secondary trading locations. Landlords across all market sectors


have had to accept the fact that headline rents needed to be reduced and incentives such as rent free periods and capital expenditure offered to encourage prospective tenants to take up space. The lack of affordable bank funding


has resulted in speculative new build developments being almost non-existent which has resulted in no brand new office accommodation currently available in


90


raham + Sibbald’s Stirling Office was opened in 1964 and currently has a


Stirling. Whilst this has helped with the take-up of older stock, there will be difficulty in enticing blue chip companies to the Stirling area due to the lack of grade A office accommodation. As previously mentioned, the lack of


new build commercial developments in Stirling has resulted in there being a greater take up of older stock, especially in the office market. City Centre accommodation, that has


previously proved exceptionally difficult to let, is now being occupied due to the general lack of availability. A number of traditional first floor office suites, above retail were let by Graham & Sibbald’s Stirling Office at the end of the year. Interestingly, two of the offices were occupied by tenants relocating from business centre space at Castle Business Park. Both tenants indicated a desire to be located in the City centre, close to the bus and railway stations. On the industrial front, Bandeath


Industrial Estate, owned by Stirling Council, where Graham + Sibbald are the sole agents, is now almost 100% let. This compares to 3/4 years ago when there was in the region of 50,000sq.ft of space available. On the retail front, there does


continue to be a number of vacant units throughout the City Centre, especially in secondary and tertiary locations. Graham + Sibbald continue to


emphasise to their landlord clients that they must accept that money should be spent on vacant property prior to it being placed on the market. With tenants typically having plenty of options to consider, a poorly presented property will be instantly dismissed. On a positive note on the retail front,


Graham + Sibbald are delighted to be agents for a new build development at Goosecroft Road, Stirling, which comprises three retail units on the ground floor and residential accommodation on the upper floor. The building is almost complete and it is expected that the retail units will attract interest from high profile operators. The continuing lack of speculative re-


development, especially of offices and industrial space, may potentially deter companies from considering Stirling as a viable business location. The City offers a superb location to both work and live and its’ strategic position within the heart of the country offers easy access to major business locations throughout Scotland and beyond.


COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MONTHLY 2016


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