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Outlook for Cardiff, Bristol and South West’s commercial and residential property markets positive this year says Savills in its 2020 forecasts, despite wider uncertainty

Despite the certainty given by the General Election result, ambiguity over the UK’s relationship with the EU will remain in the immediate future and the country’s property markets will continue to contend with a wide variety of old and new structural, economic and legislative changes throughout 2020 and beyond, said Savills, as it unveiled its 2020 UK and south west property outlook. Savills south west cross- sector outlook event took place on Wednesday morning (5th February) to over 80 property professionals at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.

Representatives of Savills commercial, rural and residential research teams gave their forecasts for the coming year, the likely investment trends and disruptors in their sectors, and their top picks for property investments likely to out-perform the market in 2020 and beyond.

Despite questions remaining over the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU, higher commercial property investment volumes are expected across the country this year, Savills said, particularly in the office and logistics markets, as a number of non-domestic institutional investors that were deterred by Brexit uncertainty re-enter the market. There is also likely to be a rise in opportunistic investor activity in the retail sector, as some buyers now see some assets as competitively priced.

Looking at the local commercial markets, Chris Potts, head of Savills Cardiff office, said: “Cardiff continues to attract a wide group of fast- growing tech and financial companies and, with office investment volumes also remaining healthy, we’re anticipating a positive year for the city’s commercial markets overall.

Further afield, we’re also anticipating more investment into the region’s warehouses sector this year, particularly in South Wales where a new National Planning Framework and local authorities putting in place strategies for new industrial development should result in developers delivering more large scale schemes, which are likely to be quickly snapped up by tenants.”

Daniel Rees, head of Savills residential team in Cardiff, commented: “House price growth in Wales has been outperforming the UK average for some time and we expect this to continue in 2020 and beyond.

Since the start of this year we have seen an uplift in positive sentiment among buyers and sellers, which, teamed with favourably low borrowing costs and the final phases of a fully-fledged Help To Buy scheme, sets the scene for an encouraging year in the residential market.

Transformational plans to turbo-charge the Swansea Bay City Region’s economy are gathering pace.

The UK Government and Welsh Government have now released the first £18 million for the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal programme of investment, which covers Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.

The funding is based on the approval of two projects – the Yr Egin creative and digital hub at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Carmarthen, and the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Phase one of Yr Egin is now up and running for creative sector businesses, with Welsh language broadcaster S4C’s headquarters at its heart. A second phase of the development is also planned.

Construction work has also started on site for a 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena in Swansea, which forms part of the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District project. Other project features include a digital village for tech and digital businesses, as well as a box village and innovation precinct for start-up businesses.

Other City Deal projects now with both governments for final approval include a revised Neath Port Talbot programme of projects called Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth that focus on decarbonisation, innovation and the future of the steelmaking industry.

A Pembroke Dock Marine project that will place Pembrokeshire at the heart of global


marine energy innovation is also with both governments for final approval, with other projects soon due to be submitted.

These include a life science and well-being development proposed for Llanelli, as well as three projects spanning across the City Region: Homes as Power Stations, Digital Infrastructure, and Skills and Talent. These projects will enable local people to access the high-value jobs the City Deal will generate, while tackling challenges including the need for more housing, digital connectivity and rurality.

Progress is also being made on business case planning for a life science and well-being campuses project in Swansea.

Funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector, the Swansea Bay City Deal is being led by the four Swansea Bay City Region local authorities, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Swansea Bay University Health Board, and Hywel Dda University Health Board.

The City Deal is worth £1.8 billion and over 9,000 well-paid jobs to the City Region in coming years.

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Swansea retail warehouse investment sold for £1.7m

Junction 47 Retail Park, a prime retail warehouse investment located in Swansea has recently been sold for £1.7 million.

Acting on behalf of CBRE Global Investors, Emanuel Jones has successfully sold the freehold interest of Junction 47 Retail Park, Swansea to a private investor.

The park consists of three self contained units occupied by Farmfoods, Poundstretcher and the Pet Hut, producing a combined passing rent of £163,430 per annum

The sale reflects a net initial yield of 9.04% assuming purchasers’ costs of 6.24%.

David Williams, Partner at Emanuel Jones commented: “Given the current uncertainty in the market we are pleased to have secured a timely sale of Junction 47 Retail Park. The sale demonstrates there’s still appetite for retail in popular locations let to good covenants.”

Jason Thorne, Director of Lambert Smith Hampton and advisor to the purchaser commented: “My client is a locally based investor and has a lot of confidence in the location and future potential of well positioned Swansea Investments.”


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