Industrial and distribution continues to be the strongest performing property sector in Kent and Medway, according to the Kent Property Market Report 2018.
David Gurton of Caxtons, Gavin Cleary of Locate in Kent, Mark Coxon and Sue Foxley of Caxtons, Mark Dance of KCC, and Ron Roser of Caxtons at the launch of the Kent Property Market Report 2018.
Produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, the report was launched this week.
With the weakening of Sterling since the EU referendum boosting manufacturing and the gathering pace of online retail increasing demand for distribution space, prime rents in the county have risen by an average of 4.4%, twice the long run mean.
Over the past five years, prime rents have increased by an average of 24% and are currently 11% ahead of the their pre-finanical crisis peak.
The report records that the county has seen a number of significant lettings along with boyuant activity at the smaller end of the scale.
In Ashford, Forza Industries took 2,325m2 at Axiom on Orbital Park, while in Dartford Ask took a six-year lease on 606m2 at 291 Watling Street.
Looking ahead, Amazon is due to open a 34,000m2 last mile sorting centre in Medway later this year, Aldi’s new 5.67ha distribution centre in Queenborough will open in 2019, and Ocado has plans for a 1.92ha site at Littlebrook.
Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons, said: “What really comes through in this year’s report is just how commercial property activity is being driven by the needs of micro and small businesses rather than large corporations. It’s also good to see more space being occupied by companies moving into the area.
“In many areas of the county, the increasing involvement of local authorities in both commercial and residential property development is helping to make a real difference, especially where there is less appetite from the private sector.
“With developers, planners and local authorities working together, much is being achieved. This can be seen out on the ground where infrastructure, housing, regeneration and commercial developments are all coming forward.”
KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development Mark Dance said: “This year’s report looks at how Kent has fared throughout 2017-18. It covers the major initiatives and projects that have come to fruition over the last year as well as looking at the challenges ahead.
“Whilst the economy has been relatively resilient over the last 12 months – despite Brexit and potential trade wars – the report shows us there are wide variations in the performance of individual sectors of the economy.
“Kent remains, and increasingly, is the business location of choice with strong letting figures in the town centre office market.
“I’m in no doubt that times are getting tougher, however, particularly in the retail sector, but town centres are changing and Kent has seen a fall in vacancy rates contrary to the national trend.
“I believe Kent remains resilient with a business environment seen as favourable to investment with major initiatives and projects to support growth and economic development in our county in the coming year.”
The Kent Property Market Report is supported by Clague Architects, Cripps, DHA Planning, Kreston Reeves, Handelsbanken and RICS.
Download a copy of the 2018 Kent Property Market Report, visit kentpropertymarket.com