Reasons to be cheerful with more robust commercial property market conditions
Over 100 delegates from around East Anglia attended an annual property seminar hosted by top 100 law firm Birketts LLP, property consultants Roche Chartered Surveyors and accountants and business advisers BDO LLP at Norwich City Football Club. The aim of the forum was to update the eastern counties property community on topical commercial property matters and related tax and legal issues, at a time when there are growing signs of the commercial property market becoming more robust.
Market research undertaken at the event reveals that 76% of attendees said that the shortage of suitable office, industrial and warehouse space is not affecting their business. 71% believe that the Government is still not doing enough for the property sector, with some saying that speeding up the planning process should be top of the agenda. The majority of delegates expect to be buying or leasing property in the next one to two years, while most are uncertain as to whether green and sustainability issues will hinder or help business.
Commercial property specialists Roche provided an overview of the current regional commercial market. James Allen reflected that over the last five years the market had been torrid and that a year ago confidence was fragile. He commented: “There are now reasons to be cheerful with more robust market conditions and values moving upwards. The sentiment is generally very positive partly due to the election result providing stability, but the wounds of recent times are still fresh in the memory and most people are proceeding with a combination of optimism and prudence.” Jamie Curtis, building surveyor at Roche was also a speaker.
Birketts highlighted the Government’s proposed review of business rates with predictions of what legislative changes may be looming. These changes are promised to be the biggest review of business rates in a generation but are not due until late 2016. The law firm also covered the subjects of permitted development, which is the conversion of unused commercial buildings into residential, and minimum energy efficiency standards. Elizabeth Lee and Bhargav Trivedi were the speakers from Birketts' commercial property team.
BDO concentrated on the growing green economy and Government policy on renewables obligation, feed-in tariffs and renewable heat incentives. The firm has a specialism in this growing sector and they pointed out the requirements for successful funding through bringing property owners together with potential investors. BDO also touched on tax reliefs available in commercial property. Tim Taylor and Andrew Robinson spoke for BDO.
Photo (left to right): James Allen of Roche Chartered Surveyors, Elizabeth Lee of Birketts LLP and Andrew Robinson of BDO LLP