As a sector which relies heavily on confidence in the market, during any recession or periods of economic uncertainty the commercial property sector is usually one of the first areas which sees a significant drop in activity. Couple this with a national lockdown preventing the retail and leisure industries from operating and forcing many office and service based businesses to work from home, you would be forgiven for thinking the outlook was bleak for the commercial property market. Indeed, many of those at the coalface were fearing the worst! 

Thankfully (and surprisingly), those fears – for the South East at least – do not appear to have materialised with the marketplace showing a steely resolve and almost unwavering desire to push on no matter what; to roll with the punches and battle on through.Whether this is a reflection on the current pandemic being unique in the sense it is not a result of any deficiencies in the viability of businesses generally or a result of mismanagement of particular markets is difficult to say, however, whilst undoubtedly many transactions were put on hold during March and April, activity levels since have been constant and consistent with new deals being agreed and completed across nearly all sectors (with the exception of retail which remains very fragile).By way of an example, below are some of the deals PDT have been involved in and which we have completed since lockdown: 

  1. New lease for relocation of HQ offices for an IT consultancy firm; 
  2. New lease of warehouse premises to an independent coffee bean producer and supplier;
  3. New lease of high street retail unit for an independent coffee shop operation including additional Covid-19 protections and provisions;
  4. Sale of fully let industrial estate for £2,100,000.00;
  5. Sale of substantial office building for residential conversion for £1,850,000.00.

Whilst it is difficult to predict how the commercial property market will fare if we do go into a second national lockdown, given the resolve shown to date we are (cautiously) optimistic that the market can not only survive the coming winter months, but emerge in 2021 with an increased resilience to welcome a sustained period of recovery and growth. 

PDT have extensive knowledge and experience in the commercial property sector advising landlords, tenants and investor / portfolio client's both on single site transactions and managing multi-site portfolios and have established relationships with local managing agents and surveyors across the south east.

If you own or are looking to acquire (either as an owner-occupier or as an investment) or dispose of commercial premises or require assistance with landlord and tenant matters please contact Craig Burton or Elise Sherwell who would be delighted to assist.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.