Why Bristol needs to strike a balance between residential and office provision

Published on: 30th June 2016

With the economy strengthening across the UK, the outlook for the Bristol property market is looking very positive, with growth across the majority of sectors in the city.

Mark Sheridan, head of our Bristol office comments on the state of the residential and commercial property markets in Bristol.

 In particular, there is increasing demand for office space in Bristol with headline rents predicted to reach £30 per sq ft in the near future. Financial and professional services continue to drive most of the demand for city centre space, but increasingly, Bristol is seeing a boom in the creative and tech sectors. This means that more companies are looking for studio and loft-style office space.

The Pithay Studios development is a good example of the growing demand in the creative and tech sector. Resolution Property was open about the fact that demand from these industries prompted the acquisition and the associated refurbishment of 120,000 sq ft of creative offices, co-working space, an art gallery, restaurant/bar and gardens, with an application also submitted for apartments on the top floor. Other established schemes include Engine Shed hub, with its Boxworks component specifically aimed at creative industries, and Paintworks, which bills itself as 'Bristol's Creative Quarter'.

But now there is very little space available within these self-styled creative hubs, with limited short term supply coming to the market resulting in a supply – demand imbalance. The issue for many developers in this sector is the lack of well-secured long term rental income that isn't offered by smaller growing companies or start-ups which require flexible space, and which in turn results in higher tenant turnover.

Whether it is in the traditional professional services or new tech and creative start-ups, we are now in a position where there is less and less that meets the needs of those looking to buy or rent office space in the city centre.

One of the factors contributing to this is the fact that in recent years, lower quality secondary stock has been converted from offices to residential property or student accommodation rather than being refurbished. In fact, Bristol has the highest rate of office to residential conversion of any city apart from London in recent times, and the housing supply is still running short.

While the answer to this could lie outside of the city centre in areas such as Lyde Green to the north, or large brownfield sites such as the Filton Airfield, there is still strong demand for student and private residential development, confirming Bristol's enviable status as a city where lots of people want to study, live and work.

This means that converting older office space to residential is an attractive option for many. Particularly whilst Permitted Development Rights for office to residential conversion remain in place the planning process is simplified which also reduces development cost, timescales and ultimately improves viability.

While this is good news for companies who want to tap into a talent pool right on their doorsteps, it is causing a headache for those looking to locate in the city centre with many graduates and young professionals priced out of the market. With many conversion schemes also going to student-use, we need to ensure that we are striking the right balance.

In fact, there is strong evidence that refurbishing office space can have excellent results for office lettings, with some secondary stock and refurbished properties seeing rents grow to £25-£28 per sq ft – not far behind new build rates. Capital value rates are also comparable for office and residential use in many areas of the city with this seeing some focus turning back toward office development, particularly in the most desirable central locations and where there is significant demand from tenants with good covenant strength.

So, should we be putting more energy into speculative office development and conversion to feed a growing tech and creative industries sector or play it safe with traditional institutional office led investments? Or do we need to invest in further residential conversion and development?

Ultimately, property developers will naturally look for the highest returns and with the majority of investors being institutional funds and property companies, this means well-secured investments with long leases - which may dictate the direction of the market. Whether the increase in office rental and capital value returns will have a negative impact on residential provision, or whether the trend for converting commercial space to residential will continue also remains to be seen. The good news is that developers in both the residential and commercial property sectors support further development in Bristol.

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Bristol team boosted by agency partner appointment

We have recently strengthened our Bristol team with the appointment of investment agent David Ferris as Partner.

Read More....

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We have recently strengthened our Bristol team with the appointment of investment agent David Ferris as Partner.

[fulltext] =>

David has 25 years’ experience working in the investment market, and has acted for funds, property companies, developers, high net worth individuals, banks, LPA receivers and administrators. His transactions have included offices, high street retail, shopping centres, hotels, health clubs, ground rents, industrial, distribution units and residential investments.

Commenting on his appointment, David said, “The attraction of joining Sanderson Weatherall was their national offering, combined with regional teams who offer real local expertise. Whilst they are a relatively new name in Bristol, as an independently owned SME, I find their approach to client care refreshing, and look forward to growing the business across the South West”.

Mark Sheridan, partner at Sanderson Weatherall Bristol said: “With David’s experience and reputation in the South West property market, he will undoubtedly be a great asset to our Bristol team. We are thrilled to have him on board and helping us to deliver our award winning property services to the area”.

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Why Bristol needs to strike a balance between residential and office provision

With the economy strengthening across the UK, the outlook for the Bristol property market is looking very positive, with growth across the majority of sectors in the city. Mark Sheridan, head of our Bristol office comments on the state of the residential and commercial property markets in Bristol.

Read More....

stdClass Object ( [state] => 1 [modified] => 2016-12-14 11:43:06 [id] => 960 [asset_id] => 1270 [title] => Why Bristol needs to strike a balance between residential and office provision [alias] => why-bristol-needs-to-strike-a-balance-between-residential-and-office-provision-blog [introtext] =>

With the economy strengthening across the UK, the outlook for the Bristol property market is looking very positive, with growth across the majority of sectors in the city.

Mark Sheridan, head of our Bristol office comments on the state of the residential and commercial property markets in Bristol.

[fulltext] =>

 In particular, there is increasing demand for office space in Bristol with headline rents predicted to reach £30 per sq ft in the near future. Financial and professional services continue to drive most of the demand for city centre space, but increasingly, Bristol is seeing a boom in the creative and tech sectors. This means that more companies are looking for studio and loft-style office space.

The Pithay Studios development is a good example of the growing demand in the creative and tech sector. Resolution Property was open about the fact that demand from these industries prompted the acquisition and the associated refurbishment of 120,000 sq ft of creative offices, co-working space, an art gallery, restaurant/bar and gardens, with an application also submitted for apartments on the top floor. Other established schemes include Engine Shed hub, with its Boxworks component specifically aimed at creative industries, and Paintworks, which bills itself as 'Bristol's Creative Quarter'.

But now there is very little space available within these self-styled creative hubs, with limited short term supply coming to the market resulting in a supply – demand imbalance. The issue for many developers in this sector is the lack of well-secured long term rental income that isn't offered by smaller growing companies or start-ups which require flexible space, and which in turn results in higher tenant turnover.

Whether it is in the traditional professional services or new tech and creative start-ups, we are now in a position where there is less and less that meets the needs of those looking to buy or rent office space in the city centre.

One of the factors contributing to this is the fact that in recent years, lower quality secondary stock has been converted from offices to residential property or student accommodation rather than being refurbished. In fact, Bristol has the highest rate of office to residential conversion of any city apart from London in recent times, and the housing supply is still running short.

While the answer to this could lie outside of the city centre in areas such as Lyde Green to the north, or large brownfield sites such as the Filton Airfield, there is still strong demand for student and private residential development, confirming Bristol's enviable status as a city where lots of people want to study, live and work.

This means that converting older office space to residential is an attractive option for many. Particularly whilst Permitted Development Rights for office to residential conversion remain in place the planning process is simplified which also reduces development cost, timescales and ultimately improves viability.

While this is good news for companies who want to tap into a talent pool right on their doorsteps, it is causing a headache for those looking to locate in the city centre with many graduates and young professionals priced out of the market. With many conversion schemes also going to student-use, we need to ensure that we are striking the right balance.

In fact, there is strong evidence that refurbishing office space can have excellent results for office lettings, with some secondary stock and refurbished properties seeing rents grow to £25-£28 per sq ft – not far behind new build rates. Capital value rates are also comparable for office and residential use in many areas of the city with this seeing some focus turning back toward office development, particularly in the most desirable central locations and where there is significant demand from tenants with good covenant strength.

So, should we be putting more energy into speculative office development and conversion to feed a growing tech and creative industries sector or play it safe with traditional institutional office led investments? Or do we need to invest in further residential conversion and development?

Ultimately, property developers will naturally look for the highest returns and with the majority of investors being institutional funds and property companies, this means well-secured investments with long leases - which may dictate the direction of the market. Whether the increase in office rental and capital value returns will have a negative impact on residential provision, or whether the trend for converting commercial space to residential will continue also remains to be seen. The good news is that developers in both the residential and commercial property sectors support further development in Bristol.

Contact Us

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Meet Mark Sheridan

Mark Sheridan works in our valuation and commercial agency teams and is head of our Bristol office.

Read More....

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Mark Sheridan works in our valuation and commercial agency teams and is head of our Bristol office.

[fulltext] =>

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was a paper round, I did one on Saturdays and one on Sundays. Unfortunately the £12 weekly wage didn’t buy me very much.

My first surveying job was as a placement student at Sanderson Weatherall in Leeds, I have since worked in our Newcastle office for a year before moving back to Leeds again and setting up in Bristol almost five years ago.

What is your favourite building in the South West, and why?

There are so many buildings to choose from in Bristol, from Georgian and Regency buildings in Clifton to the Georgian Squares (such as Queen Square where our office is) or The Wills Memorial Building which tops many lists.

But I am going to go for a building that hasn’t even been built yet – The Bristol Arena. In my view this will be the first piece of truly modern architecture in Bristol and I hope it will be a sign of things to come.

What does the future look like in the South West property market?

I think we have reason to be positive in Bristol. No matter what your view is on Brexit (and we still don’t really know how this is affecting us) – we are a strong regional city with established retail, office and industrial markets all of which are presently performing well. Bristol prides itself as a creative centre, which is a growing part of the office market in the city and I can see this complimenting the established financial and professional services sector. We also have a strong residential market with higher than average (for UK regions) house prices and the city is often featured in polls as one of the top places to live in the UK. In addition are two large, well respected universities and resultantly a good student development/investment market.

The city is also carrying out highways / infrastructure improvements (Metrowest / Metrobus), whilst the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (incl Bristol Arena and re-modelling of Temple Meads train station), which is increasingly being brought into public ownership for re-development and will improve what is an important gateway into the city.

We are also set to enjoy quicker journey times to London through the electrification of the rail line, which many consider will have a positive effect on the city and property market.

What one thing would you change to influence the future of the South West property market?

A contentious issue in the Bristol area – bring the various local authorities together (at least in some form) to aide decision making on matters which affect the region, in particular infrastructure projects such as the future of road and rail.

If you could give one piece of business advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I am still only young but I would say that property is a people business - your colleagues, managers, clients and other professionals are all key to this. Ensure you are making a good impression and remember that even the first people you meet on your course at University, or your first day at work could become an important contact in years to come.

Name three people, dead or alive, that you would pick to work in your team.

In my team I have picked people I think are great managers but also team players.
Sir Alex Ferguson – He would certainly have a story and of course teach me a thing or two about managing a team.
Sir Richard Branson – We need a good businessman in there.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel – A local hero – he could have a second go at sorting out the transport systems in Bristol and the South West!

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