As you would expect the different sectors of the commercial market in the Central Belt have faced a variety of challenges over the last few years however it is encouraging to see signs of improvement across the board, despite the uncertainty that Brexit has brought to the equation.
In an area dominated by Scotland’s largest container port and the country’s only petrochemical complex at Grangemouth, the industrial sector continues to be a strong performer, a position which is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
Indeed, availability is now becoming a challenge for occupiers, particularly those seeking to purchase workshop/warehouse premises, a position which is now having a positive effect on underlying rental and capital values. This trend is now, for the first time in almost a decade, stimulating development including Northern Trusts construction of Barons court at Earlsgate, Grangemouth. This scheme will see the construction of 18,200 ft² of modern business units ranging between 1,095 ft² and 2,210 ft² which will be available from summer this year at rentals of £8 – 8.50 ft².
While the retail sector in the Central Belt continues to face a number of significant challenges it has undoubtedly benefitted from the introduction of the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme which has stimulated demand for smaller premises.
Although this trend is to be warmly welcomed the retail sector undoubtedly faces further significant challenges, particular in relation to the high street/town centre, a position which is by no means unique to the Falkirk/Stirling areas.
Turning finally to the office sector, this has experienced a significant increase in activity over the past 18 months which has seen our office conclude 14 deals on suites ranging from 850 ft² to 5000 ft². This run of transactions follows a period of approximately 8 years where market activity was extremely limited and it is to be hoped that this trend will continue and begin to have a positive impact on underlying rental rates.
As such, as things stand at the present time the markets in which we operate would appear to remain relatively resilient to the uncertainty brought by the seemingly never ending Brexit saga.