Slow Start To 2012
B4 article-issue 23 summer 2012
Given the state of the economy it is perhaps not surprising that the commercial property market is still very much in the doldrums. Whilst the beginning of the year saw a reasonable flurry of new enquiries, this soon died down and the Easter break has been quieter than usual. It appears Oxfordshire has not been selected for special treatment as this reduced level of activity has been experienced across the whole of the South East and is affecting central London as well which to date has ridden the economic storm.
In Oxfordshire we have recorded 110,000 sq ft of office lettings so far this year. One of these lettings was a 50,000 sq ft pre-letting at Harwell to hi tech industrial diamond producer Element Six which is good news for the Science Vale Enterprise Zone. We have recorded a further 30,000 sq ft of deals under offer but on this basis unless the market brightens up in the second half of the year the take up statistics will be as bad as last year.
There are some rays of light though and at present we have recorded four large office occupier requirements for Oxfordshire in the range of 30,000-60,000 sq ft. These tend to be long term projects which are speculative in nature at this stage.
The industrial market still appears more resilient, especially in Banbury. In comparison with the office market it is suffering from a lack of quality stock and therefore opportunities for companies wishing to grow in the future are likely to be limited which could potentially constrain the regions recovery.
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