THE New Year brings a new bright outlook for the North, with significant political traction, investment promises and, finally, greater clarity over Britain’s relationship with Europe.
And it started with a bang in the world of commercial property with Manchester-based Bruntwood spending £22.5 million buying Stretford Mall and the Stamford Quarter in a joint venture with Trafford Council.
Political certainty driven by the General Election result brings new political promises and allegiances which should drive confidence in the region and, crucially, new investment.
One deal – albeit a very big one – does not transform the region on its own, but signs are there will be more to come as the new Government focuses on reviving the North and supporting its investment-starved towns.
The big positive from the election result is certainty over the next stage of Brexit, dissolving the impasse which has had a deep negative impact on inward investment.
The focus on getting Brexit done among other things will help in 2020.
Of course, challenges remain but our research at Together shows more than half (53%) of SMEs are more optimistic as a result of the end of Brexit uncertainty. Around three-quarters (76%) of SMEs we questioned plan to increase business investment as a result.
The biggest challenge for landlords and investors who can see the opportunities available in the North is being able to secure the funding they need.
That will remain a very real challenge despite the positivity of the New Year and the hope of new beginnings.
Lenders need to be alive to the opportunities and that means avoiding a “one size fits all” approach.
They need to look at proposals in the round including considering regional differences, the commercial package, rent rolls, the people involved and their track record.
Commercial landlords are increasingly optimistic about the North West as one of the best areas for investment and development.
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There is strong demand throughout the region from companies and entrepreneurs for new premises as they expand or set up new businesses and that in turn is driving demand for semi-commercial properties.
At Together we focus on a deep understanding of our customers and their strategic plans.
Our agility and speed of decision making are crucial to our customers’ ability to secure and make ongoing improvements to their portfolios.
These qualities are going to be important in helping commercial landlords deliver on their ambitions moving forward.