Commercial landlords believe the North of England and the East Midlands will provide the biggest development opportunities in the UK over the next two years with offices and flats seen as the most attractive sectors, according to a new study from specialist lender Together.
The research found that 39% identified the East Midlands as the best region for investment narrowly ahead of the North East and North West which were chosen by 37%. Around 27% of commercial landlords selected the West Midlands.
A major factor uniting these ‘zones of choice’ is support for government-backed initiatives which aim to boost the areas economically – 47% say the Northern Powerhouse has made them more positive about the North while 40% say the Midlands Engine initiative has increased their confidence in the region.
London also attracted interest from 36% of landlords but other UK regions were rated much lower – just eight% believed the South East and East Anglia offered the best development opportunities and only three% selected the South West.
Andrew Charnley, head of corporate relationships at Together, said: “The North of England and the Midlands are attracting interest from commercial landlords who can see real opportunities to expand over the next two years.
“The Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine initiative are playing a part in helping to boost both areas, but landlords are very focused on where they see the opportunities with differences in which sectors are seen as offering the best chances for developments.
“That underlines the need for lenders who do not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach and are willing to be flexible in responding to what are often very tight deadlines for funding to be agreed.”
The study, which questioned a national panel of commercial landlords about their economic confidence in the UK, also found more than two out of five plan major increases in investment in the Midlands over the next two years while 40% will substantially boost their presence across the North of England.
The best-performing sectors in the Midlands and North are likely to be office developments and flats. In the North landlords are more bullish about office developments – 49% see offices as the best sector compared with 44% in the Midlands.
Landlords believe flats will be strong sectors in both regions – 41% chose the sector in the North and 40% in the Midlands. But there are differences with landlords seeing strong opportunities in semi-commercial developments in the North and in retail in the Midlands.