Crane survey shows recovery hitting regional cities

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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The number of new construction schemes starting across five major UK city centres has risen by 80% over the last 12 months compared to last year.

Research conducted by Deloitte Real Estate records show 45 new projects have been recorded across Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Head of research at Deloitte Real Estate, Anthony Duggan, said: “Compared to the less than positive story last year, our regional research now illustrates a rise in development activity, matching the recent improvement in the UK economy.

“We have recorded construction increases in office space and student accommodation as demand for both continues to rise.

“Similarly city centre residential is beginning to appear back on the agenda with a number of schemes breaking ground.”

The research described the commercial office market as “on the cusp of a new development cycle” with a total of 11 new office construction starts.

This represents the largest number of new starts in five years, and is set to deliver 837,000 sq ft to markets that have seen little development over recent years.

Student housing is still a growth market with new construction of purpose-built accommodation quadrupling with ten new starts.

The market for city centre residential development has improved over the past year with increasing developer confidence and financial government support resulting in a two-fold increase in the number of units being built.

Approximately 1,400 units are under construction across three of the city centres monitored in the survey – still way below the 10,135 units recorded in crane surveys at the peak of the market in 2007.

Manchester has seen a surge in development activity confirming it is the most active city in the survey.

The city recorded 19 new construction starts including eight residential schemes set to deliver nearly 1,000 city centre units.

Scotland’s cities are also seeing development increase with Glasgow recording four new construction starts compared to none last year, and Edinburgh nine.

Duggan added: “The thrust of development activity this year sits with Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow, but the results are generally good news across the board with four out of five cities showing an increase in new starts compared to just one city in 2012.

“Residential development has seen a two fold increase with 1,400 units under construction, although this is still comparatively weak compared to the height of the market.

“Sentiment is certainly returning amongst home buyers and residential developers, with the help of government backed initiatives.

“This increase in construction is unlikely to be a one-off.

“With an improving residential demand, supply shortages appearing in a number of the commercial property sectors and signs of increasing activity from investors in regional commercial real estate.

“It looks like we will see more development activity over the next 12 months.”

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