Temperature check — 2018’s story so far in UK commercial property

If you’re considering investing in commercial real estate in the UK, big geopolitical events like Brexit might make you pause for thought.

It’s early days, but at the moment there are signs that the market is reasonably buoyant — and some of the best opportunities might be found in regional hubs rather than London hotspots.

If you want to test the water with your own plans, here’s a temperature check of 2018’s story so far in commercial property.

Street food

The continuing popularity of street food has meant that abandoned markets, shops and even tube stations across Britain are becoming prime spots for redevelopment.

When these large commercial spaces are transformed into food halls, they can attract hundreds of food fans eager to try the tempting international fare that’s on offer from various niche outlets.

Considering the changeable British weather, sampling street food indoors is a much more pleasant experience than braving the elements.

There are currently 16 new food halls planned in London alone — but existing market venues in places like Leeds and Altrincham have also benefitted from the boom by offering more diverse food choices to visitors.

So converting a large commercial space into a trendy food emporium might be a wise move this year.

Scottish churches

A few generations ago, church properties in Scotland would be bursting at the seams every Sunday and used frequently throughout the week for clubs and social events.

But declining attendances mean that authorities are now cutting costs by merging congregations and selling off surplus real estate.

So some Scottish churches are now converted for commercial use as nurseries, restaurants, and even nightclubs.

And others have been converted into flats or purchased by different faith groups keen to snap up a bargain rather than investing in a new build.

As with any older buildings, maintenance can be more expensive — but if you want to acquire a completely unique property for a commercial project, a church can be a good choice.

Regional boom

Britain’s largest regional cities are experiencing a construction boom in hotel, office, retail and residential sectors.

New housing schemes account for much of the impetus behind the surge, but the amount of office space created in Birmingham was more than one million square feet for the second year running.

And there are also 1000 new hotel rooms under construction in Belfast, making Northern Ireland one of the most attractive areas for inward investment.

None of these cities are challenging London’s dominance for real estate investment, but less competition and more reasonable prices might make securing a foothold more accessible for smaller investors — a user-friendly online registry like Town Door can help you find regional real estate that fits the bill.

2018 is warming up nicely in the commercial property market — let’s hope the picture remains bright as the year progresses.

What commercial property opportunities do you think 2018 will bring? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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