03 January 2024

What does 2024 hold for the office, industrial, land and development markets? Our Directors, Jason Hercock, Andrew McFarlane Holt and Trevor Wells share their insight...

“I expect the office market to get progressively better this year," says Jason. "The gradual take-up of stock is likely to continue as interest rates stabilise, especially as most businesses now seem to have recalibrated their working practices post-Covid and identified long-term requirements. Offices in popular locations such as market towns and semi-rural business parks are the most desirable, and this is where most activity is happening. Well-advised landlords, with properties that are modern, energy efficient, well-connected and with somewhere to park, are capturing tenants and this is where the market has migrated. Those with draughty, cellular layouts and low EPC ratings will stagnate if not upgraded so we’re advising landlords of these properties to seek urgent advice from your agent about how best to market.”

Industrial property faces a significant supply/demand imbalance that Andrew envisages will not correct itself quickly. "Smaller industrial units are highly sought after," he says, "for every unit we have available at this end of the market we could probably let multiple times over. Unfortunately speculative development isn’t the answer alone. The sector needs urgent local or government intervention to free up the planning process to facilitate further development in this sector and the wider commercial property market."

In the land, planning and development market, Trevor argues one of the main considerations for 2024 is the mandatory requirement of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). He explains: "From this month, all new housing, commercial and infrastructure developments are required to deliver 10% BNG, resulting in more or better quality natural habitats than pre-development. These must also be maintained for at least 30 years. Now, not all BNG gains will be able to made on-site, so there are options for developers to buy off-site units or credits to compile the 10%. Through our sister company, The Habitat Bank, we’re working with landowners and developers to facilitate this process and expect this to be a major shift in how development is planned and delivered.

“With farming incomes suffering from the loss of BPS payments, and the introduction of delinked payments at a reducing rate, opportunities for landowners to use suitable land as a Habitat Bank site may offer much-needed additional revenue. We hope that government guidance on Agricultural Property Relief and general taxation for Habitat Bank sites will be positive so landowners can plan ahead. It looks to be an interesting time!”