By Neil Hart, Group Managing Director at Bradley Hall Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents.
Regardless of economic hurdles, business in the North East has managed to continue to thrive and adapt, remaining largely unscathed by Brexit. North East SMEs continue to operate with confidence and market activity continues at a steady pace.
We’ve experienced ﬁrst-hand the resilience of the North East property market. Between September 2018 and August 2019 our commercial agency team completed 344 sales, lettings and acquisitions including; office, retail, investment, industrial in the North East to the value of £100m and 2,000,000 sq. ft.
Investment has been the leading ﬁeld for us over the past year totalling over £31m, which is great news for our region, supporting its status as a key area for growth. We know that there is an appetite for investment in the region, and with the number of exciting ﬂagship developments in the pipeline in areas such as Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, this is only set to continue.
Unsurprisingly to us, Newcastle was recently announced as one of the top European cities to attract angel investment. Sifted.eu collected data from PitchBook, ﬁnding that Newcastle had the 17th highest number of investment deals of all European towns and cities, excluding capital cities.
In the retail and leisure sectors, innovative solutions have helped to keep our region’s retail sector aﬂoat. Quirky destinations such as STACK Newcastle have provided opportunities for smaller retailers and hospitality outlets to occupy space in the vibrant Newcastle City Centre, with this success planned to be replicated at the popular Sunderland seafront area of Seaburn.
Regional operators continue to acclimatise and are reaping the beneﬁts of their inventive approaches to attracting consumers from near and far. This is in a stark contrast to national operators who continue to struggle in the current, challenging, climate.
Further north, Northumberland continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination. The county is currently the reigning champion of the British Travel Awards ‘Best UK Holiday Destination’. After four years of being runner-up, Northumberland edged out Cornwall and the Peak District to take the title of ‘Best UK Holiday County/Destination of the Year’.
Northumberland attracts Brits and visitors from further aﬁeld, and thanks to this, its tourism sector is 11.8% of the county's economy and brings £665m to the area. Northumberland has an abundance of attractions including its famous beaches, stunning scenery and historic castles.
Although the office market continues to perform well, there is a lack of Grade A oﬃce space which in turn allows landlords to remain ﬁrm on terms. Incentives continue to decrease in the short term and rental levels continue to rise. This trend may have a negative impact on the pace of emerging start-ups and company growth as options for high-quality, serviced and ﬂexible oﬃce space remains limited.
There are currently several exciting developments underway in Newcastle and Gateshead which will combat the lack of Grade A space. I am conﬁdent that the launch of The Lumen, Newcastle Helix and RIGA – Baltic Quarter will provide new opportunities for those looking to cement their business within one of the most exciting and fastest growing areas in the UK.
Despite the current, and sometimes tough, economic climate the North East has many positive achievements and future plans to shout about – and we are proud to be a part of this resilient and successful region.