OFFICE occupancy rates reached a record high in St Helier during 2018, according to commercial real estate agency D2; while the investment manager for the Ravenscroft Channel Islands Property Fund says the commercial property market is expected to be ‘very active’ again this year.
D2 Real Estate research found that around 250,000 sq ft of office stock was let last year causing the office vacancy rate to fall significantly, going below the historic average.
The managing director of D2, Phil Dawes, said the figures were in excess of many regional UK cities.
‘The falling vacancy rate through increased take up and conversion of obsolete stock to alternative uses is extremely positive,’ he said. ‘It demonstrates that landlords are being proactive rather than just sitting on obsolete stock with little prospect of getting it let. It will ultimately provide much-needed residential accommodation.
‘At the same time, the quality of the remaining stock is increasing. Until recently around 5% of the stock comprised BREEAM-rated buildings, BREEAM being the industry standard for sustainable buildings. This has now risen to 20% of total stock, following developments such as IFC and Gaspé House.’
Mr Dawes said last year was also a record high for the commercial property investment market, with £185 million of stock being transacted and new liquidity coming in from high-net-worth buyers, South East Asian investors and new syndicates.
A recent Ravenscroft report covering its Channel Island Property Fund, backs up these findings, saying both sales and lettings have been buoyant, although it credits mainly ‘indigenous companies seeking to expand and consolidate operations’. The fund performed in line with its objectives and Ravenscroft expect 2019 to also be ‘very active’ as it too eyes one or more properties to purchase that fit the fund’s investment criteria.
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