Heading for best year for a while

Stourbridge News: Alan Knight, Head of Commercial at Walton and Hipkiss, Stourbridge. Alan Knight, Head of Commercial at Walton and Hipkiss, Stourbridge.

Now in the second half of November, with Christmas and the end of the year in sight, this is my last editorial for 2012 and a time to recap on a busy and no doubt improving outlook in the Commercial and Residential Property Sectors.

As a commercial property agency business we are heading for our best year for the last 3 or so and look forward next year to see the seeds of confidence sown by client investors and developers coming to fruition.

We have seen the start in Stourbridge of the much anticipated Tesco regeneration which will change our town for generations to come … for good or bad. This time next year it should be open and fully trading.

This week in Stourport together with partners Thomas Vale Construction, Clive Fletcher supported by Walton and Hipkiss with BBLB Architects, both from Stourbridge we went into formal public consultation on the new Marina Quays development with the creation of a new basin off the River Severn to form a 408 berth marina, provision of a new footbridge across the marina entrance construction of 108 holiday apartments (1 and 2 bed), a club house, including a restaurant & bar, gym, boat sales & hire facility and chandlery, laundry and workshops, full details can be seen and comments made at www.brookesmithplanning.com/consultation.

This follows on from the public consultation earlier in the year on James Brindley Wharf at Lichfield Canal Basins in Stourport Town Centre, a mixed retail, waterside residential and commercial development which should be starting on site in spring 2013. The schemes together will bring some £25 million of construction work to the town and region; both extend the tourist and retail offer but also enhance the existing marina, canal and river trade and regenerate one of the town’s hidden gems – the Canals.

On the industrial property front we continue to see an increase in demand especially from the freehold sector as manufacturing and specialist industrial processes continue to grow and create new employment opportunities. The retail sector still relatively stagnant and within Stourbridge town centre all eyes are on Tesco and the affect this may have.

The office market again continues to improve across the area, with only a low number of small offices available at The Mews and The Old Woodyard at Hagley Hall, we have seen a number of transactions recently completed form Holistic Therapy, Beauty Training to Cup Cake courses, a rich mix of good local entrepreneurs creating new jobs and investment in our area. This proves that the SME’s and start up business are now moving which will start to fuel the growth in the economy.

On the residential side a positive market in 2012 with higher demand putting an increase on sales year on year. New development is picking up with the much awaited decision on the CALA proposal at Hagley now imminent and a number of other schemes at a planning stage and destined to be on site next year. We are just about to market a housing Development in Wollaston where construction has started and a scheme of nine two bedroom houses will be created in a much sough after location between Wollaston village and the Old Quarter – this will be released in the next few weeks. All positive signs of improved confidence both from buyers and developers but also the start of much needed new development to feed the increasing demand.

The Bank of England’s summary of business conditions for November reports spending on consumer goods and services continued to grow at a gradual pace and the volume of activity in the residential sector, particularly new build, steady and in some areas relatively strong. Demand for business services and manufacturing continued to grow at a steady rate.

So all in all not a bad end to the year with signs of better times to come. We at Walton and Hipkiss would like to thank our clients and colleagues for their support this year and look forward with all the business in Stourbridge and around our area and wishes of a Happy and Peaceful Christmas and a Prosperous and Successful 2013.

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