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South West industrial market fundamentals remain strong despite challenges of COVID-19 crisis

13 05 20 industrial

Head of South West Industrial & Logistics at Colliers International predicts take up will be affected by COVID-19 pandemic in the short-term, but should return to normal levels once lockdown restrictions ease.

South West industrial take up will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but the fundamentals of the market remain strong, according to Colliers International.

Tom Watkins, head of the South West Industrial & Logistics team at Colliers International commented that take up in the region would be affected because businesses were having to focus on dealing with the crisis.

Speaking at the Colliers International Q1 Industrial & Logistics Webinar, he said: “Industrial take up in Bristol during the first quarter of 2020 was up on the same period last year, with 342,000 sq ft let or sold in a total of 36 deals.

“The COVID-19 crisis is inevitably going to affect take up as companies focus on the matter at hand as opposed to their relocation plans. Notwithstanding this, the fundamentals of the South West industrial sector remain strong, built on a lack of available stock and pent up demand, so we’re confident that rents will remain unaffected but, in some cases, rent free periods may push out slightly in order to secure leases.

He added: We are still seeing deals happen under 10 and 20,000 sq ft and I am aware of some larger lets that are still rumbling on, albeit probably at a slightly slower pace than before. The type of active tenant seems to be in the Healthcare and R&D (research and development) sectors, which are particularly resilient at the moment.”

Mr Watkins also noted that nationally, the trade counters were already starting to gear up to the opening of stores, and were adopting precautionary measures. However, he added that there was presently little new acquisition activity in the trade counter market.

“On the whole, most trade occupiers seem to still have new acquisitions on hold, and this is unlikely to resume until the main function of each company has started to fire up again and more importantly, government restrictions begin to relax allowing inspections,” he said.

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Tom Watkins


Industrial and Logistics


I joined Colliers International in 2012 for a years placement as part of my degree at Bristol UWE.  Since completing my degree I re-joined the Bristol office in 2014, and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor the following year, and then subseqnently managed to secure promotions year on year until being kindly awarded Directorship in  2019.

I am now Head of the South West Industrial & Logistics team based out of Bristol, specialising in the disposal and acquisition of industrial premises in the South West and South Wales regions, as well as providing specialist advice on industrial/warehouse  development.

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