Facebook - Birmingham Business Twitter - Birmingham Business Instagram - Birmingham Business
https://www.meif.co.uk/ https://www.lokiwine.co.uk

Property experts say lockdown has been brutal

Gloomy forecasts for Greater Birmingham's serviced office sector fail to tell the full story, according to two local property specialists.

Richard Johnson, the managing director of UBC (UK) - who runs eight business centres across England from his HQ on Birmingham Business Park - admits life during lockdown has been brutally tough for many of his 1,400 clients.

“We have some large corporates, but our 'bread and butter' client is typically a small and local business employing between three and five people, and the ones in recruitment, leisure and events really have been very badly affected.

“So far, we've lost one-in-seven, or will within three months when their lease winds down. Obviously, there might be exceptions, and at both ends of the scale, but an attrition rate of 14% is pretty typical.

“Clients are looking to us for support with regard to their occupational costs, and we are doing everything we can to help. We are being pro-active, offering them discounts, deferrals, or financial support, and I know our efforts are appreciated. At the same time, we are a business and our finances are under pressure.”

John Bryce, director and co-founder of Birmingham-based independent property agents KWB, admits it's been professionally heartbreaking to see local enterprises go under in the last two months.

“Even now, when restrictions are being lifted, and you can see more people returning to work, you hear every day of another small business which hasn't survived, through no fault of the owner, but because the demand for their products or services simply isn't there.

“The pressure is really on landlords and property owners to respond very quickly, and realise that previous trends, such as the move to remote working, are now tangible forces. They also need to be more flexible to accommodate clients who are changing their models.”

However, both he and Richard remain upbeat about post-lockdown prospects for the serviced office sector, particularly on out-of-town locations along the M42 corridor and around Solihull.

“Secondary locations, such as Birmingham Business Park, where you didn't need to rely on public transport were already hugely popular long before the virus,” said Richard.

“At one of our centres in in Henley-in-Arden, for instance, all the tenants live locally, and don't want to commute into the city. It's an inconspicuous building in the High Street, but it's been incredibly popular, and I think our industry will increasingly have to focus on such locations and models.”

John is equally bullish, and believes the changing requirements of major corporate occupiers will stimulate out-of-town activity across Greater Birmingham.

“There's been a lot of negativity based on the perception that serviced offices are under growing pressure as micro-clients leave the 'funnel' at the bottom. However, I think that we'll see - and conversations are already being had about - large companies coming in from the top.

“Organisations which have traditionally had very large head offices, with several hundred people, will now look to both reduce the head-count, and increase the space per person. Rather than having 500 people in one multi-storey office, going forward they might look to keep 150 people there, but also operate from a network of remote offices, with small regional or sub-regional hubs, with perhaps 10 or 15 people in each.

”The strategic challenge they will then face, of course, is to negotiate with their landlords to change the structure of their lease to account for their much lower requirement, and again, that will require flexibility from both parties.”

https://www.wesleyan.co.uk/secure/wesleyan-bank-smes-asset-finance

Tax experts welcome new partner

Financial and professional services firm sees Birmingham team grow

6th March 2020

Entrepreneur takes back control

Shareholder acquires firm he founded in 2012

17th June 2020

Accountancy firm acquires offices

Commercial property agency confirms deal

31st May 2019

Accountancy firm expands into city

New office opens in heart of Birmingham's central business district

23rd October 2019

More big office deals for city

Birmingham lands two of the largest regional acquisitions

12th November 2019

Boosting business in the region

Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) improves access to finance

23rd June 2020

Three new partners named at law firm

Appointments made as practice prepares for further growth

13th May 2019

Firm is appointed to consultancy framework

Experts will have the chance to bid for university projects

15th November 2019

'Encouraging' outlook for city's office market

Commonwealth Games and HS2 among positive influences

10th February 2019

Bumper number of deals for property experts

Consultancy enjoys successful period of business

1st November 2019

Biggest ever slump hits region's firms

Chamber report reveals extent of pandemic impact

16th June 2020

Help where it's needed

Support measures in place for impacted customers

30th June 2020

Apprentice property assistant appointed

Estate management experts welcome new face to the team

28th November 2019

Flexible financing

Backing SMEs during the most challenging times

26th June 2020

New tenant and expansion at city property

Office space continues to prove popular

13th November 2019