In July, the BBC reported there had been a rapid return to city centre living. Last month, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) have released data that shows an increase in commercial rentals not seen in Swansea since the 1980’s.
This came as no surprise given the Kingsway Regeneration in full swing and the City Deal about to start. Earlier this month, we reported that the City Deal had begun.
LSH’s data continues the flurry of positive news for Swansea, and supports our notion that this positive trend will bring in increased demand for residential lettings. More big businesses in the centre of Swansea will bring more workers that want good, quality housing, and desirable living accommodation encourages workers to come to the city to look for work.
LSH’s snapshot of Q2 2018 points to the growing appeal of Swansea City Centre as a business location. They report that 17,500 sq ft has been newly let.
The ongoing regeneration of Swansea High Street is playing a major part in this appeal.
This growth in commercial letting hasn’t been seen in the City Centre, so says LSH, since the development of Llansamlet Enterprise Park. The split of 70/30 has previously favoured out-of-town locations.
Notable city centre lets include US-based software firm Mitratech, who have recently expanded into Urban Village. Urban Village forms part of a £25 million mixed-use programme of investment from Coastal Housing Group.
Refurb and Regenerate
Alexandra House, a 13-storey office block opposite Swansea train station that is home to corporate giants Virgin and TUI, has been extensively refurbished as part of the link routes regeneration programme.
The neighbouring Oldway Centre is also undergoing a dramatic transformation, converting from an office block to 560-bed high quality student accommodation. The work is due to be completed by September 2019, in time for the next academic year.
Demand for Grade A Accommodation
While demand for city centre office space is on the rise and supply has remained stable, LSH’s data reveals a lack of good quality “grade A” space. Despite the abovementioned projects, there is a lack of even refurbished “B-grade” stock.
Alun Lewis of LSH’s Office Advisory Division has confirmed that they have had enquiries from large companies looking to relocate to the area, but the shortage of accommodation to the standard they require is holding them back. He said “We would like to see landlords speculatively refurbishing obsolete stock to attract quality occupiers.
Alexandra House and Urban Village are excellent examples of how refurbishment can prove successful and we are confident there is sufficient demand to justify more.”
Mr Lewis believes that continued regeneration of the City Centre through engaging with the creative, student and tech sectors will open a new chapter of growth.
Exciting plans are underway with the redevelopment of the Kingsway, and there are plans for the former St David’s Shopping Centre site to be developed, too, including replacing it with a state of the art 3,500-seater Digital Arena.
If you’re invested in Swansea’s regeneration and are interested in growing your buy-to-let portfolio, we can offer free advice on the best places to buy and the right properties for your investment needs. Give us a call in the office on 01792 430100, or click here to email us.