Birmingham has record-levels of development across the city centre as confidence in its commercial property market, in particular, remains buoyant. There were 24 new starts breaking ground in 2017, including four new office schemes adding to the city’s office development pipeline of 130,064m², with 49% of space under construction already let. Developments such as Snowhill, Devo 2 and building and renovation work associated with the 2022 Commonwealth Games give investors confidence. There were 13 new residential schemes started in 2017, up 30% on 2016. Hotel occupation rates remain high at 75% even though Birmingham saw 334 new hotel rooms added in 2017. One of the most exciting prospects yet to come is Smithfield, which will provide 300,000m² of mixed commercial space and 2,000 new homes. A project called New Monaco will add another 1,000 apartments.
Manchester is another example. It is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. In 2017 there were 20 new residential schemes started. The 11,135 homes currently being developed represent the third year of sustained growth for the region. There are six new major office developments, bringing the total office space currently under construction to more than 150,000m². This includes Circle Square (52,000m² from two buildings) and Landmark (17,000m²), both started in 2017, when 95,000m² of new office space was completed – 75% more than in 2016 – with 91,000m² of it already let by the end of the third quarter. More people need more facilities, and Manchester also saw 6,000m² of new retail and leisure space delivered in 2017 with much more under construction.
The story is the same across the UK. The economy is robust and entrepreneurial. The business start-up revolution shows no sign of ending. In 2016 nearly 660,000 companies were established, up from 608,000 in 2015. It looks as if even that record was broken again in 2017. Only the USA rivals the UK for business start-ups. The UK is open for business. And all those businesses are looking for opportunities.
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