“Supply continued to outweigh demand in 2019. Increasingly more landlords are having to align price points with occupier budgets resulting in transactions continuing to take place despite a rise in vacancy levels. The gap in the local two-tier segment remains to be filled as occupiers continue to exert demand-side pressure on the limited Grade A stock while traditional warehouses struggle to attract interest. For this year, we expect lower vacancy levels as demand gathers steam,” Andrew Love, partner and head of Investment and Commercial Agency at Cavendish Maxwell, said.
Key sector insightsThe general trading sector remained the most active accounting for 35% of all enquiries. The logistics and distribution sector, typically the second greatest source of demand, halved to 7%, whilst manufacturing jumped, taking a 14% share.
Our data illustrates markedly more enquiries for facilities over 100,000 sq ft built-up-area in 2019. This has largely been driven by upscaling exercises to improve efficiency, speculators capitalising on discounted prices, and a wave of foreign direct investment (FDI). China is front lining the international commitment to the wider MENA region with several sizable requirements, with Chinese companies entering the market at levels not seen previously.Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and high net-worth individuals continue to show strong appetite for investment in the industrial and logistics sector. However, barriers remain in the form of onerous land lease terms and expensive lease rates of the plots upon which industrial properties are built, in addition to the high transfer fees and sublease charges, which are typically passed on to the tenant.
Increasingly modern facilities, which are in relatively high demand, will be resistant to further increases in vacancy levels with some of this space likely being absorbed due to the absence of speculative new-builds. In comparison, older stock nearing the end of its lifecycle is likely to remain in the market.