Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

All-Round Relief as Bumpy Ride Gets Smoother

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

All-Round Relief as Bumpy Ride Gets Smoother

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Hawkins

Retailers have reasons to be cheerful in Newcastle despite predictions of doom and gloom, suggests Knight Frank's Simon Hawkins.

The commercial property market has had a rollercoaster ride during the past decade, with the uncertainty over the economy and the changing nature of the market itself making for an exciting ( if bumpy ( trip.

This has been especially true in the North-East, where the economy has had more of a battering than elsewhere.

Today the signs are that the market is on much more of an even keel, reflecting a growing confidence by investors and consumers alike.

Consequently, demand has been increasing for property investment opportunities in the retail sectors, despite some gloom from the retailers themselves.

Newcastle itself continues to prosper as a high-quality retail centre. In a recent Knight Frank global survey, the city beat other European hotspots such as Paris, Edinburgh, Madrid, Munich, Milan and Lisbon in the retail stakes. That is some achievement.

But the constrained nature of the city means it has a tight shopping core and historically there has been little new retail development.

As such, there are many unfulfilled retailer requirements still in the market. The high-class Molton Brown, for example, is looking for premises as I write.

In this context, it is similar to Leeds; being unable to provide the large floors required by the national retailers in the prime shopping pitches.

As a partial consequence there has been a real lack of new deals in last 18 months ( due also to the fact there is not any new stock coming onto the market.

There are new units being created within Eldon Square, which will find a home for some of the demand, but there is not any occupation scheduled until later this year, as far as I understand. …

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