Success for Fenn Wright Commercial
We are pleased to report that 2023 was another successful year for the Fenn Wright Commercial Agency division, based out of the major hubs of Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich.
We saw a notable increase to the total lettings volume, up by 25% to £7.54m and the total number of transactions was also up by just over 3% taking the tally to 269. Fenn Wright are also currently topping the league table once again, as the ‘Most Active Commercial Agents’ in Essex and Suffolk, according to the Estates Gazette.
The industrial/warehouse sector remains strong but has been affected by rising construction costs and the increase in the base rate (an increase from 3.5% in December 2023 to a current rate of 5.25%). With increased borrowing costs we have seen a weakening of investment yields, however, there are still local businesses looking to secure more space which is driving demand, ensuring rents and capital values remain healthy.
The office market is continuing to evolve, with businesses looking to relocate their operations to suit hybrid working, with. the focus on modern, high quality, open plan spaces in good locations. To this end, Colchester in particular has seen a strong level of take up over the last twelve months and record rents being achieved.
The town/city centre retail sector has regrettably seen some large and well established household names close throughout our region. However, the Autumn Statement from the Chancellor provides a business rates support package worth £4.3 billion over the next 5 years which will provide continued support to high streets and small businesses. This is to include a continuation of the 75% business rates relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure relief and a hold on the small business multiplier.
As for 2024, no doubt there will continue to be challenges although hopefully there is reason to be encouraged as a result of falling inflation figures and potential resultant peak of the base rate at 5.25%. These changes will hopefully bring stability, which will enable businesses within our region to plan, grow and thrive.
Over the past year, our Commercial team has grown to 24 people, meaning we have the ideal combination of skills, local market knowledge and experience to assist our clients, old and new, with all their commercial property needs in 2024. If you would like advice on any aspect of commercial property, please get in touch with one of the team here.
Below are some notable transactions from our Commercial agency team, concluded during 2023: