Further evidence that the property sector is growing in confidence has come in a new survey of professionals in the industry.
The survey by chartered surveyors Eddisons found that 75% of those questioned have more confidence in the market than they had in 2012 while confidence compared to 2010 is even higher, at 85%.
There is also positive news for landlords and developers with more than 65% of those polled predicting a rise in occupier demand and 58% expecting this to result in an increase in pre-let activity.
John Padgett, head of agency at Eddisons, which has offices in Huddersfield, said: ‘Today, there are more cranes and scaffolding poles than the previous six years put together, demonstrating the emerging confidence.
“An increase in demand will see prices hardening in the short term along with a reduction in the incentives being offered, particularly on modern purpose built space, with resultant uplifts in rents.
‘Demand is likely to manifest itself in a move towards Grade A space, which in turn will create a shortage.
“The reverse will be true of lower quality stock, which is likely to come under pressure as occupiers demand better quality space.”
Opinion on the general economic outlook is also positive with three- quarters of respondents to the survey feeling that the economy turned a major corner in 2013 – and anticipate it to improve further throughout this year.
Bank lending also came in for criticism, with 56% of respondents feeling that there was no improvements in this area or that it had stayed the same.
In an open question about Government policy aligned to the property market, there were overwhelming calls for changes to the business rate system – and in particular concern over the postponement of the 2015 Rating Revaluation to 2017.
This was ignored in the Chancellor’s last Autumn Statement and means businesses are still paying rates based on rents before the crash in the UK economy in 2008/2009 and the necessary re-balancing is further delayed.
Rod Edwards, director and head of rating at Eddisons, said: “Although the Autumn Statement contained some important changes for business rates, these are very retail biased.
“They do not take into account the many other struggling business sectors and the burden of empty rates liability remains fully on non-retail property.”