It’s that time of year again. Not only are the Christmas lights going up, but the 30th edition of the Kent property market report is out.
This is of particular interest to some of our clients, many of whom have businesses in the retail, construction, or the private-rented sectors.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic in 2021, the report claims Kent has actually fared pretty well over the last 12 months.
The Garden County has reportedly attracted new businesses and investment in many of the UK’s fastest growing sectors.
Many business owners we speak to would contest this, especially given how high streets – not just in Kent but around the UK – continue to suffer.
So, let’s delve into the report and assess the state of play for landlords, retailers, builders and tradesmen as the year comes to a close.
The uncertainty in the city centre office market seen across the UK has taken its toll on activity in Kent over the last 12 months with low levels of lettings.
More people are working from home for at least part of the week, which pulls into question is it actually worth renewing a lease on a commercial property if your business can fully function remotely?
Longer term, the report suggests these flexible working practices are creating opportunities for retail businesses in Kent’s town centre markets, like the one here in Sittingbourne.
With the pandemic changing work patterns, resulting in workers spending more time in their local areas, a share of consumer spending is slowly shifting from the city to the local high streets.
Relatively affordable housing, a varied landscape, lots of open space and beaches have drawn new residents and visitors alike over the last 18 months since the start of the pandemic.
The stamp duty holiday, combined with ‘urban flight’ – where workers move out of cities to towns and villages – fuelled price growth ahead of the South East average over the year to 30 June 2021, according to Zoopla.
Interestingly, house price growth was much slower in commuter towns like Dartford or Gravesham over the same 12-month period. That might present an opportunity for buy-to-let landlords over the long-term, despite the stamp duty holiday ending on 30 September 2021 and the 3% surcharge.
With buyers placing a growing premium on space, both gardens and separate work areas, it’s clear Kent has maintained its appeal, which trickles through to demand for homes in the county.
As such, the construction sector has brought forward some activity and phased schemes, with house builders seeking to replenish land banks across the county.
Construction companies in Kent are growing to keep up with the demand and, as accountants for builders and developers, we can assist with the construction industry scheme and your VAT obligations.
If you run a business in the retail or construction sectors, or you’re a landlord, feel free to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss any of the above.