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The downside to the upturn: JLL warns of industrial property shortage in Exeter and the region

Businesses struggle to scale up due to lack of available space

EXETER, 18 July 2014 – Leading property consultancy JLL is warning that a continual lack of available industrial and distribution space in Exeter and the region is curbing economic growth.

JLL’s Exeter team has been inundated by enquiries from businesses seeking commercial space to grow their operations, but it does not have the supply to meet the demand. 

According to the firm’s latest figures, Exeter, by example is currently operating at less than two per cent availability, compared to three per cent last year. In previous years, the figure has been as high as 15 per cent of industrial property in the city unoccupied. 

Medium to large-sized businesses in particular are struggling to scale up their businesses in the face of a shortage of available second hand stock.

Tim Western, head of business space agency at JLL in Exeter, said: “We are now faced with a situation whereby economic growth is being curbed by a lack of available industrial property stock, which isn’t healthy.

“Economically, the South West’s towns and cities, including Exeter, Truro, Taunton, Newton Abbot and Tiverton are performing extremely well, but an adequate supply of available, high quality industrial property space is just not there.”

He added: “It’s a bit like deciding you need a new car, but not necessarily a brand new one. Your aim is to find something smart, reliable, immediately available and second hand. Unfortunately, in our region, this supply just isn’t there.”

More speculative building is required, according to JLL Exeter, as businesses are now looking over a wider geographical area than before to find suitable accommodation. 

“Greater transparency in the marketplace is also needed”, said Mr Western, “as businesses quite often don’t realise how marketable their property is.” ​