News

Reduce the Risk – Assessing Demand for New Workspace Developments

Cornwall has relatively few large employers and the employment market is characterised by a high proportion of smaller businesses. This is reflected in the nature of the enquiries received by our agency team which are often from local businesses and for relatively small amounts of space.

Notwithstanding this, as my agency colleagues often report, take up and demand often seems better than expected for good quality stock or land in the right location.

The term ‘latent demand’ is frequently used when discussing the Cornish property market. By this it is meant that demand tends to materialise when new supply becomes available and be stronger than anticipated. Businesses do not register their interest with commercial property agents or consider re-locating until they become aware that suitable premises are available.

Latent demand is difficult to account and plan for and, inadvertently, unduly limits the supply of new employment space because developers do not accurately perceive the right levels of demand or cannot forecast them with any certainty. It acts as a barrier to private or public sector speculative development.

As well as having serious financial consequences for developers and investors, over-development, or the failure of a scheme, can adversely affect the commercial property market, dampening rental and sales values. As such a ‘build it and they will come’ approach is imprudent at best.

Notwithstanding this a supply of high quality sites and employment space at the right time and in suitable locations is fundamental to future economic performance.

Cornwall has a high proportion of homeworkers who do not require formal workspace, preferring the lifestyle choice of working from home and thereby avoiding the associated costs of securing office space.

Demand and transactions can be unrecorded if they occur directly between landlords and tenants. This can lead to demand and activity being underestimated and this is particularly the case in more rural towns due to strong local connections.

SCC have carried out demand and viability appraisals for the public and private sector on various potential developments to assist with planning negotiations and to support funding applications.

If you have a project you would like to discuss please contact Beth Taylor-Stubbs in the Truro Office on 01872 261028.