It’s clear that there has been significant political and economic turmoil since our last industrial and logistics update in August.
This sector is not alone in reacting both to shocks in the UK market and wider geopolitical uncertainty, and the volume and speed of transactions we are currently seeing reflect this wider hesitancy.
The cost of capital has increased substantially, and confidence may still be wavering (although improved by the most recent government intervention.). As a result, yields are higher, and the market will need to come to terms with periods of extremely low-interest rates being a thing of the past and yields no longer reaching the same record lows.
There is still demand for core markets though, especially assets with value-add opportunities and high-quality units with strong ESG credentials. Long income assets and those with little asset management scope are still desirable but at higher yields.
The occupational market is also strong and remains in favour of landlords. In fact, the supply and demand imbalance has been so stark in recent years that even if demand reduces, there will still be a relatively low void rate in most markets.
Sustainable, well-located assets are still well-positioned to perform well here too, and any slowdown in the development pipeline may well counteract possible reductions in demand. Assets in more secondary locations that may have been bought at the peak of the market could struggle to achieve the rents expected, though, especially if substantial rental growth was factored in at the time of acquisition.
And while certain areas, such as East London, will benefit from good levels of rental growth, we should not assume that the double-digit growth of recent years will continue.
The Autumn Statement highlighted further that consumers and businesses are expected to see tough times ahead, which will clearly impact decision-making at every level and needs close monitoring.
In the meantime, patience is key for navigating this new landscape. With gilts stabilising, it should follow that property yields will gradually start to do the same before we reach a new equilibrium. Fundamentally though, the industrial and logistics market should continue to prove a strong growth asset class.