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Industrial and logistic real estate in the UK - statistics & facts

In recent years, the industrial and logistic sector in the United Kingdom (UK) has been growing and gaining increasing popularity among real estate investors. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the finalization of Brexit, safeguarding the integrity of supply chains has proved to be more important than ever. As a result, Europe’s biggest industrial and logistic real estate investment market broke several records in 2020 and 2021. In the final quarter of 2020, investments into UK industrial and logistic real estate reached all time high and exceeded half of commercial real estate investment volume. Take-up, which includes new leases, renewals, expansions, and pre-lease deals also saw record volume in 2020 and promising first three quarters of 2021.

What is driving up demand for warehousing?

With the continued growth of online sales, paired with the decline in high street and retail footfall, the need for prime industrial and logistic warehousing across the UK is prominent. It has been estimated that approximately 26 percent of all retail sales in the UK during 2020 were made online. In September 2021, close to two billion British pounds were spent through internet retail sales, but prior to the winter holidays in 2020, this figure peaked at just over 3.33 billion British pounds. As a result, the demand for warehousing has been booming and in the first half of 2021, online retail warehouses and 3PL/ distribution centers accounted for 70 percent of industrial and logistic take-up. Furthermore, with the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020, more and more businesses from continental Europe have been seeking space as close to the consumers as their UK consumers as possible. Concerns about supply chain disruption have also increased the need for more stock to be held domestically.

Are warehouse rents expected to increase?

The robust demand for space combined with limited availability and rising land values are likely to continue driving rents up in the coming years. London, which is the region with the highest warehouse rents is forecasted to see annualized rental growth of 3.2 percent between 2021 and 2025. In the second half of 2021, the prime square footage rent of small industrial warehouses outside of London varied between 5.25 British pounds in Belfast and 19 British pounds in Slough. Prime large warehouses outside London, on the other hand, had rents as high as 22.5 British pounds per square foot.

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