Caxtons Chartered Surveyors has completed on a deal to let 6 Conqueror Court, Sittingbourne – 1,692 ft2 of modern office space – on a new full repairing and insuring lease until January 2026.
6 Conqueror Court is a ground floor self-contained office with 7 parking places and is located off the busy A249, just 2 miles from the London to Dover M2 motorway and onward access to Europe via the Channel Tunnel and ferry ports.
The unit is on the ground floor of the two-storey end of terrace purpose built property. It has raised and carpeted floors fitted with cabling and floor points; comfort heating/cooling; DDA access; a mix of individual and open plan office space; cloakrooms and a well-fitted kitchen; parking for 7 cars and upkeep and maintenance of external and common areas is covered by a service charge.
After an initial 3-month rent-free period the rent annual rent is £27,072 and there is a break option and rent review in the lease for January 2021. The new tenant, Terradace Holdings Ltd, already occupy Unit 4 at Conqueror Court. They have taken unit 6 in addition to their existing property.
Mark Coxon, Director and head of Commercial Agency at Caxtons said: “Caxtons was appointed joint agent by the landlord, Conqueror Property Partners Ltd so we were doubly delighted to be able to finalise the let to Terradace Holdings on this well appointed and easily accessible office unit.”
At a time of uncertainty, resulting from a concoction of issues including confrontational Brexit negotiations (both at home and abroad), a government with no working majority* and interest rates rising for the first time in a decade, the lettings' market is finely balanced with affordability being a key component for both landlords and tenants.
Landlord returns are being steadily eroded, but if they try to redress the balance by increasing rents the level of demand from tenants will fall.
However, on the positive side the government has announced that letting agents are to be regulated and new proposals will require that they join a professional organisation and meet 'certain minimum standards'. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and various other bodies have been lobbying for many years for this to happen.
In addition, while letting agents already have to be part of a redress scheme, this will now be extended to all landlords to enable tenants to complain about poorly managed properties and rogue landlords.
Alan Stewart, Director & head of Residential Lettings & Property Management says: "The buy-to-let sector is still very challenging for landlords who have had to contend with changes in regulations and legislation with investment having been curtailed - particularly amongst the more short term speculative landlords - by the restriction of income tax relief on mortgage interest payments and the introduction of more stringent mortgage affordability tests.
"Pressures on the residential investment market and achievable yields will certainly continue next year with many local authorities introducing selective licensing controls on some properties plus the effect of new Energy Performance regulations, which will increase the financial burden for landlords."
Legislation will be introduced next year to prevent tenants being charged any fees in connection with the letting of a property. This will impact significantly on letting agents
According to latest figures from the British Property Federation the build-to-rent sector is continuing to grow and play an important part in increasing the supply of homes. Combined with this, the Prime Minister has just unveiled a major council house-building programme that will see the release of government owned land and the goal of providing homes at affordable rents.
In the student housing sector investment demand is buoyant. In a recent survey it is estimated that there has been a 24% increase in transactions in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. Purpose built student accommodation continues to offer attractive returns, particularly for overseas investors.
Alan continues: "Our region has seen a period of rental stability with tenants now very focussed on achieving value for money when selecting properties. If the accommodation is not well presented we are finding that prospective tenants are looking elsewhere or seeking a reduction in the asking rent.
"I believe that during the course of 2018 we may find that some accidental landlords look to sell their properties and larger investors take the opportunity to restructure their portfolios, but overall demand could be sustained by first time buyers who still cannot afford to purchase a property and there will be more choice in the rented sector with the completion of a variety of build-to-rent schemes.
"At Caxtons we are keen to promote the benefits of engaging a good letting/managing agent who can steer a landlord through all the complexities of letting residential property."
* The Conservative Party has formed a minority government and has signed a "confidence and supply" agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party.
More than 250 people from across the property and business sectors attended this year's launch of the Kent Property Market Report, which was researched and compiled by Caxtons and produced in conjunction with Kent County Council and Locate in Kent.
The breakfast event, held at the Great Danes Hotel near Maidstone on 2nd November, revealed some surprisingly upbeat statistics that bucked the trend of lacklustre results for the property and construction sector in other parts of the country.
Straddling major routes from the continent to the capital and beyond, makes Kent and Medway strategically pivotal in the south east. In addition, the cost of property and land has made Kent and Medway attractive for business and industry alike.
Growth continues in the office, business park and industrial sectors, and activity in the housing market is buoyant with developments such as the new Ebbsfleet Garden City well under way.
Increased exports have provided short-term gains in the industrial and distribution sector due, in part, to the Brexit vote and resulting fall in the pound. Also, the lack of development during the recession years has resulted in an increase in the average prime rent in Kent and Medway of 9.4% during over past twelve months.
Rents on business parks have remained largely stable and there has been expansion in the Life Sciences with the launch of the North Kent Enterprise Zone.
Average vacancy rates across the retail sector are down from 9.9% to 8.9%, which exceeds the national average and prime retail rent is increasing faster than in the previous 10 years.
House prices continued to grow and outpaced London during the year to August 2017. HS1 was providing new opportunities to live outside the capital and commute in,
Inward investment to the county continued apace and in the twelve-month period under scrutiny, Locate in Kent assisted 56 companies to find property occupying in excess of 700,000 ft2, an increase of 200,000 ft2 on the previous year.
Chairman of Caxtons, Ron Roser, said that the firm was delighted to be presenting such a strong picture of the sector in what had been a difficult year post the Brexit vote. "In our fifth year as main sponsor and contributor to the Kent Property Market Report it shows more than ever how investment in infrastructure, regeneration and business space is translating into occupier demand and improved investment prospects.
"This year's report reflects positivity across the property sector in the county and we look forward to a very busy year ahead."
Caxtons is one of the largest independent property practices in the south east. Operating from offices across Kent, Caxtons offers a range of consultancy, management and surveying services in the commercial and residential sectors, managing around 7,000 properties in the region.
For six out of the past seven years, Caxtons has been awarded the prestigious 'EGi Deals Winner Kent'. Based on commercial property lettings and sales achieved in the previous twelve-months, Caxtons has consistently performed well, with results showing year on year increases throughout the period.
Caxtons has researched and compiled information for the Kent Property Market Report, and publishes the information in tandem with Kent County Council and Locate in Kent.