The borough had achieved a four-fold increase in spending from £265m in 2018
Wokingham is one of the UK’s top commercial property spenders according to recent HM Land Registry data.
The ranking came as it was announced the borough had achieved a four-fold increase in spending from £265m in 2018, making it one of the 12 local authorities across England and Wales to see commercial buyers spend more than £1 billion on property transactions during 2019.
Alongside Birmingham, Wokingham is the only other local authority outside of Greater London to hit the benchmark.
Executive Member for Business and Economic Development at Wokingham Borough Council, Cllr Stuart Munro said: We were incredibly pleased to see the latest figures from the property press showing such strong activity in the commercial property market across the borough.
We firmly believe that Wokingham is one of the best places in the country to do business and these figures appear to endorse this view, Munro said. As a borough, a huge amount of work has gone into making sure Wokingham has a sustainable future and this is reflected in an increasingly wide demand for the boroughs real estate.
Although a positive achievement locally, this is a drop from the 14 local authorities who passed the investment mark in 2018 and the 15 that did so in 2017.
The national decline, which saw overall annual investment in commercial property fall to £88.7 billion in England and Wales compared to the £101 billion spent the previous year, can be explained by the political and economic uncertainty caused by the moving Brexit deadlines.
And it is predicted that this downward trend will continue in 2020 and beyond as the full impact of the Covid-19 lockdown is felt.
The figures also highlight the need for the UK government’s “levelling up” strategy to deliver a tangible boost to regional economies, as the country grapples with potential exit and recovery strategies from the current coronavirus lockdown.
Commercial real estate business development manager for property data insight provider Search Acumen, Caroline Robinson said: Our analysis reveals clear regional disparities and also indicates how the government needs to do more to support regional developers and to encourage investment in regional infrastructure and real estate projects beyond London.
During these uncertain times, we encourage firms to not take their eye off the future recovery and, in doing so, take stock of how better and more efficient ways of working will impact the commercial real estate sector’s financing and infrastructure development in the longer-term, Robinson said.
And while cities including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham all recorded over £1 billion of commercial buyer spending during 2018, only Birmingham passed the £1bn mark in 2019 based on the latest available data, and itself saw a reduction from £1.7 billion to £1.1 billion.
Other areas to see significant growth of commercial spending across England and Wales in 2019 included Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; North Warwickshire; Somerset West and Taunton; West Suffolk; East Suffolk; and Folkestone and Hythe.
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