A 7.3% rise in new builds, prospering business parks + £22m highway investment – The Kent Property Report headlines

This year’s Kent Property Market Report has been published and it is packed full of good news for Medway.

It’s a detailed report produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Kent County Council and Locate in Kent, designed to give a concise appraisal of property development and investment across the county, broken into six key areas of performance; business parks, offices, industrial and distribution, retail, rural and residential.

The headline reads that despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the UK economy has proven resilient and the economic output for 2018 overall is expected to show growth of approximately 1.4%. But there are wide variations in the output of the various sectors which make up our economy. Focussing on the residential housing market, nationally there has been low turnover with the perceived Brexit effect taking its toll on home moves. But Kent’s new home market is buoyant. The build of over 7,800 new homes were completed last year which is a 7.3% increase from 2016/7, and numbers are expected to rise further over the next few years. Not only that but land values are still increasing:

Kent Property MArket 2018The report stated Medway property transactions reached 4,342 during 2017 with an average house price of £257,292. These sales and purchases were slightly lower than the previous year but at 5.8%, they are pretty much in line with national statistics of 5.1% and what was expected. And that’s where the bad news (if you can call it that) ends.

Some of the developments I’ve mentioned in previous articles, such as Countryside’s Rochester Riverside development, Kitchener Barracks at the Dockyard and the Innovation Park Medway are all highlighted as major contributors to the ongoing projection of growth in Medway. These new builds are supported by schemes like Help to Buy which are playing a big part in mobilising the market.

The report also made it clear that Medway Council have been working on a development strategy that considers growth options into 2035, which I assume is a nod to their ambitious vision to be a leading waterfront university city by 2035. The Council also say they are focussed on brownfield and riverside development and expansion of existing settlements, plus a potential new settlement on the Hoo Peninsula.

Of course the first fear for all existing residents of Medway is infrastructure, something that Andrew Clague, Senior Partner at Clague Architects is well aware of. The report quoted him as saying, “the issue that we must confront is the population of Kent and Medway will rise by almost 400,000 over the next 15 years. The challenge is how and where can we create the 170,000 new jobs to support 178,600 new homes? What is needed is a holistic approach to Town Planning, designing these new communities. This can only be achieved by cohesively master planning places where people want to live, and where businesses can move to and grow in. This critically involves designing in education, retail and healthcare provision from the outset.”

There was a great deal of information on the other property sectors in the report too, including a pipeline of 250 investment projects for companies looking to start up, expand or relocate in Kent and Medway. These all play a big part in boosting our local economy and in turn housing in the area. There is also a £22m investment being ploughed into existing Medway highways to increase capacity, improve accessibility and reduce congestion. This includes a new train station in Strood with connectivity to the Medway City Estate, and improvements between the A289 Four Elms Roundabout and the Medway Tunnel. The retail and the industrial sectors are also booming with strong demand for distribution space. An example being Amazon’s 34,000m2 last mile sorting centre due to open in Medway later this year.

If you get time, I’d highly suggest having a read of the full report which you can access here. It’s truly insightful and for anyone questioning the growth and prosperity of Medway, it will quickly allay their concerns. If you or anyone you know has any specific questions about the Medway property market, I’m always available to help. Email me at hasan@home-share.co.uk or call 07944 726676.