This is reflected in the number of schemes currently available and in the pipeline through KWB – around eighteen schemes on their books at the current time, from Telford to Cirencester and from Worcester to Coventry.
“There is still huge appeal to many small and medium sized businesses in having their own front door and we are still seeing many businesses purchasing their own small units on a courtyard scheme,” says Bryce. “But the trend is increasingly towards investment with individuals looking to acquire units as ‘buy to lets’, commonly buying two or three units on the same development. In the past a lot of people have been looking to supplement their retirement funding by buying residential apartments, perhaps in Birmingham city centre. But more sophisticated investors have moved to investment in commercial property as a means of achieving better returns and more stable lettings. Why deal with residential lettings where leases are typically for six months when you can operate in a commercial marketplace with 3 to 5 year lettings and regular rent uplifts? Investments of between £200,000 and £400,000 offer 7%+ returns where dealing with consumers offers on average 5% and far greater potential hassle.”
There’s the additional attraction to ‘buy to let’ investors that many of the courtyard schemes are in out-of-town, out-of-major-centre locations. They can invest in property close to their homes and keep an eye on their investments! KWB currently has schemes in Belbroughton, Birmingham, Bromsgrove, Cirencester, Evesham, Henley-in-Arden, Lichfield, Oldbury, Sambourne and Stratford-upon-Avon – all of which are proving of interest to relatively local investors: “They aren’t all necessarily locations where you would automatically think ‘office accommodation’ but they are all proving to be successful schemes for this very reason,” continues Bryce.
Such is the success of these schemes that KWB is actively seeking more land and is courting architects, property developers and housebuilders, looking for between one and five acre sites in the West Midlands area for investors ready to invest in a courtyard scheme if the location is right: “These schemes are high quality, visually attractive schemes that sit well close to residential schemes and developing a courtyard office project alongside a new residential development to provide an aesthetically pleasing vista makes a huge amount of sense in this day and age,” says Bryce.
For more information on the courtyard schemes KWB currently has available or planned, call them on 0121 233 2330.