Solihull office market is “a victim of its own success” in 2017

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The M42 and Solihull office market has become a victim of its own success in 2017, as a shortage of available space led to the lowest take-up of office space for the past four years, according to Birmingham and Solihull-based independent commercial property agents KWB.

In 2017, with 51 transactions totalling 269,498 sq ft, take-up of office space in Solihull and along the M42 corridor was the lowest since 2013, on the back of vacancy levels at a 10-year low, despite continuing high demand from occupiers, says Mark Robinson, Director in KWB’s office agency team, writing in KWB’s M42 and Solihull Office 2017 Market Report.

Mark Robinson said: “With availability of office space at a record low, particularly at Birmingham Business Park and Blythe Valley Business Park, a number of occupiers who first looked at the Solihull office market have delayed their acquisition, or extended their existing lease, as they have been unable to find the perfect alternative.”

“However, the benefits of Solihull as a business base mean that deals continued throughout 2017 and demand remains high.”

The largest transaction of the year, the letting of 42,408 sq ft to Gymshark at Trigen House, on Blythe Valley Business Park at Junction 4 of the M42, marked the shift of activity along the motorway from Birmingham Business Park, located at Junction 6, which has dominated the market in recent years and achieved the year’s second largest letting of 20,774 sq ft to BCA Logistics.

Blythe Valley also recorded the third largest letting of 17,810 sq ft to PKF Cooper Parry, but until the speculative 15,000 sq ft building, being marketed as ‘First’ becomes available, the business park has virtually no ready space, while Birmingham Business Park has just 8% of its space available.

Interior of PKF Cooper Parry, One Central Boulevard, Solihull office market

PKF Cooper Parry at One Central Boulevard, Blythe Valley Park

The professional services sector dominated the market in 2017 with 16 of the 51 deals done, while it was a relatively quiet year for the automotive industry, which typically sees a good number of transactions across the region. Only four transactions relating to automotive, manufacturing and engineering sectors took place in 2017, compared with 11 in 2016 and 10 in 2015.

Mark Robinson continued: “Organisations continue to be drawn to the excellent transport links and connectivity in and around Solihull, in the shape of Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International train station and the M42.  Those that are based there already want to stay and expand there, so the Solihull and M42 market will remain strong in 2018.

“There is a healthy pipeline of demand, but often with quite specific requirements, for which we need landlords to work with occupiers and be pragmatic in negotiations, otherwise occupiers may continue to look to Birmingham and Warwick as alternative locations.”

KWB is the most active office agent in Solihull and the M42 corridor, securing more than 60% of sales and lettings in 2017. Each quarter it produces comprehensive M42 and Solihull Office Market Research, listing all the office space transactions and providing its view of the current and future market. Further details about the current research can be found here.

For more information on the M42 and Solihull office market, contact Mark Robinson on 0121 233 2330 or email