10 December 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of property professionals see residential development of former retail premises as the route to giving the UK High Street a new lease of life, according to a report by property technology firm MRI.
Meanwhile, 82 per cent say projects to redevelop former retail premises to create mixed-use properties including residential will be a lucrative opportunity over the next 12 to 18 months.
Co-working or shared office spaces such as those provided by WeWork are likely to be users of former retail premises in UK town and city centres, according to 81 per cent of those surveyed.
Colin O'Reilly, sales director, EMEA at MRI, said: "The challenges faced by retail won't be solved by a shift to residential, but the trend will be a significant boost to opportunities for property owners. Retail property owners will increasingly become residential landlords. Ultimately, more people living in town centres will enhance the opportunities for retailers and other businesses, such as coffee shops, health clubs and entertainment venues."
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of senior property professionals say that as long as a 'soft Brexit' is achieved, the UK property industry will continue to have good access to the funding it needs to develop properties.
Almost half (44 per cent) say a 'hard Brexit' would seriously hurt the ability of the UK property industry to get the funding it needs to develop properties.
On the consumer side, one negative finding was that more half (58 per cent) think Brexit will cause housing prices to fall.
Dermot Briody, executive managing director, Europe at MR, said: "The survey reveals confidence among senior property professionals that the industry can ride out Brexit, reflecting a generally positive outlook that it can find opportunities amid market disruption. We see in the findings that few of the property experts see Brexit hampering the industry's ability to get the funding it needs for development - even with a hard Brexit."