Wednesday 25 August 2021
Since the change to Permitted Development Rights in 2013 there has been an increase in commercial conversions from office space to residential properties. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend with businesses forced to re-think how they can work remotely, many companies have decided to downsize office space & some even adopted a completely remote workforce. This has in turn meant that the requirement for dedicated office space is no longer there. In fact, it’s been quoted that since the pandemic and a shift in working habits, over 200,000 (and counting) commercial units are currently sitting empty in the UK.
So what to do with these vacant buildings? Well, the housing crisis is still well & truly here – we are always needing more, so converting these vacant commercial buildings to a residential offering seems like the perfect trade & something we are seeing many of the developers we work with, adopting.
Since the start of the pandemic ERE Property have brought several commercial conversion opportunities to our investors, all of which have done incredibly well - some completely selling out in less than 2 months!
What are the key benefits of investing in a Commercial Conversion?
Off-plan developments of course have their place in property investing, depending on the strategy you’re adopting, but commercial conversions can bring some benefits off-plan opportunities may not.
1. The build is usually quicker to complete. As the building is already there, from day one you’re dry and can get to work on constructing the apartments.
2. This means that the build in general can be deemed less risky than off-plan as there’s less major work to do such as ground works & building the structure. These buildings may already be fully equipped with large floorplates, good insulation and communal aspects such as lifts, staircases, ground floor storage and parking. This may allow developers to put more money, energy and focus into creating well-designed apartments.
3. They are often located in prominent locations such as city centres & high streets. This is attractive to prospective tenants & likely to do well as an investment.
4. You will be repurposing an old building with potentially lots of history, breathing life into a vacant space that may otherwise sit derelict or be demolished - how rewarding!?
We still have several conversion developments across the UK with units left to purchase through ERE Property. See below for a snapshot of our offerings:
The Swan Courtyard – Yardley, Birmingham Commuter Town
Prices from £153,800, completing Q1 2022.
Set in a quiet residential neighbourhood is this private & high quality gated development. Attractive in design and community focused, it boasts a tranquil courtyard garden with mature landscaping, a fountain and seating areas, generous apartment sizes, some including an additional home study. There’s a total of 89 apartments, all with a parking space included. It is well positioned being approximately 4 miles east of Birmingham City Centre and 4 miles west of Birmingham International Airport, NEC complex and the M42/M6 motorways.
West Bromwich, Birmingham Commuter Town
Prices from £118,000, completing Q3 2022.
Comprising 97 single-bedroom apartments and 8 two-bedroom units, the property is part of a neighbourhood that’s witnessing a huge surge in local regeneration and urban improvements. With central Birmingham a few short stops along the metro, the new apartments will be suited for a thriving new generation of young, skilled and ambitious workers. Short letting is also permitted in this development, a great option to maximise your returns.
Tobacco Warehouse, Liverpool
Prices from £265,000, already completed & ready to be tenanted.
For a long time Tobacco Warehouse has been a recognisable part of the Liverpool skyline, reigning Stanley Dock and the surrounding area. Once an industrial powerhouse, the warehouse now provides inspiring homes, vibrant businesses and a genuine sense of community. Following the extensive refurbishment, the development has re-emerged as one of the city’s true architectural landmarks. Tobacco Warehouse is ideally located close to Liverpool’s business, retail and cultural districts. From modern offices to galleries, fine dining to iconic music venues, the very best of Liverpool is on your doorstep.
Eccles, Manchester Commuter Town
Prices from £132,000, completing January 2022.
Located in the heart of Eccles High Street with a total of 41 residential apartments consisting of studio’s, one and two bedrooms with a communal rooftop garden. Strategically located within walking distance to Eccles train station, taking you in to central Manchester in just 8 minutes. This
location is ideally suited to a professional tenant seeking a value proposition with a short commute into the city. Manchester is the hub for media and digital talent. £650m of investment has been poured into ‘Media City’ a 200 acre business hub located just 15 minutes by tram from this development.
Newcastle City Centre
Prices from £144,250, completing Q3 2022.
The location of this development couldn’t be more convenient. Newcastle’s central railway station lies less than 700m, a 13 minutes walk to the west, while Manors Station is closer still, at a little over 250m. The nearest bus stop lies just the other side of the A167, about 60m away. This enables connections to all local stops as well as recreational destinations such as Whitley Bay. Bars & restaurants are less than 5 minutes walk, the iconic Tyne Bridge 15 minutes walk and China town 18 minutes walk. This development is also strategically positioned on Pilgrim Street. Pilgrim Street is one the three largest regeneration schemes in Newcastle with a value of £300 million. Set on seven storeys, the building features its own under-croft parking and, as part of the conversion, the exterior will be fitted with new glazing and entrance ways.