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Regional Spotlight: Reading

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The university town of Reading in Berkshire is perhaps most famous for its annual music festival, but around the millennium, along with the M4 corridor, it gained a reputation as a thriving IT hot spot.

The local area, dubbed Berkshire’s Silicon Valley, thrived at this time, but when the post-millennium global downturn in the IT industry hit the area, it had a knock-on effect on the licensed property market and hotel occupancy rates.

“Things haven’t been as good as they used to be,” acknowledges Richard Woodhead, a director at the Reading office of Colliers Robert Barry, who says there’s very little on the market at the moment.

On the positive side, prices have stabilised, although Woodhead points out that it’s difficult to say how prices have changed as there have been so few recent transactions. Reading also enjoys a relatively affluent populace and a prime location, with its good transport links and close proximity to London making it popular with commuters.

While supply in the centre remains limited, Woodhead suggests looking to nearby villages, which support a number of successful restaurant and pub businesses, and nearby towns like Newbury.

“But like anywhere there will be opportunities,” he concludes. “Reading is very vibrant. It’s a cracking good place for business – it always has been, and always will be.”

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