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Restaurant property prices continue to rise

20 January 2016 by
Restaurant property prices continue to rise

Restaurant property prices continued to rise dramatically in 2015 with competition for sites as fierce as ever.

According to the Christie + Co Business Outlook 2016, average restaurant property prices went up 9.9% year on year in 2015. This is only slightly behind the 11.1% growth seen in 2014.

Christie + Co director and head of restaurants Simon Chaplin said that while London remained at the top of the market, prices had risen across the country.

"We're seeing increased activity in Newcastle, Bristol, Exeter and Brighton," he said. "And there is a lot going on in Nottingham.

"The greatest potential is in medium to large towns because people don't always want to go into the centre of town. Some of the suburbs of Birmingham and Manchester have seen quite a bit of growth."

Chaplin told The Caterer that price rises weren't down to overcapacity, and that in some cases premiums were being dropped in favour of increased rents.

"Rents are going up," he said. "That is possibly squeezing some operators out. Is it a danger? Possibly. There are some rents now going in at provincial cities at levels that three years ago you would have expected in London.

"Manchester is now above £70 per sq ft and I could pick some examples that would be getting close to £100 per sq ft.

"In this low interest environment, when people are still getting wage increases, as long as that continues for another two years we're all OK. Then we can look in the crystal ball, and 2018 could be quite interesting. There is always danger round the corner but operators are good at adapting."

In the pub sector demand for managed house stock drove prices up 10.1% in 2015.

Christie + Co managing director Neil Morgan said that the amount of pubs the agent sold as distressed halved in 2015, pointing to a recovery in the sector.

"The traditional free house side of the business is now growing fast," he added. "We've seen it going from 17,700 in 2007 to over 21,000 in 2015. What you've got is a much leaner, fitter industry and more diversification.

"The evidence of that is the percentage of pubs freehold, long leasehold that we've sold that have stayed as pubs has gone from 80% to 84%. So the quality of what we're selling is getting better."

He added: "That group has grown as a result of all the administrations and volume disposals that have happened - in the main - in the tenanted lease sector. Well-run smaller businesses have slowly grown. An example is Oakman Inns, which you sense will get into 18-20 sites before private equity, an investor or a national pubco might look at buying."

Morgan predicted that 2,000-3,000 pubs will be sold over the next three years, once the big six pub companies have digested the fallout from the imminent pub code and market rent options.

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