A Commercial Eye on 2019

Jan Merriott
By Jan Merriott

February 2019

Jan Merriott, Commercial Manager at Symonds & Sampson gives an overview of the global, national and local factors affecting the region's commercial property market. He remains upbeat about the prospects for 2019.

A Commercial Eye on 2019

‘Political uncertainty takes its toll….’ quote the RICS

‘Much fear and chaos…’ quote the BBC

‘We should adopt the Venezuelan Model’ quote Diane Abbot

(The last one is not true -it was Jeremy Corbyn).

I say Y2k. (Can you remember fearing the millennium bug?  We will wake the morning after Brexit, the sky won’t have fallen in and we will all wonder what all the fuss was about.

Apart from showing us that British Politics needs a serious shake up and the news seems prone to reporting fiction as fact, life goes on in our region as it always has.  We seem less affected by outside events.  This is where people come to retire, slow down, bring up families, and enjoy life.   For most, it is not an upward career move or a place to set up the next Google, but it makes us content and happy which is a very valuable and sought-after thing.

However, all the nonsense of politics and the questionable news in the media masks a changing world regardless of what is happening in Europe.

This is what is actually happening


  • a trade war is going on an international scale
  • a slump in global exports, most notably cars
  • Russia is fighting an unconventional war of divide, confuse and conquer
  • global stock markets have experienced a fairly major readjustment and are still volatile
  • parts of Europe are in recession
  • the divide between rich and poor nations continues to widen

this all points to us coming to an end of a global cycle

Two further things that are beginning to have a bearing on life

  • the climate gets more extreme each year
  • some poorer nations are becoming overwhelmed by environmental damage and plastic pollution


  • London remains the financial capital of Europe
  • employment at the highest levels ever seen but with growth slowing
  • major structural changes in retail. The old style heavily geared-up brands are closing, and business rates reductions have come too late to help the ‘stranded whales.’  (Mike Ashley seems to own what is left)
  • hefty stamp duty changes and extra compliance has hurt the London and upper ends of the residential market which has filtered through to the rest of the country.
  • an announced end of austerity has passed, but interest rates remain very low
  • that national institution the BBC has gone “a bit weird”


  • Wessex is more sought after than ever, a safe haven for family, property ownership and holidays
  • the holiday areas booming during the summers and the staycation boosts our region
  • residential development land remains in short supply
  • very little vacancy is in industrial space
  • very little office vacancy
  • increasing retail vacancy 

And whilst some view the frequent difficulties in planning, land cost, infrastructure, labour supply and government assistance contrive to create a challenging region in which to set up a conventional business, other ‘horses for courses’ see ample opportunity for tourism, support services, agricultural, food services and similar types of industry to flourish.

Our team of commerical agents can advise on all aspects of commercial property sales, letting and management. Please contact Jan Merriott 01305 217992 or click here to see the extensive range of services we offer.

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