Market confidence has reached its highest point since the financial crisis, according to Tim Luckman, head of Jones Lang LaSalle's North West valuation team.
Speaking ahead of an audience with over 230 property professionals at the consultancy's Spring North West Breakfast Briefing Seminar, Luckman said that, while liquidity issues remained, current confidence in the regional market is the strongest it has been since before the downturn.
He said: "While the recovery is by no means at full speed yet, the overall sentiment in the marketplace is more positive now than it has been for several years.
"The news I hear on a daily basis from the region's property companies, private investors and developers is generally positive – occupier activity has improved, take-up is on the rise across all sectors and incentives are coming down.
"Investment sales for prime and good secondary assets are now typically subject to multiple bids, with premiums on some portfolio sales.
"Owner occupiers are returning, and my own team has valued more land in the last six months than at any time in the past five years; developers are finally dusting off their plans.
"As for the banks, in spite of continued deleveraging the recent data from the Bank of England shows that commercial property lending has remained broadly flat as a result of growing appetite from lenders to finance prime real estate.
""It is unlikely that we may ever see the rapid pace of growth that preceded the financial crisis again, or at least for some many years.
"But, with a real feeling that the market has turned a corner, it is a realistic hope that this confidence will translate into a strong year for the North West."
Luckman was today introducing a series of talks and a panel discussion involving some of the consultancy's regional practice heads, including Dan Burn from industrial and logistics, Chris Mulcahy from office agency and Simon Merry from investment, in addition to Jonathan Heptonstall from its retail investment team in London and Andrew Burrell, its head of EMEA forecasting.