Savills upbeat on region for year ahead

Consultancy Savills expects a resilient performance from its North West business in 2020, driven by increased political certainty and several high-profile contract wins.

James Evans, head of Savills’ Manchester office and head of regional office agency, told Place North West: “Despite ongoing uncertainty in the occupational markets we operate within, all of our teams have performed well and our results have been enhanced by a [strong] year for our development and project and building consultancy teams.

“With a less uncertain environment in 2020 and a number of major instructions, including the likes of Mayfield and Circle Square, we look forward to building on an excellent 2019.”

Savills is acting as agent on developer Bruntwood’s flagship Circle Square scheme in Manchester, which is targeted to complete in 2021, and on the £1.4bn Mayfield mixed-use scheme, a joint venture between U+I, LCR, Manchester City Council, and Transport for Greater Manchester.

“Our Manchester office has continued to grow over the past 12 months with continued strategic hires assisting us in delivering robust financial results,” Evans added.

His comments came after the agency’s head office published a trading update on Monday for the year ended 31 December 2019. The company said it expects its annual financial results, due to be published on 12 March, to be at the upper end of its expectations due to a resurgence in UK commercial and residential property markets following last month’s general election.

“The group has delivered a full-year performance reflecting both the robustness and geographic diversity of our market positions generally, and the strength of our less transactional businesses,” the trading update said.

The company showed “considerable resilience” in the face of significant challenges in two of its core markets, the UK and Hong Kong. “In the UK, the effect of Brexit and political uncertainty suppressed market activity in both commercial and residential transactional markets until mid-December,” it said.

However, the significant majority win for the Conservatives in the general election prompted a strong close to the year and buoyed market confidence, helping Savills to grow market share despite lower volumes of activity overall, it added.

In particular, the group’s residential business – particularly in London – outperformed overall market conditions.

“Global investor demand for secure income, restricted supply and expectations of continued low interest rates suggest that the medium- and long-term dynamics of the UK real estate market should remain largely positive [in 2020],” the statement said.

“Nevertheless, some caution may remain until the full impact of Brexit is better understood.”

Patrick Joynson, co-founder and former head of Savills’ Manchester office, died last year after a battle with cancer. Joynson established the Manchester office of Savills in 1996, alongside Mark Ridley and Peter Mallinder.

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