Rents Poised to Fall: Who Benefits?
The Times They Are A Changin’
- Landlords have profited from the boom in casual dining.
- Low interest rates, deep pockets, and lots of vacant A1 units have encouraged growth.
- Supply is reaching a tipping point, particularly in London; the market is saturated.
- Interest rates, input costs, wages, competition, etc. have led operators to trim their opening pipelines and even dump units.
- For the first time in years, landlords are struggling to fill space.
A Word on MRO and Tenanted Pubs:
- Pubs who have applied for a pubs code review might find themselves bogged down in a lengthy, complex, and expensive process.
- The process’ muted take-up might reflect its ability to bankrupt a pub business.
- Or could it be tenants are realising that life is not quite so bad under the tied model as had previously been made out?
- Either way, a year on since MRO rocked the tenanted pub market, the landlord is untroubled.
A More Residential Town Centre?
- The High Street is another matter. Retail’s centre of gravity is shifting to online. A meaningful amount of physical shops are outdated.
- While alternative leisure pursuits could fill up some units, this is akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.
- It’s a nice gesture, but you’ve still been shot in the arm.
- House-building continues to lag targets; residential conversion of High Street retail units sounds like the most likely option.
- This shift will take years to play out, however.
- In the meantime, declining rents mark an opportunity for canny operators to selectively acquire sites in deals that can go some way to mitigating softer demand.