Record year for Knight Frank in Bristol as city’s property market beats uncertainty

February 14, 2020

The Bristol offices of global property consultancy Knight Frank achieved record financial results last year after advising on some of the city’s largest deals.

Both the residential and commercial property businesses reported better-than-expected trading performances, with revenues in the 2018/19 financial year up 45% on the previous 12 months in the residential division and 12.5% for the commercial property department. 

During the year the office’s capital markets team advised on more than £180m of investment deals, including the flagship Aurora office scheme at Finzels Reach, pictured right, for £62m and Jaguar Land Rover’s new showpiece dealership at Cribbs Causeway for £24m.

Meanwhile, its logistics & industrial team advised on the region’s largest transactions, totalling more than 3m sq ft at Central Park, the 600-acre warehouse and distribution park development at Avonmouth, and is now involved in the biggest wave of new development the city has seen in a generation.

These include Access 18 and More+ Central Park at Avonmouth and Junction One at Severnside.

Knight Frank’s office agency was involved in a number of the city’s biggest deals last year including financial services firm Parmenion’s relocation to Aurora, the opening of a second Desklodge co-working space on Redcliffe Way, and developer Castleforge’s investment the Generator Building at Finzels Reach – achieving new record rents for the city along the way.

The office is also advising on the city’s key office and mixed-use schemes, including 90,000 sq ft of speculative offices at Royal London’s Distillery scheme Glassfields scheme on Temple Way, and the second phase of Finzels Reach, with more than 300 new homes and the 116,000 sq ft Halo office development – 74,000 sq ft of which has been pre-let international law firm Osborne Clarke. 

Head of the Knight Frank in Bristol, Steve Oades, said: “Bristol’s commercial property market is holding up remarkably well considering the uncertainty and turmoil during 2019.

“Deals are taking longer to happen but they are happening – and big ones too. BT’s acquisition of 200,000 sq ft of offices at The Assembly (on Temple Way) will be one of the biggest lettings in the UK let alone the South West.

“Bristol continues to be one of the UK’s most attractive centres for investment despite the economic and political headwinds. However, we are all hopeful of calmer conditions in 2020.”

Knight Frank’s residential agency achieved record incomes in the financial year to March 2019, with £120m sales of homes to clients. Landmark sales during the year included The Horse Race, a seven-bedroom luxury home in Failand, which had a guide price of £2.65m off the open market and a number of further prime sales sold off market.

In addition, Knight Frank sold the most expensive apartment in Clifton for a decade at £1.65m.

Head of the residential agency division James Toogood said: “In 2019, sales were up 45% on 2018 and property viewings were 26% higher.”

House sales last year included Abbots Leigh House, pictured above, which had a guide price of £3.75m, and Harptree Court in East Harptree, Somerset, pictured below, which has exchanged at a figure in excess of the quoted £4m guide price. 

James added: “Demand for residential property in Bristol has been strong in spite of the more uncertain political and economic backdrop. Needs-based purchasers who are moving for work, schooling, or lifestyle reasons have been particularly active, especially in the market for homes valued between £500,000 and £1.5m.

“Often such buyers are willing to take a longer-term view of the market and subsequently, are able to see past the current short term uncertainty.

“Following a record year in 2018/19 for Knight Frank in terms of sales to residential clients, a rise in registered buyers and viewing activity in the remainder of 2019 provides further cause for optimism.

“The number of offers made and offers accepted between April and December is also notably higher than at the same point in 2018 which suggests that buyer and seller expectations on price are more closely aligning.

“In our view, we could see more demand coming back to the market and potentially a further rally in activity. Current and new vendors, whose properties are priced to reflect market conditions, may be well placed to take advantage.”

Knight Frank’s Bristol offices are both in Clifton – commercial in Whiteladies Road with the residential estate agency service on Regent Street.



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