Robert (Bob) Clayton, 1941-2021, Founding Partner, Passes away

We are sad to advise that one of our founding Partners, Bob Clayton passed away at his home on Saturday morning, 6th March, after a short illness.

Bob started his career as a Chartered Surveyor in the 1960’s with Local Authorities in Leeds and latterly Preston. It was here that he first met Clive Eckersley when they worked together in private practice in 1970. Their careers followed different paths for the next decade, but they came together in the early 1980’s as partners in a prominent estate agency located on Fishergate, Clayton Booth and Partners. This practice was eventually acquired by the major Insurance company, General Accident and integrated into their national chain.

In 1990, Bob and Clive resigned their directorships with General Accident and formed Eckersley as a new commercial property consultancy.

Bob was responsible for the professional work within the practice and secured accreditation on all the major high street Bank Valuation Panels, a recognition of his ability and integrity, and a legacy which endures today.

He was a popular and well respected member of the business community in Preston prior to his retirement in 2000, and continued to be a member of Preston Golf Club and Preston Grasshoppers.

A loving family man, Bob is survived by his Wife Valerie and Son and Daughter, Paul and Dawn, and his Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.

MASTERPLAN FOR MAJOR DEVELOPMENT IN BARTLE

ROBERTSON STRATEGIC ASSET MANANGMENT SUBMIT MASTERPLAN FOR NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT & IMPROVED INFRASTRUCTRE IN BARTLE

Robertson Strategic Asset Management (RSAM) has submitted a hybrid planning application to Preston City Council for a new residential development at Bartle, Preston.

The application, if approved, will see improved infrastructure and a new roundabout on the £230M Preston Western Distributor Road and outline planning for a residential development with circa 1,100 dwellings on a 46-hectare agricultural site which is bounded to the north by the M55.

Acting as site promotor to set the planning masterplan and ultimately site disposal, RSAM is working with the landowner, Tom Barron Pension Fund and their property advisers Eckersley in the delivery of the project.

Andy Taylorson at Eckersley confirms: “The proposed development of the new Bartle Village will see the introduction of a new sustainable community on the outskirts of Preston.  Robertson’s application, if approved, would support Preston and its City Deal initiative whilst also delivering a once-in-a-lifetime transformation of the area”.

“Central Lancashire has amongst the best rates of new job creation and will continue to attract investment and residents.  The new Bartle Village will deliver a much-needed boost to the availability of quality residential options whilst creating a new village which will add economic, social and environmental benefits to Preston as the city continues to grow.”

Bartle Village is set to provide a high-quality environment for residents and visitors and includes areas of open space and retain natural habitats for local wildlife.  With excellent connectivity provided via the proposed new road layout, it is anticipated that Bartle Village could be a catalyst to encourage further development and investment in the wider area of North West Preston.

Mark Longley, director, RSAM, commented: “It makes perfect sense to utilise the new Preston West Distributor Road and to enhance the highway network by coordinating appropriate land development to it”.

Bartle Village will transform the area into a thriving community with significant economic benefits for the wider region.  The development would be phased and will take place over a number of years, should planning permission be granted.  It will significantly improve the connectivity of Cottam, Ingol and Fulwood to the motorway network via the new motorway junction on the M55 and the Fylde Peninsula.

Commenting on the wider implication, Andy added “As Preston and Central Lancashire continue to grow and prosper it will be essential to meet the housing needs of the workforce particularly as the Enterprise Zones at Warton and Samlesbury continue to develop. By creating this new village.  Our clients and Robertsons are helping to facilitate that growth as it continues to attract new investment to the region”

As part of the proposal significant environmental improvements will be made to the landscape as well as introducing biodiversity enhancements and improving the overall visual appearance of the site.

June 2020: RICS UK Residential Market Survey

The RICS has stated that recovery in activity is now underway but longer-term expectations remain cautious.

  • Enquiries, agreed sales and instructions all improve noticeably in June
  • Prices continue to slip, albeit more moderately than last month
  • Twelve-month sales expectations still subdued due to the challenging economic backdrop

The June 2020 RICS UK Residential Survey results point to a recovery emerging across the market, with indicators on buyer demand, sales and fresh listings all rallying noticeably following the lockdown related falls beforehand. That said, respondents still appear relatively cautious on the prospect of this improvement being sustained over the longer term, as twelve-month sales expectations are now marginally negative.

In terms of buyer demand, a headline net balance of +61% of survey participants saw a rise in enquiries over June. This marks a strong rebound compared to readings of -7% and -94% posted in April and May respectively. Furthermore, respondents across virtually all parts of the UK reported a pick-up in buyer enquiries during June.

At the same time, new instructions being listed onto the sales market also rose firmly over the month, evidenced by a net balance of +42% of contributors noting an increase (significantly stronger than the reading of -22% in May). Nevertheless, despite edging up slightly at the national level in June, the average number of properties on agents’ books remains close to an all-time low of just 39 homes.

The survey’s gauge of newly agreed sales moved into positive territory for the first time since February, with a net balance of +43% of contributors citing an increase in transactions during June. Moreover, sales are expected to continue to rise in the coming three months, albeit the near-term outlook is only modestly positive (net balance +16%).

Further ahead, at the twelve-month horizon, survey participants struck a more wary tone, as projections slipped back into marginally negative territory in the latest returns. Moreover, a common theme coming through in the comments submitted by contributors this month is that the challenging economic climate is likely to dampen market conditions for some time to come.

Alongside this, house prices continue to come under some downward pressure at the headline level, with a net balance of -15% of respondents seeing some degree of decline over the survey period. While this represents the third successive negative monthly reading for the national house price indicator, the latest figure is a little less downbeat than that posted in May (-32%). When broken down at the regional level, London and the South East currently exhibit the weakest momentum, returning net balances of -58% and -33% respectively.

Looking ahead, near term expectations remain consistent with a continued fall in prices over the coming three months. Notwithstanding this, sentiment on the outlook for house prices has turned progressively less negative in each of the last three reports, with June’s net balance of -12% up from -43% previously. In terms of the view beyond this, respondents now anticipate a flat to marginally negative trend in national house price inflation over the next twelve months as a whole.

In the lettings market, tenant demand returned to growth for the first time in three reports (non-seasonally adjusted monthly series), with a net balance of +24% of contributors seeing an increase. Meanwhile, having fallen significantly in recent months, landlord instructions were broadly steady at the headline level in June. On the back of this, rent expectations turned modestly positive, both in the near term and for the coming twelve months. As such, survey participants are now pencilling in around 1% rental growth nationally over the year ahead.

Join our team – Valuation Surveyor role

We have an exciting opportunity within our Valuation department for an experienced valuation surveyor with the following attributes:

  • RICS qualified with minimum of three years experience as a Registered Valuer dealing with commercial property and development appraisals. (preferably being familiar with Argus developer software or similar)
  • Commercial property valuation background within the private sector.
  • Ability to demonstrate good time management skills and work independently.
  • Excellent report writing skills essential (good grammar and the ability to report concisely and logically is essential) with attention to detail.
  • Thorough understanding of RICS Red Book.
  • Ideally working knowledge of Landlord and Tenant matters and sound understanding of all relevant and recent legislation/regulations affecting commercial valuations.
  • Familiarity with commercial building construction methodology and defect identification.
  • Able to work within a dedicated team of fellow professionals and offer leadership and encouragement to support staff.
  • A UK driving licence.

The role would encompass:

  • Undertaking commercial loan security valuations for all of the major high street lending institutions, primarily dealing with core commercial property to include offices, industrial, retail, and occasional miscellaneous commercial and residential investments.
  • Managing a full workload of commercial valuation instructions and adhering to each lender’s service level agreement.
  • Providing commercial valuation advice to private and corporate clients including matters relating to probate, taxation and matrimonial settlements.
  • There will be full autonomy to develop new business and specialise in certain areas where training will be supported.
  • Participation in business development opportunities and networking events.

The opportunity will include flexible working arrangements including home working whilst also benefitting from the support and shared resources of an experienced team and the stability of working within a small agile practice.

We are able to offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience, including car allowance and performance related bonus structure.

If the opportunity is of interest or you have any questions please contact in complete confidence, Mary Hickman on 01772 272744 (direct dial) or mh@eckersleyproperty.co.uk.

New Hospital for Chorley

Eckersley are delighted to have successfully completed the sale of land located at Matrix Business Park in Chorley.

Following the agreement of a conditional contract, planning permission was granted by South Ribble Borough Council earlier this year for the £8m day-case hospital which has been designed to improve access to healthcare provision within the community and further afield.

Mark Clarkson, who acted for the seller commented, “I believe the development is due to commence in July and will include two theatres, first and second stage recovery bays, a diagnostics suite including a static MRI scanner, outpatient and physiotherapy departments with completion anticipated for summer of 2021

Sad News – The Passing of Mike Redshaw

It is with very great sadness that we mark the passing of Mike Redshaw on the 5th May. There are many plaudits that we could attribute to Mike but he is best summed up as being a true professional, a great friend  and above all, a gentleman.

Our thoughts are with his wife Lisa, their three sons and the rest of Mike’s family. We also pass on our condolences to his work colleagues at Nolan Redshaw and to Paul Nolan his business partner.

We have been fortunate, at Eckersley, to have known Mike for many years and have worked on numerous property related matters together, sharing many memorable occasions with him in the process.

RICS March 2020 Residential Market Survey

March 2020: UK Residential Market Survey

  • With agents required to close, near term expectations fall dramatically;
  • House prices rise in the three months to March, but the outlook turns negative ;
  • Rents also seen falling in the coming months, although longer term sentiment is more resilient.

Unfortunately, having started the year showing a marked pick-up in momentum, sentiment across the UK housing market predictably deteriorated sharply in March as highlighted by the latest RICS UK Residential Survey results. Government measures introduced to combat the spread of the Corona virus have required estate agents to close their offices, meaning much activity has effectively been frozen over the coming months. The situation is evolving rapidly, and it remains unclear how long such restrictions will remain in place. However, as is the case across many sectors of the UK economy, these closures are going to take a significant toll on the outlook for the market this year.

In terms of new buyer demand, a run of three successive monthly increases was brought to an abrupt end, with a net balance of -74% of respondents across the UK as a whole reporting a fall in enquiries during March. Likewise, the uptick in sales volumes that had been seen since December 2019 went into reverse, evidenced by a headline net balance of -69% of survey participants noting a decline over the month. Unsurprisingly, sales fell across all parts of the UK when compared with February.

Looking ahead, near term sales expectations are of course deeply negative following the government’s lock down measures, with the latest net balance of -92% representing the weakest figure since the inception of this series back in 1998. At the twelve month horizon, sales expectations are a little less downbeat, albeit a still sizeable net balance of -42% of contributors expect sales to be down over the year ahead.

New instructions being listed on the market for sale also dropped back sharply, with a net balance of -72% of contributors reporting a fall over the survey period. In keeping with this, inventory levels slipped noticeably during March, hitting a fresh record low of 40 properties, on average, per branch.

The survey’s headline indicator on prices (which captures changes over the past three months) remained slightly positive in the latest results. In fact, a net balance of +11% of contributors saw prices increase in the three months to March, although this reading has eased from +29% in February. When disaggregated, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the South West of England have recorded the strongest growth (in net balance terms) over the last three months.

That said, prices are not likely to continue on their recent upward trajectory for much longer. Indeed, the survey’s indicator capturing near term price expectations sunk from a net balance of +21% in February, to post a figure of -82% in March. With regards to the twelve month view, price expectations are somewhat less negative, as a net balance of -38% of respondents envisage house prices falling over the year to come (this is down from a positive net balance of +71% in February however).

It is interesting to note that sentiment on the medium term outlook for prices has proved a lot more resilient. Respondents currently expect price growth to average just over 2.5%, per annum, over the next five years. This remains closely aligned with the average five-year house price inflation projections seen over the past twelve months.

In the lettings market, tenant demand was more or less stable in the three months to March (non-seasonally adjusted series). Alongside this, landlord instructions fell once more, with a net balance of -32% of contributors noting a decline. Again, the virus outbreak has had a significant negative influence on near term rental growth projections, which slipped into negative territory during March. While rents are now seen stagnating over the next twelve months, medium term projections have only been downgraded slightly compared to the February figures, with average annual growth of 2.5% anticipated through to 2025.

Housing market halted by Coronavirus

To read the RICS March 2020 UK Residential Survey click here

As agents close their doors due to the lock down, the spread of the virus across the UK has led to a near standstill of the housing market. The March 2020 RICS UK Residential Market Survey results highlight that despite the first few months of the year showing a marked pick-up in market activity, this month will have a significant impact on the outlook for the rest of the year.

In March, after three successive months of increasing buyer enquiries, a net balance of -74% of UK respondents reported a fall in buyer demand – a sharp fall from +17% previously. Unsurprisingly, March also saw newly agreed sales drop across all parts of the UK with 69% more respondents reporting a fall – down from 19% reporting a rise in February.

Looking ahead, sales expectations for the next three months have also turned deeply negative following the lock down measures, with a net balance of -92% of respondents representing the lowest reading since sales expectations were first recorded in the RICS Residential Market Survey. Looking forward to the next 12 months, respondents were slightly less negative, although 42% expected sales to fall further rather than rise.

New homes coming onto the market dropped sharply over the past month, with a net balance of -72% of UK respondents reporting a fall. As a result of this, the average amount of properties on estate agent’s books is at a record low of 40 properties per branch.

Moving to house prices, a net balance of +11% participants reported growth in March. Northern Ireland, Scotland and the South West all recorded the strongest growth in prices. However, near term price expectations sunk from a figure of +21% net balance in February to -82% in March, whilst -38% of survey participants expect a further fall over the next 12 months. This is down from a reading of +71% in February, an indication of just how much sentiment has changed over a month.  However, prices for the next give years remain resilient.

Moving to the lettings market, March has seen new landlord instructions fall with -32% more respondents reporting a decline. Tenant demand across the UK flat lined as the virus had a significant impact on near-term rent expectations which slipped into negative territory for the first time since the financial crash.

Key Findings

  • Housing market lock down sees lowest near-term sales expectations since 1998
  • House price expectations fall, but resilient at five year measure
  • Rents seen failing in coming months although longer term sentiment more resilient

The impact of COVID-19 will have a ripple effect on the housing market for the remainder of the year.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, comments: “The results of the latest RICS survey capture the period during which the economy moved into lockdown so show a somewhat mixed picture. But critically, the key forward looking indicators clearly reflect the emergency measures in place. The fact that responses are negative not just at the three but also the twelve month time horizon is significant in suggesting that the legacy of covid-19 could be such that any return to what might be described as ‘normality’ in the economy will take time and households will remain cautious for a while.  Of course, the primary focus of government is at this stage the health of the nation and defeating coronavirus and it may be a little premature to be planning for the economic recovery. However, the feedback from the survey does imply that further government interventions both in the wider economy and more specifically in the housing market may be necessary to aid this process supporting businesses and people back into work.”

Hew Edgar, RICS Head of Government Relations added: “While the UK’s health is the priority, our survey feedback suggests that the Government will need to start considering medium and long-term measures that could assist a post-pandemic housing market. These are exceptional circumstances and the Government will need to consider all avenues that could feasibly rebuild confidence, bridging the gap between uncertainty and recovery.  RICS is not an organisation that would call for a stamp duty holiday on a whim, and indeed our view prior to Covid-19 was that it required a full-scale review. As we start to emerge from this crisis, however, it is likely that the finances of potential homebuyers will be under strain, and the burden of stamp duty could put buyers off. For those who can afford to move they may lack confidence in the market, adding to the slow down.  A stamp duty holiday could be one of the ways to reactivate the housing market quickly as a short term measure.”

Article published by the RICS