Former retail premises are biggest untapped resource for new residential housing in UK

Survey of UK property experts offers hope for the High Street and shows most in the industry are unfazed by the prospect of Brexit

Two-thirds of property professionals in the UK believe former retail premises could be the biggest untapped resource for new residential development, according to a new survey published today.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed see residential redevelopment of sites previously used by retailers giving the British High Street a new lease of life, the research report, Charting UK Property Trends, shows.

The research also reveals that three-quarters of the industry experts MRI canvassed think Brexit will not seriously hamper the ability of the UK property sector to get the funding it needs to develop properties – including 94 per cent of the property investors, owners and developers.

Over three-quarters of respondents also see demand for residential rentals in the UK accelerating, driven by the continued high cost of buying a home.

“Charting UK Property Trends provides a comprehensive inside view of the challenges property players face today and where the opportunities lie,” says Dermot Briody, Executive Managing Director, Europe at MRI Software, who commissioned he survey. “The research shows we will see a far greater number of people living in town centres, which will give a boost to retailers on the High Street while feeding other businesses such as gyms and entertainment venues.”

The survey took the responses of senior property experts from a range of organisations, including investors/owners/developers, consultants, contractors, property managers, sales and lettings agents, service providers, and business occupiers.

“The vast majority of industry players we surveyed were bullish on the outlook for the sector,” Briody notes. “Even where Brexit is concerned, the positive outweighed the negative, as two-thirds maintain that even a Hard Brexit won’t hurt their ability to get funding for property development.”