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Semi-industrial market rises

Having reported on the state of the office and logistics markets (data from JLL) and the retail outlook (Cushman & Wakefield), for the last of this series we turn to the semi-industrial picture again using JLL data.

With a total transaction volume of close to 1.2 million m, in 2019 the semi-industrial market performed 5% above the level achieved in 2018 and 6% above the 5-year annual average. A total of 743 transactions were registered in 2019, 9% under the number attained in 2018, but 8% above the 5-year average. There were 450 letting transactions and 293 acquisitions, both above their respective 5-year averages but below 2018 levels. The high number of acquisitions between 200 and 500 m in newly developed business parks underpins the volume. The average size of a semi-industrial deal in Belgium in 2019 was 1.575 m. The average letting transaction in 2019 was 1,190 m, smaller than the 5-year average, whilst the acquisition transactions were larger than in the past five years and attained 2,150 m on average.

Flanders on top

The geographical spread of the take-up volume confirms the attractiveness of the Flemish Region, where 73% of the take-up volume was registered, a large part of which in the provinces of Antwerp and East Flanders. The Walloon Region accounts for 25% of the volume in 2019 with dominance of the province of Hainaut, and finally the Brussels Region experienced a slight decrease in market share in comparison with 2018, at 2% of the national volume.

Among the largest transactions of 2019 there are six acquisitions by LockO in the Walloon Region for a total of 135,000 m. In addition, transport company Lema/Eribel purchased 30,400 m in Rijkevorsel and in Evergem (Ghent Port area) and a build-to-suit is under construction for recycling company PreZero (Fost Plus). The demand by small and medium sized companies for new warehouse or semi-industrial space is forecast to remain strong in 2020. As the supply side will benefit from new semi-industrial parks in Wavre, Lummen, Gembloux, Kortrijk and on many other locations, the transaction volume is expected to cross the million m mark again in 2020.

Prime rents

The prime rent for semi-industrial properties rose 3% during 2019, from 63 to 65 / m / year. This rental level applies to prime semi-industrial units on the best locations, particularly in the Brussels periphery and in the region south of Antwerp and around Mechelen. In the province of Antwerp, which attracts the highest demand, the prime rent increased from 55 / m / year. end 2018 to the current level of 60 / m / year. In other provinces the prime rent varies from 40 to 55 per / m / year.
Tim Harrup
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