Semi-industrial and logistics - first quarter results

Tim Harrup

Broker JLL has produced a report showing the performance of the strategic semi-industrial and logistics market in Belgium during the first quarter of this year, and thus just before the Covid 19 crisis took a real hold.

It finds that at the end of March 2020, industrial & logistics take-up volume reached 424,000 m², in line with the 5-year average volume for the quarter. Logistics take-up was less impacted by the emerging Covid-19 than semi-industrial. And indeed more than 200,000 m² were transacted on the logistics market in the first quarter of 2020, just 2% below Q1 2019. Demand for smaller areas and for temporary leases increased. Where geographical locations are concerned, JLL observes that the Antwerp-Brussels axis attracted the highest volume and the highest number of logistics transactions so far this year. The Antwerp-Ghent and Antwerp-Liège axes complete the top 3, each representing more than 20% of the volume.

Moving back to semi-industrial, market volume in the first quarter of 2020, at 224,000 m², was 11% down compared to the 5-year average for the quarter. High volumes were recorded in Antwerp, East Flanders and Walloon Brabant. And in terms of yield, rime yields remained stable quarter-over-quarter, at 4,90% for logistics properties and at 6,00% for semi-industrial properties. As a comparison, prime yields for the best Brussels office properties are now around (or even under) 4%.

Investment volume was down by 38% compared to the first quarter of 2019, at 89 million Euros. This splits out at 30 million for semi-industrial and 59 million for logistics (against 71 and 72 last year). Buyer origin was very much in favour of local players: 57 million Euros were placed by Belgian bodies and 32 million by international companies.