More outdated office space should be converted into residential property in order to combat the UK’s shortage of homes, according to a Birmingham estate agency.
FleetMilne Property says that particularly in city centres, unused office spaces should be converted into apartments to meet rising demand for homes.
The agency has praised Birmingham’s first office-to-residential conversion scheme which is nearing completion.
The scheme, developed by Salmon Harvester Properties Ltd, has brought a new lease of life to a prominent, centrally-located office building which was no longer fit for purpose, according to FleetMilne Property.
The 11-storey building will now comprise 55 contemporary one-bedroom apartments which will be available to rent in a matter of months.
One of the directors the agency, Nicola Fleet-Milne, says that if the redevelopment process is well thought-through, schemes which reinvigorate vacant office buildings could play a key role in opening up the city living market in Birmingham and other locations around the UK.
“The availability of residential property in Birmingham city centre has long been at crisis point,” she says. “Since 2009, when the recession set in, demand has far outweighed supply. No new stock has been delivered to the market despite an estimated 1,000 new households moving into the city every year.”
She says that there is an appetite among fund managers to take advantage of growth potential in the residential property markets of key regional centres.
“We welcomed the government’s announcement last year that permitted development rights would be made permanent and we are hopeful this will open up opportunities for more conversions,” adds Milne.
“Approached in the right way, these developments are a win-win. They have the potential to be profitable investments which breathe new life into old buildings, while also delivering much-needed stock for prospective rental tenants and homebuyers.”