Demand for offices and homes drives West Kent economy

    (left to right) David Fitzsimmons, Chairman of Locate in Kent; Ron Roser, Chairman of Caxtons; Cllr Mark Dance of Kent County Council; Liz Hamson, Editor of Property Week; Mark Coxon and David Gurton of Caxtons.

    West Kent’s economy continues to thrive, with strong demand in key sectors, according to the Kent Property Market Report 2016.

    Produced by Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, Locate in Kent and Kent County Council, the report reviews activity across the commercial and residential sectors in Kent and Medway in the past 12 months and looks at the prospects for the year ahead.

    Released at the beginning of the month, the report found increasing demand for office space in the western part of the county has translated into ‘substantive uplifts’ in rental growth.

    Sevenoaks recorded the largest increase, up by 25 per cent year-on-year, while Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells both saw similar rises.

    The report states: “Improved business confidence during 2015 spurred strong office demand across the South East during 2015 and into 2016, particularly for quality town centre space which remains in relatively short supply.

    “The Kent market mirrored this pattern; leasing activity remains buoyant despite the result of the EU referendum. Town centres offering a quality environment and strong transport links are the focus of attention.”

    In the residential sector, average house prices in the county rose by 13 per cent in the year to the end of June, ahead of the London region, with the average value of a home at the end of the second quarter valued at £266,870. The report noted the ‘sharpest’ increases were recorded in coastal towns.

    However, West Kent continues command the highest house prices. The average price of a new build in Sevenoaks now commands between £380 and £625 per square foot, while in Tunbridge Wells someone purchasing a new build will pay on average £400 – £575 per square foot. New homes in Tonbridge fetch between £325 – £450 per square foot.