Tim Julian, associate director of industrial at Colliers Wellington, notes all types of industrial property are currently being targeted.
“Tenanted or vacant premises, brownfield redevelopments, greenfield land – it’s all up for consideration as people eye the positive economic conditions and the long-term demand and supply fundamentals in the Wellington market.
“While locals remain the key purchaser group, the comparably better returns on offer in comparison to the likes of Auckland, does stimulate enquiry from parties further afield.
“Perhaps the secret is getting out,” says Julian.
While industrial market yields in Auckland often range between the high 3% and 5.5% range, Wellington provides returns typically between the low 4% and 7.5% range, according to the latest Colliers research.
Julian says: “We recently sold three neighbouring properties at 14-16 Shakespeare Avenue in Trentham, Upper Hutt for just over $11 million with a return on the passing income of around 5.4%, but a market yield was assessed at 7.7%.
“The three neighbouring properties on a combined land area of 14,825 sqm and a total building area of approximately 6,276 sqm were hotly contested and ultimately sold to a local investor.
“Interested parties were attracted by the properties’ land large holding, handy location to State Highway 2, split-risk income profile given the six tenants occupying space across five buildings, the short weighted average lease term and the under-renting apparent.”
“The campaign epitomised how the limited number of premises released to market is generating high levels of competition and the low interest rate environment ‘ups the ante’.
Julian, alongside colleague Kieran Lennon, marketed another property at 14-26 William Durant Drive at the same time and for the same vendor – it sold before marketing material could be put together.
Lennon notes: “The property sold for $9.8 million, reflecting a 4.0% yield on passing income and 6.0% on a market yield basis.”
“But, its not just investors, owner occupiers have also been active in the market, as trying to lease premises remains a challenge,” says Lennon.
According to the latest research from Colliers, Wellington’s industrial vacancy rate has increased from record lows over 2020 but have only risen to 2.4%. This places vacancy well below the 10-year average of 4.4%.
“While some cautiousness from industrial occupiers is apparent given Covid disruption, there is a limited number of alternative options for tenants to consider. This leads to a number of shorter leases which are continually rolled over.
“With industrial property vacancy rates at record lows coupled with a stronger than expected economic recovery and a real scarcity of property on offer, the appetite to secure industrial properties in Wellington will continue,” says Julian.