Agent Interview: Chris Miles of Russell Property Consultants on Bristol’s Strong, Dynamic Property Market


Russell Property Consultants now has a combined 40 years’ worth experience specialising in industrial agency, investment and development, and are the only niche industrial agency practice in Bristol to cover the region. Chris Miles joined RPC in August 2016 with 14 years’ experience in the market. NovaLoca discusses his thoughts and predictions on this prolific business hub…

What was business like for Russell Property Consultants during 2016?
For the first half of 2016, the IAS (Industrial Agents Society) recorded Greater Bristol’s highest take-up stats ever, at 3,217,000 sq ft. The full 2016 take-up stats will be released in mid-January and assumed to be around 4,200,000 sq ft which is an approx. 59% increase on the 10-year average.


What trends have you seen emerge in the Bristol property market this past year?
With increased demand and a lack of new supply Bristol is now at its lowest vacancy level for 10 years, at below 3%. There is now not only a lack of supply of modern accommodation, but also a lack of availability generally. This shortage has been exacerbated by the lack of speculative construction of industrial property during the last 5-10 years.

Greater Bristol demand is still driven principally by the B8 Use Class (Storage and Distribution) with approx. 70% of transactions. We are also seeing a noticeable increase in activity within the B1 (c) and B2 Use Classes, which accounted for 33% of overall transactions which is encouraging news for the manufacturing sector.

Occupiers now have to be more flexible in their location when approaching property searches, due to the lack of supply. A consequence of the lack of supply is the impact on the secondary industrial market, with evidence of strong rental growth being witnessed.

What are the great benefits of Bristol that you think make it so attractive to businesses?
The dynamics of Bristol make it very attractive for businesses. A strong labour pool, highly educated workforce, the infrastructure (motorway network, port, rail freight and airport) and the attraction to existing key employment sectors such as defence, aerospace, and large scale distribution, make it a highly sought after location. Over the past few years we have recorded a large increase in new business coming into the city and this continues to grow.


Are there any developments or projects you’re particularly excited for at the moment?
The most exciting is Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear power station in Somerset. It was finally given the go-ahead by government after several false starts. It will be a huge boost to the region providing 25,000 new jobs. We have already seen many “spin-off” requirements needing new premises related to the project. EDF suggest that up to £4b will be invested in the region over the life time of Hinkley Point.

How do you predict the property market will change for 2017?
The Brexit decision and timeframe will influence and shape the market going forward. When the result was announced last June, there was temporary shock in the market for a month. But since then, demand has returned to robust levels. The trigger of article 50 and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, may cause another slow down. However we have such a diverse market, varied employment sectors and with the likes of Hinkley Point, Bristol is well placed to weather any short term storm!

Hinkley Point

– Chris Miles, Director of Russell Property Consultants