England's commercial to residential development hotspots

The almost 28,000 MA sites located across England have an estimated market value of over £1.5bn and the potential to be converted into residential properties, according to new data released from Searchland.

Related topics:  Construction,  Property,  development
Property | Reporter
4th August 2023
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"Our data demonstrates that developers already have the opportunity to turn thousands of commercial properties into residential developments and these sites currently hold significant value in the current market"

The platform compiled a list of the number of buildings that are Class MA, meaning they have permitted development rights to be converted into residential property, which would help alleviate the country’s lack of housing supply.

Speaking in July, housing secretary Michael Gove targeted making it easier to turn commercial premises like shops and restaurants into residential accommodation.

London has roughly a third of all England’s sites, numbering 8,985, with an estimated market value in the region of £928m.

The capital is followed by the South East and East of England, at 5,729 and 2,848 respectively, with these sites worth £385.4m and £186m.

The North East has the fewest sites with the potential for conversion, at just 840, while developers also have fewer options across Yorkshire and the Humber, with 1,342 sites, as well as the East Midlands, at 1,387.

These three regions only have 12.8% of England’s sites between them.

Size matters

While London is home to most properties with the required permissions, space is at a premium in the capital.

Typical commercial premises have 157.0 sq ft of space, compared to an English average of 170.3 sq ft.

While Yorkshire and the Humber have a relatively low number of properties that can be converted, accounting for 4.8% of all stock, there’s more space in the region than any other, as commercial buildings with the required permissions average 186.3 sq ft.

This means there’s potential to either turn them into larger residential properties, or a greater number of apartments per conversion.

The East of England has the second most space, at 183.9, followed by the South West, at 178.0.

Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, Mitchell Fasanya, commented: “Disused commercial sites are a cornerstone of the government’s approach to solving the UK’s housing problems if the rhetoric from Michael Gove is anything to go by.

"Our data demonstrates that developers already have the opportunity to turn thousands of commercial properties into residential developments and these sites currently hold significant value in the current market.

"If you’re a developer looking for a site, availability is best in London and the South East, but if you want to buy a big commercial site Yorkshire and the Humber is the place to be.

"Following Gove’s comments we’ll be monitoring government activity, as there could be more choice in regions like the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as the East of England.”

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