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Resurgent Commercial Property Market Pushed JMW to New Deal High.
Surging confidence in Britain’s commercial property market has spurred one of the country’s leading law firms to a new deals record.
JMW Solicitors has revealed that the value of projects handled by its Commercial Property team since the start of 2012 exceeded £800 million – more than double the figure registered for the previous three-year period.
The firm outlined how changes in the retail, development and care industries had proven “significant” for both deal volumes and values.
Partner Thomas Pearson said the increase in business had, in turn, trebled annual fee income in three years, something which he attributed to JMW’s decision to invest in its property operations during the economic downturn.
"The growth in the volume of work over the course of the last three years has been nothing short of tremendous.
"Within the broad resurgence in commercial property, we have been able to capitalise on subtle differences in how business is now being done in those individual sectors with which we operate.
"For instance, whilst general commercial and residential developments are performing well, we have become involved in a larger number of care home projects right across the country.
“I think it’s no coincidence that the decision to continue investing in our Commercial Property team has made us comparatively more able to capitalise quickly once the economy began to return to full health.
“That’s particularly been important in relation to the speed with which developers and operators have been trying to get deals done since. It seems that where they recognise potential, they have been keen to advance schemes as rapidly as they can before those opportunities disappear."
Mr Pearson stated that fee income had risen from £900,000 to just over £2.8 million since 2012 both because of an increase in work and a trebling in the number of fee earners in JMW’s Commercial Property department (from eight to 24).
He described the acquisition by JMW in 2013 of the specialist property and litigation firm Goodman Harvey as “one of the strategic factors” influencing growth, adding that renewed activity among companies involved in residential development, investment and conversion had pushed the total for such deals over £200 million.
Industrial projects, investment, leases and secured property lending had also all seen “considerable” improvement, said Mr Pearson.
However, Mr Pearson noted that particular growth had occurred in the care and retail sectors – each of which accounted for more than £150 million worth of deals handled by JMW in three years.
He said that JMW – which works on projects across the country with a host of major developers including Castlemead, Brookhouse, Dransfield and Pochins – had seen “very substantial” business with retailers looking to increase their portfolio of smaller stores while other operators, such as Aldi, look to grow their existing market presence.
Two separate pieces of research published in recent months support his comments. One study concluded that the share the convenience store market claimed by the major supermarket chains had risen more than 10 per cent year-on-year, while a second found that the number of smaller outlets which they operated now exceeded 3,500 – 1,000 more than their combined estate of larger premises.
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Note to Editors
JMW Solicitors LLP is one of the leading Manchester law firms and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients. We are committed to providing legal services in a cost effective and timely manner.