THIS time last year the outlook for commercial property looked rather bleak, and although the Wyre Forest area seemed to be faring better than some other areas in the Midlands, it looked like a year when commercial property in the district was not going to perform very well.

The year was slow to start and it was not until the early summer that small shops started to received higher levels of enquiry, which resulted in many being let.

By summer small shops throughout the area were letting well, and we were seeing more entrepreneurial type businesses moving in, and it was becoming apparent that these businesses had a very good chance of establishing themselves and surviving, in times when retail generally was going through a difficult period.

Unfortunately this did not extend to the larger shops, particularly those in Kidderminster Town Centre, where the outlook throughout the years has remained gloomy, as more shops become available and perspective tenants are few and far between.

The result of this has been that landlords anxious to avoid having to pay business rates on the properties while they are empty have resorted lettings to charities, either on low rents or in some cases even rent free temporary lets.

Twelve months on there is still no “quick fix” for the empty shops in Worcester Street, Kidderminster, and despite incentives being available from Wyre Forest District Council, there is still no sign of these shops being let in any quantity.

It seems that 2013 will start off very much in the same way as 2012 finished. We anticipate slow growth and continued demand, with little chance of much by way of an increase in values for all commercial properties, whether it be those to let or purchased.

This means that it is still a time when those with a sound business can look to acquire either larger premises available to let or look to purchase their own property before the real economic recovery starts, which will in time lead to higher values as demand catches up with supply.