2020 Business Predictions: James Scott, development director of Muse Developments in Leeds

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

While none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Here we talk with James Scott, development director of Muse Developments in Leeds.

Now that any potential uncertainties around Brexit have somewhat abated following the recent election, the general consensus is that the market/sales will improve with some marginal house price increases, especially in the North. Developers need to be cautious of the impact of the end of Help to Buy in April 2021 as this will undoubtedly change the product mix and potentially sales rates when considering new schemes.

I believe there will be another strong year in the logistics and distribution sector in Yorkshire. Now that election is over I think this will continue into 2020 due to the ever-expanding ecommerce/distribution business, but with buyers increasingly focussing on well-let, long-term income. A number of recently announced large speculative deals are moving forwards, which will likely alter the dynamic of the big box market.

2019 saw the F&B market move dynamically, with a number of household names shrinking or closing completely. This has brought more regional and independent operators into the frame, which of course means that deals need to be structured differently, with good deals being had for fully-fitted units. I can’t see any real change to this in the early part of 2020.

Generally, it is considered that the market will start to improve, albeit cautiously, as we move into 2020. The election result has removed a degree of uncertainty and this should see investors re-engaging, increasingly as a more orderly Brexit route becomes clearer. Property investment is still seen as a positive area in which to place capital.