Signs of recovery in the property market could prove to be a silver lining to the cashflow cloud hanging over the motor trade, according to RPC Land and New Homes.
The recession hit both the housing and motor sectors hard, but with builders now beginning to look for land with development potential once more, car dealers with vacant plots could benefit from a cash windfall.
Peter Randall, managing director at Kent-based RPC, said: “So far this year we have completed on a number of land deals for sites both with and without planning permission.
“We also have a number of other sales agreed and in solicitors’ hands showing a steady improvement in demand from house builders.”
The recession forced many car dealers to close unprofitable showrooms, often in prime urban locations that could well prove attractive to developers.
Randall said: “The slowdown in the market meant that house builders had limited need for new land as they worked on existing sites. Many house builders have now exhausted or greatly reduced their supply and are back in the market to buy new land in order to secure development programmes into the near future.
“Certainly there is no doubt that the volume house builders are now actively back in the marketplace with a need to buy.”
However, Randall did sound a note of caution, warning that the future of the property market was still uncertain with further ups and downs likely.
He said: “We are cautiously optimistic that we have a sustainable recovery with house builders seeing good sales in the first quarter of this year, but landowners need to be realistic about the value of their site to secure a sale.
“Anyone considering selling land for development should talk to an expert as this will increase your chances of successfully concluding a sale at the best price, with advice on overages, indexation and other methods to ensure landowners benefit.”