There have been plenty of published predictions regarding how the market will perform in 2015 from various players in the industry and so, with some still trickling through as January continues apace, we thought we'd join the conversation…
It's definitely a year for the pundits as we face a general election in May and there's currently no clear front runner in this race. A hung parliament is once again most likely at this point in the proceedings. At the moment, the conservative majority is hanging in the balance, with the party taking it in turns to hold a predicted majority with Labour on an almost daily basis.
It's going to be an exciting year as, like any general election year, there is a degree of uncertainty. As expected, there is a very slight slowdown in the general property and construction market, which will continue until we get past May and have an outcome that we can move forward from with some confidence.
In the commercial property market, growth is expected to be more sustainable this year, overall, following last year's heightened activity. There is expected to be a continuation of the trend for refurbishment and rental growth is set to continue to flourish, with rental yield also remaining on an upward trajectory.
At Saracen, looking at the forward order book, our immediate activity is focused on the renovation and development of existing properties in the main. Whilst we are involved in some big, full scale fit out projects, in the first quarter, in London and the South East, we are also working in various parts of the UK, including Scotland, on projects as diverse as workplace refurbishments and office moves.
Industry commentators have once again raised the issue of the skills shortage, forecasting that this can only become more problematic going forward, with increased renovation and development of existing properties requiring more experienced labour.
We want experienced people too but we also recognize the need to invest and will be looking at how best to team up with local government bodies and education establishments to provide suitable apprenticeships in 2015.
We will be continuing to strengthen our positioning as a national brand, covering a variety of locations in and around the Midlands as well as building on our portfolios in the North and South.
We are currently in the early stages of talks to work for some of our key clients abroad so we may well finish the year with international status. For the time being, however, we aim to continue to concentrate our focus in the UK, growing our market share in areas such as FM and shoring up our supply chain, building relationships with the best people so that we can continue to work to the highest standard.