Ashford Property Market Report
In March 2019, Ashford Borough Council published its own Property Market Report, placing the spotlight on developments which are shaping the future of Kent’s number one business location.
The Ashford Property Market Report, produced in association with Caxtons Chartered Surveyors, highlights current development trends in the borough as well as future opportunities and how these have attracted both investors and businesses over the past year.
Driven by Ashford Borough Council’s proactive approach, the town has become an increasingly important commercial and residential property leader, thanks to key developments such as Connect 38, Chilmington Green, the Coachworks or Elwick Place. Find out more about each sector below.
Ashford Office Market
Prime rents in Ashford are focused on the town centre and have risen 11% over the last 12 months, compared to the Kent prime average which grew by 4%.
Thanks to new office blocks, such as Connect 38, part of the larger Ashford Commercial Quarter, and a central location only 38 minutes from London and 2 hours from mainland Europe, Ashford has attracted digital and tech companies to the borough.
The Coachworks is another up-and-coming development which will offer shared office space as well as studios and start-up spaces to over 200 professionals. Scheduled to open later in 2019, the development will be a business incubator in the heart of the Commercial Quarter.
Ashford Industrial Market
Located on the M20, with quick access to airports and ports, Ashford offers a strategic position for businesses in the industrial sector.
Amongst the key locations in the borough, Orbital Park, Kingsnorth Industrial Estate, Carlton Road Business Park and Waterbrook Park have contributed to the town’s economic expansion and the 38% growth in prime industrial rents over the last five years.
There has been a strong growth driven by demand from tenants in high-skilled sectors in 2018/2019, including vitamin and supplement company Forza Industries and mobility and disability aids manufacturer Millbrook Healthcare.
Ashford Retail Market
As highlighted in national newspapers, Ashford has bucked the national retail trend in 2018, seeing an increase in footfall when most town centres saw a decline. This has also translated in a 11% rise in prime rents in the retail sector last year and once again highlighted the sharp contrast to the Kent retail sector and the Kent prime rent average.
Whilst the full effect of key schemes will take time to measure, the Council’s regeneration strategy has already paid off, as shown with Park Mall shopping centre, which is now nearly full following the Council’s purchase.
But Park Mall is not the only thriving shopping centre, with County Square welcoming over 6 million visitors in 2018, as well as two key retailers last year: Metro Bank, who signed a 25-year lease, and Deichmann, Europe’s largest show retailer.
The Ashford Designer Outlet will also open its brand-new, £90m extension to the public later in 2019, welcoming 50 new premium brands to the town.
Across town, the Drovers Retail Park will welcome The Range, as well as a Costa Drive Through.
Ashford Residential Market
Ashford remains one of the more affordable locations in Kent, with house prices averaging under £330,000 at the end of 2018, compared to £350,000 in Kent. The town has also shown greater resilience in 2018, with the value of more affordable new houses rising by 20% between 2017 and 2018, one of the few locations to see growth in Kent.
Amongst the key residential developments in Ashford , we can mention: - Riverside Park on Victoria Way, developed by GRE Assets and Quinn Estates, which will include 246 apartments and 26 town houses, - The former Kent Wool Growers site purchased by U+I, with plans for 250 new flats near the town centre, - Finberry, a new village on the outskirts of town, developed by Crest Nicholson, which saw the launch of their brand-new live/work houses in 2018, as well as the opening of the new primary school and health centre. - Chilmington Green, developed by Hodson Developments. The first homes are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, with retail and leisure uses to follow, alongside four new primary school. - Conningbrook Lakes, with Westerhill Homes and Latimer developing 300 lakeside homes in the 31-acre country park.
Leisure & Tourism
In 2017, Kent welcomed a record 65 million visitors, with 4.4 million choosing Ashford . This has resulted in a 2.7% increase in the number of day trips taken to the Ashford borough and a 10% increase in the number of nights spent in town by overseas visitors.
To accommodate for the growth in tourism and staycation across Kent and in Ashford, the borough has seen considerable investment in leisure and visitor attractions in 2018, including the opening of Elwick Place, the Curious Brewery development, the expansion of the Ashford Designer Outlet as well as continued investment by English and French vineyards in the area.
Ashford also welcomed to key exhibitions in 2018, with the Snowdogs Discover Ashford Arts Trail and the WWI exhibition Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace 1914-1918.
Whilst 2018/2019 has been a big year for property development in Ashford, all the infrastructure is now in place for this to continue is the years ahead and future-proof the town’s economic growth.
For more information about the Ashford Property Market, download the report now.