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14 February 2018




The M42 and Solihull office market has become a victim of its own success in 2017, as a shortage of available space led to the lowest take-up of office space for the past four years, according to Birmingham and Solihull-based independent commercial property agency KWB.


In 2017, with 51 transactions totalling 269,498 sq ft, take-up of office space in Solihull and along the M42 corridor was the lowest since 2013, on the back of vacancy levels at a 10 year low, despite continuing high demand from occupiers, says Mark Robinson, Director in KWB’s Office Agency Team, writing in KWB’s M42 And Solihull Office 2017 Market Report.


“With availability of office space at a record low, particularly at Birmingham Business Park and Blythe Valley Business Park, a number of occupiers which first looked at the Solihull office market have delayed their acquisition, or extended their existing lease, as they have been unable to find the perfect alternative,” says Mr Robinson.


“However, the benefits of Solihull as a business base mean that deals continued throughout 2017 and demand remains high.”


The largest transaction of the year, the letting of 42,408 sq ft to Gymshark at Trigen House, on Blythe Valley Business Park at Junction 4 of the M42 marked the shift of activity along the motorway from Birmingham Business Park, located at Junction 6, which has dominated the market in recent years and achieved the year’s second largest letting of 20,774 sq ft to BCA Logistics.


Blythe Valley also recorded the third largest letting of 17,810 sq ft to Cooper Parry, but until the speculative 15,000 sq ft building, being marketed as ‘First’ becomes available, the business park has virtually no ready space, while Birmingham Business Park has just 8% of its space available.


The professional services sector dominated the market in 2017 with 16 of the 51 deals done, while it was a relatively quiet year for the automotive industry, which typically sees a good number of transactions across the region.  Only four transactions relating to automotive, manufacturing and engineering sectors took place in 2017, compared with 11 in 2016 and 10 in 2015.


Mr Robinson continues: “Organisations continue to be drawn to the excellent transport links and connectivity in and around Solihull, in the shape of Birmingham Airport, Birmingham International train station and the M42.  Those that are based there already want to stay and expand there, so the Solihull and M42 market will remain strong in 2018. 


“There is a healthy pipeline of demand, but often with quite specific requirements, for which we need landlords to work with occupiers and be pragmatic in negotiations, otherwise occupiers may continue to look to Birmingham and Warwick as alternative locations.”


KWB is the most active office agent in the Solihull and the M42 corridor, securing more than 60% of sales and lettings in 2017.  Each quarter it produces comprehensive M42 And Solihull Office Market Research, listing all the office transactions and providing its view of the current and future market.  Further details about the current research can be found at


With offices in Birmingham and Solihull, KWB is an independent firm of Chartered Surveyors which offers a comprehensive commercial property service and unrivalled market knowledge across the West Midlands.  KWB has been trading for more than 25 years and its senior management team has in excess of 200 years combined professional experience.


Picture caption: 1320 Solihull Parkway, Birmingham Business Park, let by KWB to BCA Logistics and subsequently sold by KWB as an investment.