North West follows national pub sales trend in Fleurets’ latest survey

crown lymmTHE North West last year followed the national trend of a reduction of bottom end pub sales and fewer leasehold assignments, according to the latest Survey of Pub Prices by leisure property specialist Fleurets.

There was, however, a significant growth in freehouse sales which resulted in an improvement in the quality of pubs being sold and an increase in the average sale price.

Nationwide, the lowest value sales concluded were in the North West with 14% below £100,000 and the lowest being £65,000.

“The North West market benefits from a number of long established family brewers and operators who are keen to expand and improve the quality of their existing estates,” said David Sutcliffe, head of Fleurets’ North West office.

“An example of this type of transaction was the Crown (pictured) in Lymm, which sold for a figure in excess of its guide price of £725,000.

“The property was acquired by a regional brewer who subsequently undertook a full refurbishment and re-established the pub as a good quality community local.”

Leasehold transactions in the North West were sparse in 2017 due to the availability of nil premium lettings. Premiums achieved were generally low due to the limited demand.

But where there was a good quality outlet being sold with the benefit of accounts, not over-rented and generally in good repair there was demand. By way of example, the Old Farm House Ulverston sold off a guide premium of £135,000.

“During 2018 we expect these trends to continue; the availability of bottom end cheap freeholds will continue to reduce increasing sale prices, selected freehold freehouses will continue to transact at reasonable levels and leasehold premiums will generally be hard to achieve,” added Sutcliffe.

“With the continuing availability of relatively cheap finance, purchasers with cash deposits should be able to acquire businesses that have been established and trading with the benefit of accounts, many of which were former bottom end pub co disposals.

“With the reduction in the total numbers of pubs, it has meant those that remain have a stronger customer base, are generally more viable, better invested in and set for a more stable future.”

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