Corporates own more than 3,000 square metres of land

Michael Lloyd

October 11, 2018

Corporate bodies own more than 3,000 square metres of land for every household in England and Wales, analysis by Search Acumen has found.

Land ownership by domestic corporate and commercial entities amounts to 3,106 square metres (m²) – equivalent to three five-a-side football pitches or 12 tennis courts.

The South East is home to the largest domestic corporate and commercial land mass at 2.25m acres – a fifth (19%) of all such land across England and Wales.

Andrew Lloyd, managing director of Search Acumen, said: “Increasing access to property data is dramatically improving our understanding of land ownership across the country.

“The insights it reveals can have important implications and benefits for planning and development in both residential and commercial markets on a local level, from housing to infrastructure projects.

“While the South East holds the lion’s share of domestic corporate and commercially owned land, the importance of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and ‘Midlands Engine’ is clearly visible in the major land holdings by business interests in these areas.

“Further south, as the London property market continues to struggle to meet demand, there is likely to be ongoing pressure on its landowners to find more space for new housing as well as commercial developments.”

The South East has over 676,000 more acres of corporate and commercial land than the next most prominent region (the North East, with 1.57m acres), and more than 10 times the amount held in Greater London (203,645 acres).

The North East has the highest concentration of domestic corporate/commercial land with the South East, North East, East Midlands and London all shown to have above-average percentages of land under domestic corporate and commercial ownership.

Each of these regions also has a higher share of corporate/commercial land than of total land across England and Wales.

From Search Acumen’s analysis, the North East emerges with the biggest concentration of such land, both compared to the size of the region and to its resident population.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of all land in the North East is owned by domestic corporate or commercial interests: more than twice the average for England and Wales (31%).

Wales has the next largest amount of corporate and commercially owned land per household (5,870m²), followed by the East Midlands (3,544m²).

Greater London ranks lowest by this measure, with domestic corporate and commercial entities owning just 286m² per household. At 94m² per person, this still equals the size of the average home sold across England and Wales (90m²).

Limited companies and PLCs are most established in the East Midlands; local authorities hold 40% of corporate and commercial land in Greater London.

Lloyd added: “The drive towards data access and the digitisation of the property market will also revolutionise how everyone involved – from developers to estate agents to law firms to buyers and sellers themselves – understands and manages the transaction process.

“The government has joined consumers in calling for a more streamlined experience that relieves the age-old pain points in buying and selling property.

“Data and technology can now equip property and legal professionals with real-time insights to advise their clients and inform buying decisions – turning what might once have been dismissed as science fiction into a working reality.

“Access to this kind of data is the latest sign of a sea-change that heralds an exciting and innovative future, where the mechanics of the property market are no longer held back by the limits of thinking and technology from yester-year.”

Findings from HM Land Registry data covering nearly 500,000 registrations and over 11.5 million acres of land, combined with population data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed nearly a third (31%) of England and Wales is held by domestic corporate and commercial owners.

These include limited companies and PLCs; corporate bodies; local authorities; county councils; industrial and provident societies; unlimited companies; registered society companies; and housing associations or societies.

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