When you read this I will be presenting a paper at the 10th Annual International Conference on the Real Estate Market in Croatia.
My role is to set out the best examples of regeneration development schemes and showcase the North East. What a pleasure it is to be able to tell a story of success. Yet in the North East I have merely heard a whisper of that success.
Part of achieving successful regeneration, in addition to economic forecasting and the hard work in delivery, is to tell people about those successes. Have we forgotten the maxim “success breeds success”? Practical examples abound, in my opinion the best being the Quayside, at Newcastle and Gateshead.
For anyone involve in the East Quayside development in the early years there was a concern about the paucity of development on the south bank and the need for strong linkage with the remainder of Newcastle city centre. But the addition of the Sage Gateshead, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Millennium Bridge have added to the richness of the river gorge to make it a stunning place.
Other success is less obvious. The North East Local Enterprise Partnership announced in mid-March that more people are in work across the region today than ever before.
This is strong stuff for the North East. It means that unemployment fell by 8,000 compared to the previous quarter, giving place to the largest drop in unemployment rate in England compared to the previous quarter. The North East employment rate reached 68.2% in the quarter Nov 13-Jan 14 not that much shy of the UK average of 72.3%. This is our highest value since 2008 and an increase on the previous year.
We are simply the most productive employment group in the country! So why do we hear nothing in the media celebrating such success? We are below an unemployment rate of 10% for the first time in a long time and the figures are going in the right direction.
Part of the job of achieving economic growth and driving forward our property and construction sectors is to market our strengths and attract new people to the region as well as support the growth of new businesses.
My concern in the property market is that we need more demand to encourage the new development of factories, offices, hotels, shops and housing. Such new development will not happen unless the understanding of the decision makers – in banks, funding institutions such as pension funds and other investors – change for the better.
Well done to all who have put their shoulder to the wheel and helped to start the improvement in our local economy. Now is the time to get out and tell the markets how good their involvement in the North East will be.
Kevan Carrick is a partner at JK Property Consultants LLP, policy spokesman for RICS North East, a member of the RICS Dispute Resolution Panel and chairman of Northern Dispute Resolution