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30 August 2016 | Childcare & Education

Midlands' nursery sales boosted by availability of funding

Christie & Co, the specialist business property adviser, has revealed an increase in the number of people looking to purchase childrens’ day nurseries in the Midlands during 2016, partly due to an increased willingness of banks to lend to potential buyers.

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Christie & Co has released figures showing that it currently has over 4,500 potential buyers actively seeking a nursery business in the UK. The Midlands is an attractive consideration for many, offering access to the large, workforce-heavy conurbations of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Walsall as well as smaller towns such as Sutton Coldfield, Solihull and Stourbridge which offer a different kind of nursery setting which often appeal to “lifestyle” operators in affluent areas.

Tamara Skipworth, Business Agent in Christie & Co’s Birmingham office explains, “Throughout 2016, we’ve seen that confidence in the Midlands childcare sector has been high, with a constant flow of deals taking place, and a large number of potential buyers being keen to make purchases –we are seeing that both independent operators and smaller group/corporate providers have been expanding their existing provisions making this an exciting time for the childcare sector as a whole by them investing in the care of our most precious assets.

“On a national level, we have been selling, on average, one nursery per week, so far in 2016, with an ever-increasing demand from potential buyers looking to purchase nursery settings in the Midlands, although there is a lack of stock available for those who have expressed interest.

“We regularly speak with bank representatives, and they tell us that although there is a perception that bank funding is not available, the truth is that they are increasingly keen to lend to potential nursery buyers.”
Data from Christie & Co also showed an increase in the number of operators considering the purchase of vacant premises, obtaining the relevant consents and then converting the units into day nursery settings.

Tamara continued, “This behaviour is being seen across all types of buyers, from first time buyers to existing group operators. As an example, we are currently selling the iconic former Coach House building in Castle Bromwich, which is currently vacant, but has permissions in place to convert it specifically to a day nursery for up to 150 children.

“Christie & Co is due to host an open day on September 16th, and we have already received a number of enquiries about the day from potential buyers who see an opportunity to take on a blank canvas. With such a prominent building as a childrens’ day nursery, this could be a real trophy asset and an operator could create a spectacular childcare environment in this highly desirable corner plot position, especially now that banks have confirmed a willingness to lend.”