One of Workman’s core strengths is its people – the teams really are our biggest assets and it’s our people who go the extra mile for clients.
So we thought it was about time we introduced some of our team members. We’ve grabbed five minutes from Richard Hart’s day to find out what he’s up to, what keeps him awake (training for a Mont Blanc climb apparently) and what advice he has for budding Property Managers…
A Property Management Partner with a varied UK client portfolio, Richard is also responsible for the strategic development of Workman’s partnership with Treureal in Frankfurt. The unique partnership enables Workman and Treureal to provide services to clients in both the UK and Germany.
An interview with…….
Name: Richard Hart
Position: Partner, Property Management
Core sector: Commercial property
Time with company: 10 years in February 2017
Hobbies: Rugby, a bit of CrossFit and climbing mountains - starting with Mont Blanc on the 24th June this year.
Q> What are the biggest challenges you’ve seen the property market overcome?
I started my career in property in early 2007 when the property market was booming; by late 2007 the global credit crunch had struck and the crash was dramatic. Several important sources of funds disappeared overnight together with a drop in investor confidence that caused capital values to fall. The descent into recession also caused occupier demand to contract, driving up vacancy rates and forcing down rents.
Our biggest challenge was rent collection and ensuring that our clients continued to receive income from their investments.
Q> What is your view on the mood among investors (domestic and international) at the moment?
The mood amongst investors remains positive. The UK’s economic fundamentals remain strong and as a result there is a huge appetite, particularly from overseas investors from the US and Asia, in property such as long-let City offices, index-linked warehouses and ‘alternative’ asset classes, such as student accommodation.
Q> What are the key challenges to overcome in 2017, and opportunities arising from these?
Political uncertainty is one of the key issues, but it will not be the only factor. A weaker pound means inflation becomes a more prominent risk. This will lead to strong demand for properties with long-term secure income such as pubs, restaurants, hotels, car showrooms and primary healthcare. Donald Trump’s anticipated fiscal policy could drive economic growth in the US which will benefit European real estate markets, particularly those that trade with the US - such as the UK and Germany. We should also keep an eye on China’s slumping market which could provide a challenge to the health of the UK Economy.
Q> If you weren’t in Property Management, what would you be doing now?
I’d like to say I would be a Doctor or an Astronaut but I am not smart enough so I would probably be a Sports Coach. That would be the greatest job in the world for me; I would love that.
Q> Any words of wisdom for today’s budding property managers?
In a flat market property managers must think commercially about how they can assist their investors in improving the performance of their current assets.