…but the appetite is still there
With the (perhaps not so solid?) deadline of March 29 approaching and the UK’s exit from the European Union there remains much speculation as to the likely impact on the UK commercial property market.
Here at Workman, an exceptionally busy 2018 has seen a marked increase in management opportunities with international investors, either through the acquisition of existing assets under management or through invitations to tender for new instructions.
My experience of meeting clients and investors on recent trips to Asia has shown that their appetite for investing in UK real estate shows no signs of diminishing.
Although some are clearly biding their time to find the right opportunity in 2019, the enthusiasm and interest shown when discussing the UK market are clear to see. This positive sentiment was further emphasised amongst delegates at the MIPIM Asia conference.
Specific requirements of international investors in UK property
However, what was also apparent was that while the competitiveness of their domestic markets and the continued weakness of sterling continues to offer relative value in the UK, they continue to have very specific requirements of both the asset and the services they require from their UK advisors.
Indeed, London offices clearly remain the overwhelming target sector. But international investors are equally precise about what they require from property managers. Creating a richer experience for occupiers and their staff through a customer-centric approach and delivering placemaking initiatives is a given. Meanwhile, specific ownership structures require a flexible approach to financial reporting. Accordingly, they can meet the needs of both the investor and the lender.
Experience in developing the reporting structures is critical to overseas investors. Especially those who don’t necessarily have the time or ability to meet regularly: trust is also a factor here.
We are finding our Asian Investor clients are steadily increasing their exposure to the UK market. Yes, principally London, but the braver are venturing to other UK gateway cities. As sector specialists, Workman’s approach to property management and building consultancy suits these investors. Especially as they increasingly gain a foothold in the UK market.
Julian Bates, Partner – Contact Julian