Brexit vote doesn’t slow booming commercial property market

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Sep 25, 2017
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Confidence about the commercial property sector has doubled since the EU referendum

Toby Melville/Reuters

Britain’s commercial property prospects have improved since significantly since the country voted to leave the EU, a City of London law firm has found.

Nearly 30 per cent of professionals in the sector describe themselves as optimistic about the market’s prospects — nearly double the percentage who took that view immediately before the referendum last year.

Looking at the market from the other end of the prism, 63 per cent of property specialists were pessimistic before the referendum vote, compared with just 23 per cent now.

Nonetheless, 70 per cent of those surveyed labelled London commercial property as “overpriced”, but said the market remained buoyant because of international investors. Capital from Asia was seen as the biggest boost to the London market.

“Optimism about the commercial real estate market remains subdued but the level of pessimism has fallen dramatically,” said Ciaran Carvalho, a partner at CMS UK, the Square Mile firm that commissioned the survey of 350 real estate investors, developers and agents who control combined assets of more than £400 billion.

Carvalho said that despite wider uncertainty around Brexit, “investors have recovered from the initial shock of the Leave vote and have started to look to the future with greater confidence”.

The researchers pointed out that the commercial property market in the capital continued to “heat up notwithstanding Brexit”. 

Carvalho said that there had not been a “price correction that many domestic investors had hoped for. Transaction volumes in London have been steady over the past year with a string of high profile acquisitions and no sign yet of the exodus from the City that many predicted”.

Dublin was the most appealing city for investors outside apart from London. Coming after the Irish capital were Frankfurt, Berlin and Paris.

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