When it comes to investment and asset classes, there are none better than property especially London property.
At this moment in time there are mixed reviews and differences of opinion on how the UK property market is performing, how will Brexit effect things long term and is it still a safe investment.
If all the figures floating around are to be believed then things don’t look that bad, residential property is holding its own, property funds have recovered from the debacle following Brexit, student property is on fire right, overseas investment is still coming in (despite the Chinese pulling a large proportion of their overseas investments) and to top it all off commercial property seems like it is holding up its end of the bargain.
So when a major private equity player like Blackstone stepped in and grabbed itself a majority stake in flexible workspace provider The Office Group it was no real surprise.
This came hot on the heels of US private equity fund Caryle acquiring three properties in central London to use as flexible office space.
With other property giants like British Land also getting in on the act alongside all the institutional investors it looks like UK commercial property is the place to be.
With the stamp of approval from companies such as these, it stands to reason that this has paved the way for other institutional investors and will see a steady flow of capital into the sector. If this is going to be the case, the serviced office sector needs a uniformed valuation approach accepted by the market for it to emerge as an asset class in its own right.
2017 has been a good year for UK commercial property, seeing as much as 5 billion GBP changing hands in property deals in the first quarter alone.
Retail investors, having withdrawn £1bn from property funds last year, returned to the market in the first quarter, recording a modest £52m in net retail sales.
The serviced office sector has seen sustained growth of 11% year on year for the past two years.
London beat the UK average when it came to demand for flexible working space, growing at 25% annually in recent years.
As it stands there is no consistent valuation method that has been accepted across the industry
A recent independent report by Capital Economics and Nottingham Trent University, estimated that the serviced office sector is currently worth about £16bn and forecast that the market value could rise to between £62bn and £120bn by 2025.
OSiT (Office Space In Town) is working with the RICS in the UK to develop a valuation approach that could be applied to serviced office sectors across Europe.
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