Overseas investors see opportunities in UK’s commercial property sector post Brexit

The majority of overseas investors believe that the fall in sterling since Brexit has created opportunities to invest in the UK’s commercial property sector, new research shows.

Overall some 72% believe that investment openings have increased while 27% of those surveyed said that it was an immediate opportunity, with 45% agreeing but planning to wait.

The survey, conducted amongst JLL’s global investor client base to gauge sentiment into UK commercial property post the European Union referendum result, also found that 63% of those surveyed are not planning on making any changes to their investment strategies until a new UK and EU relationship is drawn up, although a significant minority of 25% said that they would reduce allocations to the UK in the near term.

And 55% expected that while occupier demand may decrease as a result of Brexit in the short term, it will bounce back.

Investors perceive alternative sectors, such as healthcare and student housing, to be least exposed to Brexit, along with logistics and Central London retail, while the Central London office market is regarded as more exposed in the short term.

The survey found that 39% believe that London will remain the entry point for the majority of investors only if the UK has access to the single market, while 35% feel that London will remain the entry point for the majority of investors regardless of the new relationship.

‘The survey shows that some investors are very much keeping their powder dry until we they see more details of a new agreement between the UK and the EU,’ said Chris Ireland, chief executive officer of JLL UK.

‘Investment turnover has reduced in the immediate aftermath of the referendum, but we continue to see robust demand from private overseas investors in particular. Larger institutional investors are taking a more cautious approach and will need time to evaluate market sentiment,’ he pointed out.

‘This will impact liquidity for larger lot sizes in the near term, but pricing will continue to be supported by record low long term interest rates and the depreciation of the pound,’ he added.

According to Ben Burston, director in JLL’s Research team, notwithstanding short term volatility, London remains firmly in the sights of global investors looking to build their allocations to real estate over the long term, and a deep pool of equity capital stands ready to step in when signs of stability emerge.