Steady six months for property sector

STEADY rather than spectacular transactional activity has typified the property market in the first half of 2012, according to Christie & Co.

Publishing its first seasonal Business Outlook report, the property agent said the ongoing crisis in the Eurozone and double-dip recession in the UK had undermined the commercial property sector in the last six months.
But it said there are “encouraging” signs that the market will improve, buoyed by indications of a possible return to debt funding.
Its positive assessment was informed by a “strong start” to 2012 in terms of the number of transactions, valuation and advisory projects it had undertaken.
Describing the market for pub transactions in the last six months as “lively”, bolstered by moves by some of the major pubcos to refresh their estates, Christie & Co said the appetite for acquisitions had kept pace with a “rush” of disposals.
It reported a 23.5% increase in completed pub deals in the year to date, compared to the same period in 2011.
In the restaurant sector, the agent said there is also grounds for optimism – despite a rise in the number of insolvencies in the sector in the last quarter of 2011.
And it reported “reasonable” transactional activity in the hotel sector in the first half of 2012.
Simon Hughes, Christie & Co’s UK managing director, said there are reasons to be optimistic.
“While transactional activity has been of the steady variety, we are buoyed somewhat by indications of a possible return of debt funding,” he said.
“One thing that is clear is that the market is still functioning as operators have learned to adapt to what is a ‘new normal’.”