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Booming Commercial Property Auctions ‘Defying Brexit Vote Uncertainty’

Written by: Rob Limbert on Tuesday 29/11/2016

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Activity levels are booming at the UK’s commercial property auctions despite concerns within the wider economy about the potential impact of Britain leaving the European Union.

The ‘Brexit’ referendum in June saw the British public vote in favour of pulling out of the EU and the result had immediate ramifications for the commercial property sector.

Many high profile retail investors pulled their money out of funds invested in British commercial property in the aftermath of the vote and billions of pounds worth of assets were subsequently frozen as investor confidence fell sharply.

Figures compiled by MCSI have also showed that average commercial property values in the UK fell by around 2.8 per cent during July of this year, which was the sharpest such decline recorded since 2009.

But despite these and other potential reasons for pessimism with regard to Britain’s commercial property industry, auction activity around the country is reportedly more vibrant than it has been for years.

Demand is understood to be on the rise among investors in commercial property throughout the country, at least in relation to relatively low profile investments away from prestigious developments such as new office buildings or hotels in central London.

There remains considerable uncertainty, however, about what the future holds for the UK economy, with the country having voted to leave the EU but clarity in short supply on the subject of precisely how the process of exiting the union might unfold.

Nonetheless, property auctioneers, such as ourselves, are seeing an increasing demand and rising activity levels across commercial property auctions.

A key part of the reason for these trends is understood to be the recent slump in the value of the pound, with many overseas investors apparently keen to snap up UK commercial properties at a time when currency conversion rates are unusually favourable from their perspective.

Written by: Rob Limbert on Tuesday 29/11/2016

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About the author

Robert joined Eddisons' property auctions team in 2004 as a senior surveyor and is now a Director and Auctioneer based in the Leeds office. The property auction division organises around 15 auctions a year in Leeds and Manchester and sold £30m of property at auctions in 2015. Previously, Rob worked for Ashtenne Industrial Fund and has more than 17 years’ experience in property.

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