Foreign investor interest in UK property slows

Thu, 18 Feb 2016 | COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

New research suggests that overseas investor interest in commercial property for sale in the UK is on the slide, with growth recorded at its slowest rate in more than two years.

In its quarterly UK Commercial Market Survey, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that buyer interest continued to rise in each sector, but noted that growth is now at its slowest rate since Q3 of 2013.

MarketWatch attributes the slowdown in commercial real-estate to weak oil prices and volatile stock markets. It’s a claim backed up by City AM, which also suggests that the slowdown in growth is a sure sign that changes to stamp duty tax is taking its toll.

Nevertheless, properties for sale remain in short supply, so values are still anticipated to rise across the UK over the next 12 months, fuelled by prime-location offices and industrial property.

However, the RICS said respondents from central London have scaled back their expectations, with around 81 per cent warning that the central London real-estate market is still overpriced.

This contrasts only slightly with views of the UK property market as a whole, where some 85 per cent of respondents said prices were either at or below fair value.

Simon Rubinsohn, the Chief Economist at RICS, commented: “For the time being the real estate sector seems largely insulated from the turmoil affecting financial markets. Indeed, the prospect of a ‘low for longer’ interest rate environment provides further comfort for those parts of the property market where values are looking a little stretched and arguably more vulnerable to a material shift in monetary policy.”

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