Despite the fact that many investors seem concerned about the potential for a Labour government after Thursday’s election there is a growing appetite for debt amongst UK commercial real estate investors. According to a report out today, more than 50% of UK commercial property loans were made on a loan to value ratio of 65% or more. This compares to a figure of 35% in the previous six-month period suggesting that demand for UK commercial real estate is still very strong.
While this demand is unlikely to reduce in the short to medium term there is some concern that the loan to value ratios, last seen just prior to the 2008 mortgage crisis, could cause problems in the future. So, why are so many UK commercial real estate investors happy to borrow on such high risk terms and why are financial operations happy to take on these arrangements?
If we take the temperature of investors in commercial property right now, we would find warm support for the sector in the UK. In a low interest rate environment, and with returns from property far outstripping bond yields, commercial real estate has returned to favour. The UK commercial property market has performed strongly in 2014, with the sector returning 14 per cent during the first nine months of this year, according to the IPD UK Monthly Property Index. Capital values have also recovered by 28 per cent from their trough, although they are still 29 per cent below their excitable 2007 peak. But will this upward trajectory for commercial property continue in 2015, and does the sector offer good prospects for investors?
The SEE region offers investment possibilities across such countries as Serbia, Croatia and Romania with the office and industrial sectors providing potentially higher returns with increased risk than the more established but increasingly competitive markets in Central and Western Europe. Although one of the major obstacles to investment market development is the limited supply of office and industrial investment grade product despite tenant demand.