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Jonathan’s Market Commentary

February 5, 2010Article by Ray Withers


Further to my postings last week, I wanted to keep you all up-dated with respect to those fragmentary lose ends before the latest news hits this weekends property press…

I’ll begin with the Wheeler tribunal, hot stuff if you have any interest in Brixton PLC, now Segro PLC, or alternatively if you’re keen to know how the result will affect future tribunals. The latest goss from the tribunal is as follows: the former Brixton PLC Chief Exec will now have to bite his tongue until early April after the scheduled 3 day trial took longer than anticipated. Mr Wheeler has had to observe in silence during the initial 3 day hearing while his ex-colleagues articulated their cases against him. For those interested, allegations include the impeding of a rescue rights issue and amongst other accusations, the wringing of up to £1.88 mil from the firm.

The end of last week also saw the confirmation that GVA Grimley will be partnering with US property consultant, Cassidy Turley. In a similar move to that of DJ’s and Deloitte’s, GVA will have now a truly global reach. Other mergers and acquisitions of note include Capita Symonds’ acquisition of NB Real Estate. Certainly, mergers and acquisitions have been a running theme over the last 18 months, albeit predominately on the back of weakness, but yet will still undoubtedly play a role in shaping the property industry in the long term.

Away from this aspect of the press… latest property and market reports have been varied to say the least. Press releases from the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young’s ITEM Club have warned that the premature withdrawal of Government stimulus packages et al. will – as expected – have a profound negative affect on property markets. Indeed, the ITEM Club go further to suggest that, despite recent positive economic news, market fundamentals remain subdued, yet highlight the role of a weak pound in supporting foreign investment activity in the present market. Knight Frank and PWC on the other hand have released fairly bullish market reports stressing the potential for substantial returns given the position of property values in the current market. In order to understand to full implications I would encourage you all to check out the reports…

Other exciting snippets of industry news over the last week include the appointment of a new CEO at Cushman & Wakefield, while JLL have released strong Q4 2009 returns. Likewise, last night CBRE reported for the first time since the downturn that their expectation is that 2010 will see the return of a more typical operating environment; yet further positive news on the back of what has been a difficult 18 months.

Thanks for reading.



Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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