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News & Knowledge

Brexit: Impacts on commercial property transactions for overseas investors

12th December 2016
Grant Esterhuizen, Lester Aldridge LLP

MSI's south coast UK law member Lester Aldridge takes another look at the immediate effects of the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

The immediate aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union saw numerous reports of land transactions being affected. One of which, was the collapse of the acquisition of Cannon Place by Germany’s Union Investment as well as the announcement by Barratt Development that various land-buying commitments were being put on hold. Of further concern came the news that investors had withdrawn £1.4 billion from commercial property funds.

It is clear that the vote has triggered a more cautious approach from investors amidst uncertainty over the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU with the office and retail sectors being the hardest hit, particularly in London. However, the UK remains a safe haven market with the value of commercial real estate reaching £871 billion last year, representing 10% of the UK’s net wealth and almost half the value of UK government gilts.

Whilst the downturn for office and retail has dominated the news, it is important to note that the market is not limited to those sectors. Commercial real estate also includes doctor’s surgeries, student accommodation, social housing and retirement living.

For example, the retirement living sector has been affected by the vote in those potential purchasers of retirement living units are waiting to see how market fluctuations may affect their pensions – however, the number of property viewings and instructions has remained steady and there are a potential six million older Britons who may be looking to downsize in the future.

Lester Aldridge LLP provides a full real estate service from its offices in Bournemouth, Southampton, and London. The firm advises on a wide range of commercial property matters, including portfolio management, acquisition, and investment, secured lending, acquisitions and disposals (including portfolios and pension funds). The firm’s specialist teams in healthcare and retirement living can also assist foreign investors in all stages of transactions for those sectors.

During the Brexit process, Lester Aldridge LLP is here to help overseas clients whether they are seeking advice on existing contracts or wish to acquire new interests and take advantage of the weakening sterling, which is making UK property comparatively less expensive.

About Lester Aldridge LLP - Bournemouth

Lester Aldridge is a full service law firm, advising commercial organisations and private individuals on a regional, national and international scale, from offices in Southampton and Bournemouth.

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