Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions

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Will COVID-19 raise the importance of health and wellbeing in the commercial office sector?

As the world grapples with COVID-19, it has become apparent that many lives and sectors of the economy will be affected for many years to come. While the prediction of the nature and magnitude of the impending transformation might not be a straightforward task, the current mitigation measures being implemented globally can be conceived as a harbinger of potential long-term approaches that relevant stakeholders might consider in tackling another pandemic or indeed, other infectious diseases. With the... Read More >

Recent Articles:

How will home working affect European office demand
The spread of coronavirus has required us all to change our behaviour. One of the most significant shifts as far as property is concerned is the abrupt switch to home working by most office employees. The majority have found this a smooth, Read More >
Extending eviction bans is a gift to non-paying tenants – and a nightmare for landlords
Many landlords, tenants in house-shares and neighbours of anti-social tenants will be filled with despair at the latest news that there may be a three-month extension to the current three-month moratorium on evictions in the private rented Read More >
Global residential markets adjusting to disruption of Covid-19
Over just a few months, Covid-19 has disrupted almost every corner of the globe. In the residential market, this has led to transaction numbers drawing to a standstill in many countries as lockdown measures prevent sales. In Savills Research, we Read More >
Transaction speeds
The market players are different and the transactions are significantly more complex than 30 years ago (Originally published Summer 2018) Perhaps the long hot summer in continental Europe is not the most prudent time to review how fast Read More >
Words are as revealing in property as elsewhere
The words we choose are revealing. In an amusement park, small electrically powered cars with rubber fenders all round are driven in an enclosure. Some people call these cars “dodgems”, others call them “bumper cars”. Based on their Read More >
Planet of the Humans is not ‘dynamite’, but it deserves to bomb
There aren’t many things capable of uniting hardline climate sceptics and the sort of far-left environmental activists you might find at an Extinction Rebellion rally. However, Planet of the Humans, a new documentary by Jeff Gibbs which Read More >
Covid -19: Legal Contagion
The law has been quick to react to the current health emergency. First of course came the Coronavirus Act 2020, given Royal assent and commencing on 25 March 2020. The Act made contained multi-various provisions to deal with the pandemic in Read More >
Retail real estate after the apocalypse
There will be no reversion to the norm – much retail property will keep losing value. But the sector can be better than ever, thanks to proptech A recent conversation with a large retailer went like this: “The market is tanking, Read More >
It’s too early to sound the death knell for the British high street
An inevitable consequence of the Coronavirus will be the acceleration or magnification of existing trends – be it towards home working or the intensification of the shift from physical to online shopping. Doomsayers who have portended the high Read More >
The corona conspiracies are unhinged – but is denouncing people all that helpful?
The go-to tool for puncturing outlandish conspiracy theories is Occam’s razor, the principle that the simplest explanation for something is also the most likely to be true. For example, maybe Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne’s departure Read More >
News from the resi front line line – part 1
According to the old Sufi tale, a man and his son lived in a valley. They were happy but very poor and they wanted desperately to change this. So, feeling entrepreneurial, the man decided that he would breed horses. With money borrowed heavily Read More >
The UK has a winning hand, let’s not be bluffed out of playing it
Coronavirus, the Euro, the EU and Brexit: all are becoming inextricably intertwined. This can be seen with contagion of a separate sort threatening the EU’s – and thus the world’s – financial order, as the economic impact of Covid-19 Read More >
Letter from the Tropics: Paul Lowden
Cycling to Success As I was growing up, one of the quirky delights of the weekend was listening to Alistair Cooke’s ‘Letter from America.’ I’m sure at the time I barely understood what he was opining on but somehow the combination of Read More >
No, Capitalism Did Not Fail
The world has been pretty dire in recent weeks.  Seemingly out of the blue, the hard-earned gradual improvements that is human affairs came to a sudden chaotic stop. At times, this looked like the movies: ceased production, abandoned Read More >
Bailey goes up an inflation blind alley – but what role for BoE ‘monetary financing’?
This post argues that the new Governor of the Bank of England is wrong to address the Bank’s role in the crisis through the prism of traditional ‘price stability targeting’. Rather, the Bank’s duty and task is to support the Read More >
We’ll all be libertarians by the end of this crisis
The last few weeks has seen a great deal of ideological navel-gazing; from the end of globalism to the cancellation of capitalism, pundits are convinced this time is different, everything has changed, and once the dust settles they’ll have Read More >
A second chance for Covid-19 policy: get smarter to avoid another sudden stop
It is axiomatic of crises that things happen too quickly for decision makers to be able to plan ahead. Well they better be planning now. Desperate measures, little different to those used 102 years ago, have bought governments a second Read More >
The challenges facing property investors
It is generally perceived that as you build up your credit history, financial portfolio and investment experience, you’ll be better positioned to access and successfully receive new forms of debt. The reality, however, is far more complex. The Read More >
There is no reason the UK cannot be one of the first to recover from coronavirus recession
As I write on the 31st March, the reported number of global active cases of Covid-19 is around 786,000 with 37,500 dead. The number of dead is rising fast but still only equates to 0.0625 per cent of the 60 million deaths each year Read More >
Coronavirus, business confidence and what comes next
The Covid-19 crisis is approaching its economic peak. Most Western economies are largely closed. Stock markets have been in freefall for several weeks, and may yet test deeper lows. Companies are in shell-shocked reaction mode, scrambling to Read More >
Unstructured data is your friend
Data is either structured or unstructured. Structured data is neatly arranged in rows and columns, like a spreadsheet. Unstructured data is messy and disorganised. It shambles towards us as PDFs, Word documents, presentations, open-ended survey Read More >
A Retrospective on the Avian Flu Scare of 2005
On November 1, 2005, President George W. Bush held a press conference in which he called for draconian measures and $7.1 billion in spending to stop the spread of H5N1 Avian flu, which was then starting to cause some panic.  “The Read More >
Retail property – the next big funding gap?
In 2009 the GFC, which was responsible for severe asset value losses, resulted in a large funding gap between the debt position and the asset value. As this was essentially negative equity, fund managers were often struggling to attract either Read More >
Politics is becoming the key factor in returns on German real estate
Of course the MIPIM should have been cancelled earlier. When the decision was finally taken by Reed MIDEM, the fair organisers, large swathes of the gathering’s registered attendees had already taken the decision not to travel to Cannes for Read More >
Reflecting on the budget and coronavirus turbulence
Rishi Sunak was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 February 2020. The MP for Richmond in Yorkshire succeeded Sajid Javid, and he could not have wished for a more turbulent start to his tenure. At the beginning of the year the focus Read More >
What do the public really think about coronavirus?
A matter of weeks ago, there was only one story in town: Brexit dominated everything. Now, the same is true once again, but with all eyes focused on the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, the global pandemic has reached a level of salience Read More >
The Anatomy of the Crash of 2020
After decades of predictions, warnings, wagers, prophecies, and what must be many trillions of dollars expended upon short sales, long puts and written calls, hedges and directional bets of every sort: the long-awaited “big Kahuna” – a Read More >
Performance of the Savills Prime Index: World Cities
During 2019, the average capital value of prime residential properties across world cities remained flat, averaging an increase of 0.1%. This was down from 2.6% for 2018 and continued the slowdown in growth seen since 2016. The slowdown Read More >
The Short Term and Long-Term Effects of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) on Commercial Real Estate
No one can accurately predict how long the Coronavirus will last or when effective vaccines can be rolled out, so all we can do is speculate, based on some logic and our past experience with SARS, which seems less serious and less deadly than Read More >
Despite Recent Slowdown, Asian Capital Remains a Global Force
CBRE’s latest research into Asian outbound real estate investment has uncovered some compelling new insights into buyer behaviour and their markets and assets of choice. Firstly, Asian buyers are spending less on overseas property. Outbound Read More >
Family offices: focus shifting to higher-risk sectors
German family offices are looking to increase the proportion of their investments held in residential property to around 40% by 2025, says a new report by Catella Research. Investor focus is steadily shifting from offices to higher-risk sectors Read More >
Back of the queue? A US trade agreement is within sight
The Department for International Trade has now set out the UK government’s strategic objectives for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. After all the negativity about Brexit over the last few years, this paper is a welcome breath of Read More >
Shutting out low-skilled migrants might be popular, but that doesn’t make it a good policy
The government has released a policy statement outlining, in broad strokes, what its new points-based immigration system, due to come into effect next year, is going to look like. As anticipated, the biggest change is that freedom Read More >
German politics in disarray as Europe bids UK goodbye
The British finally left the European Union last month. Ahead, in the negotiations, there will be much blood, much gnashing of teeth, and the devil will indeed be in the details. But, for the moment at least, the mood is of relief, that there is Read More >
Gulf Real Estate Woes: Not Just a Question of Supply
The real estate market in Dubai (or for that matter, the entire Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which includes the UAE – Abu Dhabi and Dubai – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), has not been a happy place to be invested in Read More >
Watching For The “Full Employment Liquidity Trap”
Full Employment Liquidity Trap" may sound like an oxymoron, but this phenomenon does exist in Japan, Europe and in many other places. For example, both Japan and Germany have been stuck in a liquidity trap, where interest rates have fallen Read More >
The Law Commission has now (on 09 January 2020) published its much awaited paper on reform of our system of leasehold enfranchisement, the process by which tenants who own their property on a long lease can extend the lease or purchase the Read More >
What does ‘friction’ in trade really mean for the UK?
It seems like every few weeks, a British minister says in no uncertain terms that there will be friction in the customs and administrative procedures between the UK and EU. Such pronouncements are followed by howls of anguish from the business Read More >
Are falling real wages the future for us all?
The issue of wage growth is something we have found ourselves returning to time and time again. The cause is in one sense very simple there has been a lack of it. There are two components of this of which the first is just simply low numbers but Read More >
Technology, People, Retail & The Future of Shopping Centres
5 decades of Moore’s Law (which states that computing power doubles every 18 months) means that in the 2020’s we will experience change at a pace that makes the current decade seem positively sluggish. A Trinity of Transformation, involving Read More >
Disasters keep coming: letter from New Zealand
It's the time of year when my loyal half dozen readers expect a missive from the far end of the world. Usually a disaster, natural or man made accompanies my travels and this time is no exception.  The ghastly 'White Island' horror Read More >
Coronavirus Highlights Xi’s Vulnerability
The coronavirus epidemic may be centre-stage for epidemiologists and other health professionals right now, but it is unquestionably also a political economy event in China with important repercussions for the rest of the world and financial Read More >
Why aren’t approved inspectors liable?
The inspectors who certify new UK homes as safely built aren’t apparently liable if the homes are defective. This can’t be right. How safe are our homes? This is a question with a tragic resonance these days as the public inquiry into the Read More >
Latin lessons: what the Romans can tell us about our age
Modern authors who decide to liken Donald Trump to Nero or Brexit to the fall of the Roman Republic sometimes incline me to reach for what I’ve come to call my “Bad Classics Klaxon”. Often, all they’re doing is showing how clever they Read More >
Where are the forests when we need them?
Farming uses too much land, thanks to wasteful practices and inappropriate incentives. Let’s plant trees and save the world instead Woodland has a most remarkable effect on the climate, both at the extremely local level and as an essential Read More >
What’s really behind Oxfam’s big inequality report?
It’s Davos time, which also means it’s time for Oxfam’s annual whine about wealth inequality and how ghastly everything is. It would help more than just a little bit if the organisation had bothered to understand the world around Read More >
What The Next Generation Of Investors Means For Financial Advisers
The inter-generational transfer of wealth is a trend that has taken many analysts by surprise. With the asset-rich, baby-boomer generation slowly approaching retirement, their children and grandchildren are set to inherit an unprecedented amount Read More >
Why property investment is like a game of darts
A player’s three-dart shooting average offers a clear metric that can be analysed to reveal the best strategic options – investment management has parallels Statistically, if a player’s three-dart shooting average is less than 80, Read More >
Tackling the UK housing crisis: is supply the answer? – A summary
UK average house prices have risen by over 160% in real terms since the middle of 1996. Home ownership remains around its lowest level for a generation. Among political leaders, policymakers and commentators there is a broad consensus that these Read More >
A brand-new way to look at UK estate agents
A different model is poised to take over the British market, with brands that are personal rather than corporate If you are looking to buy, sell, let or rent, how important is the brand or reputation of the agent you deal with? And is that Read More >
Don’t get trampled by a grey rhino
Hyped-up, high-profile risks can distract from more serious but mundane threats to business Social media and the 24-hour news cycle are putting businesses at risk as hype-up threats distracts from more genuine ones. Business risk assessment Read More >
The Gloomy Outlook for Returns & Pension Funds This research note was originally published by the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor blog. Here is the link. SUMMARY The outlook for US equity and bond returns is low based on Read More >
If we can’t have lower taxes, let’s at least have fewer
It wasn’t just Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party that lost the 2019 election – fiscal conservatism and proponents for small government took a hammering too. All the main parties promised increases in government expenditure, and most were Read More >
A good office building keeps the workers happy
The real estate industry has a lot to learn about human behaviour and happiness: dissatisfied occupiers won’t stick around.  Richard Thaler, the behavioural economist, received long overdue recognition when he won the Nobel Prize for Read More >
Short-term thinking in the home rental market
Banning Airbnb investor units, as Boston has done, reduces market values by up to 40% – but should other social goals dominate? Recently Boston decided to ban Airbnb-type rental units, suggesting that the growth of such short-term rentals Read More >
The last hour is now what matters in logistics
It was always about the last mile, but tech is shifting the emphasis to time. So what makes an optimal last-hour location? Earlier this year I was invited by the International Council of Shopping Centers to give a talk on the outlook for Read More >
US and UK stock market valuations are now poles apart
Yes, the S&P 500 has soared ahead of the FTSE All-Share, but beware its overstretched valuation ratios. It’s always best to get off the bull before it turns into a bear For a long time, the US and UK stock markets were more or less Read More >
We need to bring Russia back into the fold
As the global commodity price cycle begins its downward swing, Russia is set to be hit hard, forcing Putin to reassert himself – unless the West acts first The impending worldwide recession will act as the final stage in the decline of Read More >
Life on the level
If the property boom-bust cycle has permanently come to an end, what will that mean for investors? I have previously written about the impact of low interest rates and quantitative easing on the Japanese economy in the 1990s and 2000s and how Read More >
What now after Draghi, WeWork and Thomas Cook?
Could this year be an inflection point for three key structural trends in the UK and European real estate markets? The evolution of the European real estate markets is increasingly being influenced by structural trends, in particular the Read More >
Can Brussels help fix the Regional Retail Trap?
Policies, events and innovations intend to deliver predefined goals or solve existing problems, but unintended consequences often determine the outcome. Hence traders thrive on spotting unintended consequences and taking positions before the Read More >
A REIT little firestorm
With so much capital chasing anything with a decent yield and without excessive risk, property remains attractive – but are these shares as cheap as they look? The property sector has enjoyed a 10% rally over the last few months, advancing Read More >
What is driving the regional UK office market?
The rise of co-working and northshoring, along with increased infrastructure investment, are benefiting regional cities at the expense of London While continental European real estate has become ever more expensive since the Brexit Read More >
With a General Election looming, the Labour Party has once again raised the prospect of re-nationalising our railway network. Good idea or not so good?
Anyone under the age of 40 will have little experience of the nationalised British Rail and few people know which parts are now in private hands and which parts are either completely nationalised or are tightly controlled by the Department of Read More >
Smart Buildings
I just read a piece in Urban Land Magazinetitled "ULX: Smart Buildings." Smart in the UK typically means fashionable and expensive.  In the US, it's clever or intelligent. It would be great if a building met both Read More >
Make or break
Risk sentiment has improved further during the last month as the heightened recession fears that built over the summer are gradually getting priced out. Global equities have risen back towards their January 2018 highs, led by the US market; and Read More >
The London Mayoral Contest: the first post-Brexit election?
Imagine a British election that’s not – first and foremost – about Brexit. Given the one we’re having right now it’s tough, isn’t it? There are younger voters, now in their early 20s, who have gone to the ballot box a handful of Read More >
Christine Lagarde trolls Germany and asks for more fiscal stimulus
This morning has seen the first set piece speech of the new ECB President Christine Lagarde and it would not be her without some empty rhetoric. The idea of European renewal may, for some, elicit feelings of cynicism. We have heard it many Read More >
Why and how statistics matter to investors
This is the first in a series of articles covering some of the predominant issues regarding financial and economic statistics. This post seeks to introduce why and how statistics matter for investors.  The Why is simple: Read More >
How Much of a Threat is Build to Let to the SME Landlord?
At face value, high quality purpose-built units – complete with gyms, communal areas and concierge services – would appear to offer what the rental market has long demanded. Whilst still in its relative infancy, build to let and co-living Read More >
Was that the bond market tantrum of 2019?
Sometimes economics and financial markets provoke a wry smile. This morning has already provided an example of that as Germany’s statistics office tells us Germany exported 4.6% more in September than a year ago, so booming. Yes the same Read More >
The Pains and Benefits of Transforming to a More Productive Society
Introduction The world can be viewed through the lens of economics and real estate markets in that whatever we do requires space, and whenever processes change it has both positive and negative impacts.  You show me a more Read More >
What are the economic consequences of Brexit?
After all the uncertainty in the UK we will have some sort of progress in that we will have an election putting the voters at least briefly in charge. Whether that will solve things is open to debate but let us take a look at what the economic Read More >
Where next for UK house prices?
Today has brought a flurry of information on the state of play in the UK housing market as we wait to see how the slow sown in house price growth is developing. We start by noting that according to the official series things may have changed a Read More >
The UK has opened the fiscal taps and started a fiscal stimulus
The credit crunch era has seen some extraordinary changes in the establishment view of monetary policy. The latest is this from the Peterson Institute from earlier this month. On October 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government raised the Read More >
The housing crisis is a symptom of our dysfunctional government
Britain’s housing crisis is unique in the Western world: in the 1970s, the average buyer needed under three gross annual salaries for a house. Now they need over seven. In my recent book Raising the Roof, co-authored with Jacob Read More >
Restrictive Covenants Need Not Rob Developers of Profit
A recent legal case proves such restrictions on land are not necessarily an obstacle to development Restrictive covenants on land can rob it of development value, burdening a potential site with limits on use and effectively handing control Read More >
Why inflation is bad for so many people
Today I wish to address what is one of the major economic swizzles of our time. That is the drip drip feed by the establishment and a largely supine media that inflation is good for us, and in particular an inflation rate of 2% per annum is a Read More >
How Brexit was the making of Amsterdam
Short on London, long on Europe was the traders’ cry after the referendum – but things didn’t quite work out as expected Three years on from the referendum, we still cannot fully apprehend the effect of Brexit on the European real Read More >
Capitalist innovation will do more for the planet than any protest
Even if your commute has been undisturbed by their antics, most of us will have heard about recent antics of Extinction Rebellion (XR). Indeed, since Monday of this week, several thousand “uncooperative crusties” – as the Prime Minister Read More >
What next for WeWork?
In September, parent company WeCo pulled its IPO and announced that Adam Neumann would step down as CEO, as the conflict of interest between Adam Neumann’s funding requirements and Softbank’s valuation concerns came to an end. Here, we look Read More >
Undermining private sector innovation puts lives at risk
For the first time ever, September’s UN General Assembly Meeting included a high-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC), a broad initiative to promote policies that lead to better health outcomes. The unprecedented advances in Read More >
Why is the collection of data seen as a successful outcome?
My personal collecting habits go back to the early iteration of Panini football sticker albums. Before the days of internet and easy access to ‘missing’ stickers, the endless frustration of yet another Glen Hoddle or my fifth Peter Shilton Read More >
Making sense of negative interest rates
Of course they’re inherently illogical, but let’s unpack what they mean in practice for the wider investment market How many economists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Twenty-three: one to screw it in, and 22 to hold everything else Read More >
PCL property performing well despite twists and turns of Brexit
On 28 August, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he––with the Queen’s approval––was going to suspend Parliament between 10 September and 14 October. The decision has been seen by many as an attempt to move the UK one step Read More >
Who owns the sky?
It’s not such a crazy question. For the last hundred years or so – as long as aircraft have been an important part of economies – governments have claimed ownership of the airspace above our heads. Individuals or corporations may own land Read More >
Why Iran is risking war with Saudi Arabia and America
Although the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant, the audacious operation looks like the handiwork of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is Read More >
“Promises Made! Promises Kept?” Links between Trump’s Economic Policy and County Level Unemployment Rates
In the 34 months since November of 2016 the U.S. unemployment rate has declined -1.2% through August 2019. Across the counties that President Trump campaigned in, the average decline has been roughly -1% (through July 2019).  In Read More >
Working out WeWork
As We Co, the parent of flexible office provider WeWork, prepares to now IPO later this year after postponing its September launch, many in the property industry are still struggling to define WeWork: is it a competitor, a client or just a Read More >
We all know the classic four categories on the risk-return graph, Core, Core+, Value-Add and Opportunistic. These investment strategies are widely used, but are also arbitrary as investors define Core, Core+, Value-Add and Opportunistic Read More >
Don’t forget the role capitalism played in winning World War II
Today marks 80 years since the UK and France declared war on Nazi Germany following the invasion of Poland. Much is rightly said about the heroism of our armed forces, and the doughty attitude of civilians.  Perhaps less heralded is the way Read More >
Can Modular Homes Solve the UK Housing Crisis?
With shorter construction times and cheaper manufacturing costs, are prefabricated homes set to become a trend that developers and investors alike should pay attention? The REalyst investigates whether modular homes are indeed becoming valuable Read More >
Phoenix from the Flames
As the global economy slips into the deep pit of despair, many market commentators are crying out for global central banks to wake-up and save the day. While many are intensely commenting on policymakers in Washington and the Global Trade Read More >
CBRE buying Telford Homes: a symbol of change
At Property Overview I teach people the basics of property, and how the industry, like any other, is in a constant state of change. In my consultancy work this topic is even more prominent, and I would say urgent.  Companies, CBRE Read More >
How Does WeWork Make Money
How did WeWork get such a high valuation if its making such big losses?  After some debate in the office and lots of commentary from various talking heads about the subject, I sat down and read the company’s S-1 filing and kept reading Read More >
Peeping Toms at the Tate Modern
Those who live in glass houses may not have enjoyed a recent verdict. But legal protection for privacy has not been weakened – quite the reverse. You will probably have read in the newspapers about the flat owners in the all-glass Neo Read More >
Hong Kong may be destined to become another Shanghai
Having spent the first part of July in Shanghai and Hong Kong the differences between these Chinese mega cities are stark. Shanghai with 23 million people dwarfs Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million. It is also less crowded and Read More >
Is the nature of CVAs changing?
Recent retail woes have been well-documented. The resulting retail restructurings and administrations have also hit headlines with increasingly frequency.  We know the number of retail restructurings has spiked, but are they changing in Read More >
Why are we modern?
“In general, life is better than it ever has been,” P. J. O’Rourke wrote in All the Trouble in the World. “If you think that, in the past, there was some golden age of pleasure and plenty to which you would, if you were able, Read More >
50 years on, who really still believes people the moon landings were faked?
Fifty years ago today, Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins took off from Cape Canaveral in a Saturn V rocket as tall as a football pitch is long. Five days later they stepped out onto the surface of the moon, the first Read More >
Why less council housing can help tackle unemployment
In some quarters the proposed solution to Britain’s housing problems is lots and lots more social – ie below market rate – housing. For the more extreme, this should mean local councils building, owning and renting out the dwellings. As Read More >
Rental Demographics are Changing in the Suburbs
We’ve sized up the opportunity in the suburbs and analysed the resurgence of the commuter town.  In this article, the REalyst weighs in on the facts and figures, looking at how suburban demographics are shaping the rental market on Read More >
Edison Explains: Liquidity
‘Liquidity is an important metric to consider in the context of identifying a financially secure investment and then being able to trade that investment easily.’ Russell Pointon, director, consumer and media. What is liquidity? There Read More >
The Art of Communal Living in Property Development
With 10,000 BTR homes already in London and a further 9,500 under construction, it is no surprise that the rental market is decidedly focused on communal living. As such, property developers need to play the long game: no longer solely Read More >
Jumping through hoops
Why high-net-worth individuals are struggling to secure mortgages   It might seem counterintuitive to some, but high-net-worth (HNW) individuals often face difficulties when securing mortgages. In February 2019, Butterfield Read More >
The changing face of retail
With so much negativity around CVAs, are they the only answer?  Increased footfall, falling unemployment and rising wages meant that the stars should have aligned for the UK’s high street retailers in the first quarter of 2019. Yet Read More >
The Resurgence of Commuter Towns
The number of people leaving the capital hit a 10-year high in 2017, with 292,000 people deciding that they had enough of the Big Smoke. With much talk of London affordability and sizing-up opportunities in the suburbs, are we seeing a Read More >
A one-size-fits-all Europe is doomed to failure
Fifteen years ago this month, on May 1, 2004, the European Union welcomed eight new member states. The “Eastern Enlargement” saw Eastern European and Baltic countries join the EU. Since then, other countries further to the east like Romania Read More >
If life is getting worse then why are we so happy?
Last year I was asked to give a presentation on the challenges facing Western policymakers. We ranged widely across a depressing set of subjects, from stagnating incomes to inequality, public sector austerity, job insecurity and the rise of Read More >
Uber’s IPO demonstrates the genius of capitalism
On Friday, Uber will aim to raise as much as $9 billion on the New York Stock Exchange in an IPO that could give the ride-hailing company a market valuation of nearly $90 billion. What is expected to be the biggest US IPO of the year so far has Read More >
Seasonality: Is There a Pattern in Property Development?
Summary:  Last summer saw 44,740 ‘new builds’ constructed in the UK - a 12% increase to the previous quarter. But, does this indicate a seasonal pattern in the property market? The REalyst digs deeper into the data to determine the Read More >
Things just got a lot more difficult for commercial landlords
A recent Supreme Court case in the UK could have a serious impact on some long-term investors’ plans Not every legal case is relevant to property investors, but be assured this column is devoted to showcasing only those recent decisions Read More >
Why we cannot afford to ignore the care crisis
One of the great success stories of the modern world has been the sustained increases in life expectancy we have seen in recent decades, and which are projected to continue for the foreseeable future. The fact we are living longer, healthier Read More >
How to sell the free market to millennials
The millennial generation are ever so different, apparently.  As they grow up, we’re told, an intergenerational shift is underway. Those under the age of 35 not only think differently to the rest of us, claimed Matthew d’Ancona Read More >
Stable families and home ownership are the key to reducing poverty
The Centre for Social Justice recently released an in-depth survey of people across Britain that found family breakdown was one of the most significant determinants of poor life outcomes. When someone experiences trauma in childhood, linked Read More >
Cash flow
‘Cash is king and the cash flow statement is arguably the most important of a company’s three main financial statements. We explain the relationship between profit and cash and how cash management is vital to keep companies in business.’ Read More >
Waste to energy
‘China’s decision to stop importing waste materials from Europe for recycling has brought the problem of dealing with refuse into sharp focus. Waste-to-energy technology offers the potential for not only disposing of rubbish but using it to Read More >
Why central bankers don’t understand inflation
For the last decade, central banks in developed countries have been pursuing policies designed to raise inflation. Quantitative easing, cheap funding for banks, tinkering with yield curves, low and negative interest rates – all aim to raise Read More >
Yield curve a US recession signal? Maybe not this time
Recent declines in US government bond yields have led to a flood of articles discussing the likelihood of a US recession over the next 12-18 months. This is understandable, first given the relatively strong correlation between yield curve Read More >
What could Brexit Britain learn from Venice?
Today is Venice’s birthday. According to legend, the city was founded exactly 1,598 years ago today. A small, independent trading state beyond the reach of any overbearing European power, it flourished for many centuries. Young Venice not Read More >
The crowdfunded contraption cleaning up the world’s oceans
It’s estimated that as many as 12 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year.The consequences are grave: such volumes of litter are destroying life, both animal and plant.  As a business that’s Read More >
Keeping up with the Taxes: Investing Efficiently in Changing Times
While the UK’s impending exit from the European Union may have dampened demand in UK property, particularly in the City, the same is not uniformly true elsewhere, and this year is nevertheless set to be strong if European investors are Read More >
Forget the romantic images, rural life in the past was a battle for survival
In my last two pieces for CapX, I sketched out the miserable existence of our ancestors in the pre-industrial era. My focus was on life in the city, a task made easier by the fact that urban folk, thanks to higher literacy rates, have left us Read More >
Introduction Amidst a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, 2018 was a turbulent year for UK capital markets. BDO’s six-monthly analysis of the UK’s key markets (click here to view the AIM insights and the Main Market Read More >
In defence of outsourcing
The outsourcing firm Capita doesn’t seem to have done very well in its Army recruitment contract, according to a scathing report from MPs. This is actually one of the advantages of outsourcing to a private sector organisation, being Read More >
3 Things I learnt about the UK Housing Market this week.
Housebuilders Make Money This week saw three of the biggest housebuilders in the UK deliver increases in the number of homes they built and the profits they made. Bovis sold 3,759 homes; Taylor Wimpey 15,275 homes and Persimmon 16,449 homes Read More >
Mediation – achieving the impossible!
There is much to commend mediation as a process – speed, costs savings, privacy.  But there are two other important benefits.  The first, is the opportunity to design a process that encourages constructive dialogue in Read More >
Chopping down the Magic Money Tree: The pitfalls of Modern Monetary Theory
Austerity, welfare, pensions – all our fiscal dilemmas could be easily solved by printing money. This is the conclusion of a fashionable strand of macroeconomics called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) — but does it stand up to scrutiny? At Read More >
The Multibillion-Dollar Retail Logistics Challenge: Handling Online Returns
This past holiday season, as with many other times of the year, the difference between making or losing money online came down to one thing for many retailers: How effectively and efficiently they handle returns of merchandise. Returns are as Read More >
How overseas investment impacts developers and the UK Property Market
Summary: Will overseas investment into UK property continue at the same rate as recent years as we career towards the Brexit deadline? Our REalyst analyses the future of overseas investment into UK properties and weighs up the Read More >
The V in Volatility
The equity rally is likely just the start of a volatile adjustment to a new fundamental reality. “Investors who sit out now could miss a chunk of this year’s returns.” Those were the last words that I wrote in one of our CIO Weekly Read More >
Supermarket Income REIT – Visible income and growth potential
Supermarket Income REIT (SUPR) reported strong H119 earnings growth on the back of its growing portfolio, contracted RPI-linked rental uplifts, and well-controlled costs. The Q219 DPS was increased by 3.2%, in line with RPI. Rental growth also Read More >
London, UK: Strengthening ties between capital and country
As the political, financial and cultural centre of the United Kingdom, is London too dominant? This report explores how London's relationship with the UK has changed and sets out new thinking on how the capital can better connect with its nation Read More >
The German real estate market
The availability of German real estate has fallen, illustrated by a 5.3% year-on-year decline in 2017 residential permits. Since then, there has been little to no movement, with the German Federal Statistical Office reporting a 0.5% increase in Read More >
Ghana’s Housing Deficit: An Opportunity for Foreign Direct Investment Ghana is top of the list of the fastest growing economies in Africa
Ghana’s strong economic growth forecast Ghana is considered one of Africa’s leading lights due to its wealth of natural resources, democratic political system and dynamic economy. Successive peaceful political transitions over decades have Read More >
Price to earnings ratio
“With all the caveats, P/E is likely to remain near the top of the list of commonly used valuation measures for a wide range of, though not all sectors. It embraces complex considerations within a simple formula. It has an intuitive validity Read More >
China now appears ready to use execution as a weapon of diplomacy Personal safety is now as much a concern for visitors to China as data security
The recent decision by a Chinese court to sentence Canadian Robert Schellenberg to death has led many international observers to claim that the decision is a political one, part of Beijing’s ongoing diplomatic pressure campaign against Canada Read More >
The Iranians crossing the Channel make me proud to be British The coverage of the intrepid Iranian travellers contains an undertone of disparagement
If only we could see it, the Iranians attempting to cross the Channel in small boats are paying us a compliment. They have decided they would rather try to make a new life here than in France or Germany or Sweden. They are risking life and limb, Read More >
Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019 The world is waking up to our ocean plastic crisis
Even the optimists among us would have to admit 2018 was a challenging year. The fractured world that became the focus of the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Annual Meeting a year ago came under further pressure from populist rhetoric and rising Read More >
In defence of Britain’s railways The story of Britain's railways since privatisation is one of steady improvement
In the week of the annual rail fare rise, this year at the higher rate of measured inflation, writing in defence of Britain’s railways is a brave — or perhaps even foolhardy — endeavour. It’s certainly true that recent news hasn’t Read More >
Four Trends Shaping the 2018 Holiday Retail Season How to keep those tills ringing in the run up to Christmas
Retailers will seek to cap a strong year this holiday season by doubling down on strategies to draw online shoppers into stores, reward their loyalty in new ways and ensure that toys are available at every turn. Retailers worldwide are riding Read More >
Railways – The First Big Business Railway companies were from the start giants in terms of capital employed and numbers of employees.
Railways were big businesses long before the creation of the Big Four after World War I (London, Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern, Great Western and Southern). Compared with firms in other industries the railway companies were Read More >
Ding Dong: Why the bells of Hong Kong’s small house policy should knell farewell An assessment of land rights in Hong Kong: exploring the implications of the small house policy
The rush of investments into real estate in Hong Kong throughout the past century has led to extensive urbanisation. In December 1972, following an era of rapid new-town development in the previously neglected New Territories, the government Read More >
A tale of two flats Two elderly tenants in dispute nominally with their respective management companies
Two long leasehold flats in two different blocks in London. Two elderly tenants in dispute nominally with their respective management companies, but in reality with their neighbours, who would bear the cost of any dispute through increased Read More >
It’s not too late to scrap HS2 – A response from Alex Green There is absolutely no hint that HS2 will not also be built on time and to budget
Alex Green, a retired railway operating executive who spent much of his 35 year career with British Rail on the West Coast main line, has responded to the article It's not too late to scrap HS2 by Madeline Grant.  Well - what gloom and Read More >
It’s not too late to scrap HS2 HS2 is a classic case of the sunk costs fallacy
It’s no secret that ambitious public infrastructure projects often end up running monumentally over budget. Recent transport history is littered with such examples, like the Jubilee Line Extension in the late 90s, which exceeded initial Read More >
A bad deal on financial services will hurt the EU just as much as the City London is the world's pre-eminent financial hub. Brexit won't change that
The publication last month of the Government’s White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU grabbed headlines for the immediate political fallout. But the document, a product of the heated discussions held by ministers at Read More >
An illiquid housing market is holding Britain back A bigger private rented sector would be good for the employment rate
It’s amazing the capacity some policy wonks have to identify a problem and then come up with a completely wrongheaded solution. So it is with the latest report from the Housing and Finance Institute. The authors insist that rather than cutting Read More >
My time as a Deliveroo rider was liberating — not exploitative Polling shows that only 12 per cent of gig economy workers are unhappy with their job
I never meant to ride for Deliveroo. When I moved to London last July to work as an economic researcher in a new startup firm, I thought that was my career up and running. But life can take strange turns: by October I was out of a job and looking Read More >
What can the government do to help female entrepreneurs? A third of female entrepreneurs think their gender has been a hindrance to scaling up
When there is an obvious problem that needs fixing – and even when there isn’t – politicians relish rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. Sometimes it works: gold-plating EU requirements for maternity and parental leave, for Read More >
From palace to parlour, the story of ice cream is the story of capitalism Ice cream is a great example of the startling progress humans have made
Britain’s blistering heatwave has created a record-breaking demand for the treat that, over the course of the last century, has become a summer favourite the world over: ice cream. Sales have increased 100 per cent year on year, and London is Read More >
Establishing Large Conservation Areas in Pakistan Biodiverse ecosystems will be undervalued and overexploited with respect to their “true worth"
Pakistan’s valuable ecosystems are vulnerable to unsustainable use and destruction. Like many developing countries, Pakistan is exposed to “the catastrophic convergence of postcolonial militarisation and ethnic fragmentation,” and may soon Read More >
What Does the Government’s Living Wage Mean for UK Retail? The consequences of the new living wage
The July 2015 Budget, the first truly Conservative Budget for 18 years, gave British retailers quite a shock. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that from April 2016 all employees aged over 25 years would need to be paid what he termed a Read More >
It’s time to put Paul the Octopus on the barbecue Just because an unlikely event happens, that doesn't make a forecast "wrong"
Bashing forecasts and forecasting seems to be in vogue lately. Not only have recent years seen a number of political upsets, but the current World Cup has seen similarly notable surprises (and not just England winning a penalty shootout). But Read More >
How innovation drives financial inclusion As the developing world makes strides towards financial inclusion, the West is going in the other direction
At a time when the world’s two largest economies are engaged in a destructive quest to limit trade between people, any evidence of the benefits impact of globalisation cannot come soon enough. Recently, we got just such an illustration in the Read More >
Is beauty the answer to the housing crisis? Architecture favoured by architects often falls flat with the public
Last Thursday in Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury a small party was held to celebrate some of the finest architectural designs of the past year. All were by respected specialists in the field and each had been submitted to the Royal Academy for their Read More >
Mind the gap: UK Infrastructure, investment and inequality How should the railways be funded?
Recently published data for Inequality Briefing found that the UK has nine in ten of the poorest regions in Northern Europe, as well as the richest region in Europe, Inner London. In the 1970s, despite its economic problems the UK was spending Read More >
Consumers – not the state – should decide Uber’s fate Market mechanisms are a better way to determine the future of a company than state intervention
There is a widening divide in the United Kingdom between those who embrace economic freedom and the so-called “gig economy”, and those who are deeply cynical about it. The Labour Party is led by Marxists, and the Conservative Party has Read More >
Is capitalism in need of a radical transformation? How do we know if we're being underpaid for our data?
Building a new railway in Britain is a herculean task. When Crossrail eventually starts operating at the end of this year, it will have been 75 years since the first proposals were made, and it will have cost the taxpayer tens of billions of Read More >
Want to help young people, Theresa? Abolish Stamp Duty Stamp Duty hurts young buyers, renters and older people who want to downsize
So, you want to heal the generational divide? Thinktankers and policymakers have been out in force over the past few weeks throwing ideas around about how to shift some of the burden from the shoulders of my generation – the student loan Read More >
Ageing populations are a threat to entrepreneurship People in their late-20s through to their early-40s are best placed to start a successful business
Entrepreneurship is widely acknowledged as the basis for innovation, technological advancement and economic progress — and therefore a driving force for improved living standards. Yet there’s little discussion, let alone action, in the United Read More >
CBRE’s Head of Retail Research discusses shopping centre and e-commerce trends The significance of omnichannel convergence, massive mobile data and vacant big boxes within retail
No single event attracts more retail real estate aficionados than the International Council of Shopping Centre’s RECon convention, which drew roughly 37,000 people to Las Vegas May 20-23 to discuss deals and the latest retail trends. It Read More >
Israel is a lesson in what makes nations thrive The economic and political achievements of the Jewish State are undeniable
This week I joined in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel at an event at magnificent Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. In attendance were many of America’s movers and shakers, including US Vice Read More >
Beware nonsense claims about the customs union and Ireland Those claiming a customs union will solve the Irish border issue are either ignorant or disingenuous
If there is one issue that defines the muddle that the UK and its political classes have got into over Brexit, it is the customs union. An unnecessary saga is ongoing partly because it is misunderstood, often because those seeking economic Read More >
What having a baby has taught me about GDP Traditional GDP measurement cannot capture the value of the sharing economy
Like many dads-to-be, I’ve been thinking about GDP a lot recently. The arrival of a new human means acquiring all sorts of stuff. I quietly grimaced on finding out we should expect to spend about £1,000 on new baby clobber, a figure presumably Read More >
Fifty years on, The Population Bomb is as wrong as ever Despite all the evidence, scaremongering about overpopulation still persists
This year marks 50 years since Stanford University biology professor Paul R. Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. This highly influential book went through a number of editions, sold millions of copies and was translated into many languages. Read More >
Millennials need systemic reform, not patronising handouts Giving £10,000 to 25-year-olds would undermine the founding principle of the welfare state
The Intergenerational Commission has published its final report and, according to the findings, young people have a pretty raw deal. Young workers are forced to “shoulder huge risks” bearing the brunt of “insecure work”: their chances of Read More >
Income equality is no measure of human progress Most people accept inequality, as long as the underlying system is seen as meritocratic
Following the Great Recession of 2008, income inequality became a focal concern of those who feel that market economy has let them down. In 2011, “We are the 99 per cent” became a unifying slogan of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In 2013, Read More >
The Internet of Things: The Disruptor Shaping our Built Environment The IoT is allowing us to silently teach our cities about ourselves.
A quantum leap in the development of technology has been seen over recent years. The convergence of rapid technological advancements and urban planning is driving an evolution of human behaviour, and encouraging us to reconsider the way that we Read More >
You can’t argue against socialism’s 100 per cent record of failure No one may set out to curb democracy and human rights, but every socialist country has done so
Socialism is extremely in vogue. Opinion pieces which tell us to stop obsessing over socialism’s past failures, and start to get excited about its future potential, have almost become a genre in its own right. For example, Bhaskhar Sunkara, Read More >
It’s not too late to save Generation Rent The most important question on housing is how to radically boost supply in a way that is politically acceptable
The Resolution Foundation’s depressing claim that one-third of millennials face renting their whole life has made headlines today. But the think tank’s report also contained the encouraging — and unsurprising — revelation that countries Read More >
The price of not knowing the value of Bitcoin The Bitcoin boom-and-bust could well lead to regulatory overkill
Some time ago, I confessed to CapX readers my unease about pricing cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. I wasn’t alone in my hesitation: New York University finance professor Aswath Damodaran has voiced scepticism that assets with no cash Read More >
Does the increase in European warehouse completions have the potential to cause oversupply? CBRE research forecasts rental rates for European warehouses
New warehouse supply has reacted robustly to the current strength of demand in Europe. As a result, completions have recently reached nearly double the levels at the height of the last cycle. We address here whether there is a risk that future Read More >
E-commerce is helping rather than hindering brick and mortar retailers CBRE research shows how traditional retailers are evolving to keep up with e-commerce shopping habits
It’s tempting, even popular these days to claim that e-commerce is wiping out traditional retailing. It’s also wrong. The demonstrable reality is that online and in-store retail can coexist quite nicely, even beneficially with e-commerce. Read More >
Rainy window looking out over city buildings Deloitte Regional Crane Surveys A Regional Renaissance
Following the publication of our regional Crane Surveys at the end of January, we were pleased to report on unparalleled scale and volume of development as a result of significant investor confidence in the UK regional cities demonstrating strong Read More >
New home under construction with sunlight coming through the rafters The positive impact of E-commerce for warehouses How the digital age of business has increased need for warehouses and distribution centres in the US and beyond
The market for warehouses and distribution centers in the U.S. and elsewhere is on an incredible, multiyear run. Don’t expect that to abate any time soon. The primary reason that this market has so much momentum remaining: E-commerce has Read More >
Future-proof healthcare An analysis of MedicX Fund, a specialist investor in primary care infrastructure in the UK and Republic of Ireland
MedicX Fund is a specialist REIT. Like its peers, Primary Health Properties and Assura, it invests in primary healthcare property, focusing on modern, purpose-built primary healthcare assets. The key features of this specialist market are long Read More >
Close up of metal cogs Ever-increasing Circles An analysis of Circle Property, an AIM-quoted property investment company
Circle is an internally managed property investment company, registered in Jersey. It was initially founded as a limited partnership in 2002, became a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT) in 2006, and has been quoted on AIM since February 2016. Its Read More >
Stock trading monitor Celebrations to continue at the Palace An analysis of the property investment company
Edison Investment Research is a leading independent investment research firm. We aim, in these articles for The Property Chronicle, to bring to a wider audience the sort of analysis normally only available to big investing institutions. Each Read More >
Jimi Hendrix performing in 1967 Are you EXPERIANced? What the latest Experian report on construction output tells us
Animals’ bassist Chas Chandler saw the potential in an unknown black American guitar player called Jimmy Hendrix, when others didn’t. Quickly, Chandler assumed the role of his first ever manager and brought the virtuoso to London in 1966. Read More >
House made of tools over white background Housebuilders’ share prices have broken new ground An exploration in the Peak District of the listed housebuilders
The Peak District became the UK’s first national park on 17 April 1951; albeit the National Trust owns a 12% minority. Geographically, it forms the southern end of the Pennines and much of the area is uplands above 300 metres (984 feet) with a Read More >
New home under construction with sunlight coming through the rafters Have we found the listed PRS vehicle we were looking for? The latest from the listed real estate sector, with Mark Cartlich
Other than the results from the big names in the sector, the theme of the past few weeks seems to have been fundraising, especially in the alternative space. This has been an encouraging trend and shows there is life beyond the prime office and Read More >
Film still from 'Master and Commander' showing a naval captain in front of his ship ‘Master and Commander’: Urban & Civic plc and Nigel Hugill Our Analyst Tony Williams explores the high seas of property investment and how life imitates art
The movie of the same name - and subtitled ‘the Far Side of the World’ - is a 2003-made epic which is set in the Napoleonic Wars and stars Russell Crowe. It received wide critical acclaim on release and, at the 76th Academy Awards, was Read More >
Abstract view of candlestick charts Do foreign investors know something we don’t? Our capital markets analyst gives his thoughts on the latest trends in mergers and acquisitions
Image (c) iStockphoto Do foreign investors know something we don’t? Since the Brexit vote last June we have seen a number of assets snapped up by foreign investors, driven in part by the weakness of sterling since the referendum. In the Read More >


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