Investor’s Notebook – The Property Chronicle
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Everyone loves an underdog. Most certainly so when it’s wrapped up with extraordinary financial returns, scary new technologies like Bitcoin, and an establishment villain that everyone despises.  In Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal and Redemption, the best-selling author Ben Mezrich attempts all of that. A look at Mezrich’s dozens of books reveals an obsession with drama, a flair for eccentricity, and a large portion of the unbelievable.  Most people know him... Read More >

Recent Articles:


From the beginning of this virus, political elites have used the language of war. The invisible enemy would be contained, suppressed, and beaten into submission. Then….it would go away.  The tactics would be travel bans, shutdowns, Read More >

The coronavirus economic shock has already caused UK house prices to wobble – and they may yet tumble if the narrative worsens. As the virus changes society and the way we live, it will inevitably change the factors that drive the demand and Read More >

THE IMPACT of the coronavirus crisis on London is becoming clear to see. Yesterday the Evening Standard laid bare the scale of the economic devastation to the British capital.  Let’s take the headline numbers: “50,000 West End Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2018 In my last article I set out my company’s broad approach to investing in commercial property and in Poland in particular. I thought it might be interesting for anyone considering investing in Poland Read More >

If food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (8% of annual global greenhouse gases come from food waste).1  One-third of all food produced globally is wasted, representing a total value of about Read More >

Social distancing has turned our lives upside down and at short notice businesses adapted to remote working, moving office life into the home. Some are beginning to speculate that this could spell the end of offices, but many people are still Read More >

Even for the most absentminded amongst us (myself included), life offers unforgettable moments. Some are historically and globally impactful: Neil Armstrong’s ‘giant leap’, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, or the COVID-19 pandemic we Read More >

Last month WeWork surveyed the heads of real estate from 69 global corporations asking how they envisioned the world of work in this new COVID-19 age. Three themes emerged: +  Acceleration of how flex space might be Read More >

With a desire to both quantify and limit various aspects of private real estate funds’ risk, funds’ documentation is written so that risk is unbundled and limited.  Examples of this would be using “up to 60% leverage”, “up to Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 25TH SEPTEMBER 2017 Shipping carries over 90% of world trade. Until anti-gravity transport is invented nothing will replace it. This island race has salt water and shipping in our veins and history. As befits our Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 22ND SEPTEMBER 2017 I started my real estate career in the early 1980s, so over 30 years ago! I have been involved in many areas of UK real estate during that period, both cosseted in booms and fighting for survival Read More >

One of the first things that we learn in life is the alphabet.  Through it, we form words and are able to communicate with one another using a common language.  In investing, it would be useful if one of the first things that Read More >

Real estate is the embodiment of the tangible. Its substance gives us a sense of security and durability, and this applies to both private residential and commercial real estate. Yet the real estate industry is ultimately based on services – Read More >

Originally published February 2018.  The UAE's appetite for attracting the great and the good (and sometimes the bad and the ugly) remains impressive. This week, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, hosted the first Milken Read More >

Poland’s commercial real estate sector has just recorded what some reporters are calling it's "best-ever" first-quarter, which is quite something to achieve over the precise period in which the world was waking up to the horrors of Read More >

Having recently completed proptech investments in Unissu and Dashflow, I was interested to read Andy Saull’s article, “Proptech disruption won’t hit any time soon”, in the last issue of Property Chronicle. It introduced me to the Read More >

Since the financial crisis in 2008, interest rates have been low and borrowing costs for commercial property similarly low.  With such low rates, relatively high yields and seemingly ever-increasing values, many have chosen to use Read More >

What do investors want right now? What are their preferred opportunities, and what do you need to know about them? This series sums up what one investment adviser has gathered from roadshows, conferences and meetings across Europe. Heard in Read More >

Awards are show business, mining a deep human need or peer approval. Formed and shaped for profit by producers. Staged and fronted by directors nurturing sector nabobs. Marketed and sold with ‘your rivals are on board’ whispers to sponsors. Read More >

The new decade that was ushered in by the usual dazzling Burj Khalifa fireworks provoked some reflection on my part, for it was 10 years ago this year that I made the move to the Gulf.  Back then it was a leap into the unknown, where Read More >

A famous quotation, probably erroneously dedicated to the financier J. P. Morgan, is that, when asked for an outlook on the stock market, he replied, “it will fluctuate”.  The real estate market tends to fluctuate too, between two Read More >

To stop small clubs going under requires not extra cash but an independent body charged with developing the game as a whole After death throes worthy of a B-movie murder scene and with a parliamentary committee picking over the bones and Read More >

What do investors want right now? Which are their preferred opportunities, and what do you need to know about them? This new series sums up what one investment adviser has gathered from roadshows, conferences and meetings across Europe Heard Read More >

Investment pouring in from the south hasn’t yet brought down northern England’s higher yields.  It has been widely reported for several years now that rental yields are typically higher in the north of England than they are in the Read More >

Watch share prices, brace for a bang. “If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking will change it. - Richard Dawkins  Real estate currently beats any but the riskiest investment classes – doesn’t it? Provided interest rates Read More >

The new PM shares his 19th-century predecessor’s charm, but on statesmanship skills it’s another matter  Our new prime minister is said to be an admirer of Winston Churchill, but a better model for Boris Johnson would be Lord Read More >

Should letting agents be worried about the impact of new legislation? The Tenant Fees Act 2019 or, as it’s more often referred to, the tenant fee ban, is a piece of legislation that came into effect on 1 June 2019 and basically prohibits Read More >

It is exactly 20 years ago that Prologis stormed into Europe and transformed the landscape of property funds, announcing it had raised $1.07bn of equity for its first European fund. This was a game-changer for the European markets, and not just Read More >

Farming in the UK is changing faster than anyone realises. There will be winners – and losers… The UK farming industry is facing a period of radical change that most farmers are underestimating both in extent and speed. There will be Read More >

With the PSOE coming out on top, Spanish prospects are only looking up Pedro Sanchez’ gamble to call a snap election has paid off. His PSOE (the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) has become the biggest party in parliament, with its share Read More >

How forging a new path in the property market can reap big rewards I have several guidelines to which I have mostly adhered when investing. Amongst others, this includes targeting high yielding properties: properties with sustainable income Read More >

Back in 2007, left behind by the likes of the US, the UK and (shock horror!) France, the German government moved with its customary celerity to create its own REIT sector. A year before, and two years after Emmanuel Valavanis and I had set up Read More >

In the following monthly series of articles Oliver Ash tells the story of his initial steps in the field of real estate, how this took him overseas to a new life, how he navigated the financial crises of 1991 and 2009, how real estate operations Read More >

With the bull market scaling new heights and global growth re-accelerating, I explained last month why this situation is likely to continue (see Why The Bulls Are Back In Charge). But I noted at the end of that paper that, as Read More >

Waves of political and economic uncertainty have become something of a norm for markets in recent years. Against a backdrop of significant events – from US-China trade tension to Brexit - investors are taking extra caution with their asset Read More >

How to earn double-digit returns from Polish property As readers of my articles might recall we have, for many years, been earning double-digit returns from our property investments in Poland. There are many factors which have contributed to Read More >

How the peaceful Gulf state became one of the dominant economies in the world in under half a century Here in the United Arab Emirates 2018 was the Year of Zayed, 12 months of commemoration to celebrate a century since the birth of the Read More >

In 2012, one of the first companies I invested in as a defensive value investor was Centrica, the company behind British Gas. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Centrica was a leading player in the defensive utilities sector, with a Read More >

The MSCI All Country World Index is up some 250% since the financial crisis. But was there ever a cycle in which investors were more skeptical about the market’s upward momentum, where stock valuations had to climb so many “walls of Read More >

Why was our “Solving for 2019” audience less worried about recession but more cautious on equities? At our flagship annual conference for the EMEA region, “Solving for 2019,” it is now tradition for my colleague Joe Amato to ask the Read More >

If there is one useful conclusion for investors from the crazy year that has just ended, maybe it is this: as they say in Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything.” After all, if the richest and best-informed studio moguls spend tens of millions of Read More >

Macro: A Soft Landing 1. A Soft Landing for the U.S. and the Wider World We anticipate that U.S. GDP growth will slow from 3.5% to around 2.0 – 2.5% in 2019, and some of the tail risks associated with the U.S. – China trade dispute will Read More >

- Global Real Estate Sector robust in 2018 - Fed policy will drive equity markets in 2019, including Real Estate - UK performance hit by Brexit and structural change in UK Retail The Global Real Estate Sector showed a Total Return in Read More >

There were plenty of headwinds facing the property sector in 2018, with Brexit and broader geopolitical turmoil causing investors to pause for breath. Whilst buying decisions have in some cases been put on hold, commercial and residential real Read More >

Across Asia Pacific, conversations surrounding flexible space are typically one-sided and largely concentrate on co-working. Given the current stage of development in this region, it is somewhat understandable that discussions on flexible Read More >

The health of bricks and mortar retail, and the resulting impact on retail property owners, have rarely been out of the news in 2018. In many western markets the pace of structural decline in retail has accelerated, and this has brought enormous Read More >

Perhaps the long hot summer in continental Europe is not the most prudent time to review how fast transactions take to conclude. However, with the benefit of over 30 years of experience in Europe I am convinced the average time from the start of Read More >

The Global Real Estate Sector has shown a Total Return of +7% YTD for a Sterling investor, compared to -1% for UK Real Estate Sector, or +2% for the FTSE All Share. The major contributor at the time of writing has been the US Real Estate Sector Read More >

Fitting in as a fifty-something in a country so diametrically different from one’s own is no easy thing. Apart from the obvious; you know, driving on the wrong side of the road, cars having no indicators (at least seemingly so), magnets fitted Read More >

Ten years ago, I had just extricated myself from almost a decade as a tax lawyer in the City, mostly advising on structured real estate finance deals, and started work as finance policy director at the British Property Federation. The next Read More >

A global economic crisis, rising regional political tensions, and a dismal outlook to the macro economic stance all make for an exceptionally tumultuous atmosphere to navigate through. Nevertheless, the United Arab Emirates led by its Read More >

Since the peak of the property cycle in 2007, First Property Group plc has grown its net asset value at an annualised rate of some 25% per annum and either maintained or increased its dividend payouts each year. Most property companies either Read More >

The UK results season for the March year ends has not generated much investor interest - to the extent a frustrated senior equity fund manager confronted me as I walked past Mortons demanding 'where are the Emerging Majors?!' He was referring to Read More >

If your perception of business in the Middle East is one of men in sunglasses discussing arms deals and oil trades, then you’d be wrong. Well, that’s not to say this doesn’t go on, but a visit to Dubai, and in particular DIFC, the vibrant Read More >

My company, First Property Group plc, is an active investor in Poland, having commenced our operations there shortly after it joined the EU in 2004. Not many investors have successfully navigated the Polish property investment proposition. In a Read More >

In 1986, a well-known African-American economist travelled to South Africa for a conference on the role of business in helping to overcome racial divisions in that country. Three years later, Professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason Read More >

I have been active in the European real estate markets for over 30 years with a focus on the more liquid north-western countries. I have worked for agencies (Knight Frank and CBRE), an accountancy practice (Touche Ross & Co) and investment Read More >

As Sydney Harbour fills up with the tears of lachrymose cricketers, transgressors of a law of the game, rather than of the land, one can’t help but think how hysterical the response has been, and ask why. How does the game of cricket, (cricket Read More >

Comparing returns, and risk, for debt markets across Europe has historically been nigh-on impossible due to a lack of data. But new research from CBRE will help existing and new lenders determine strategy from a position of greater understanding. Read More >

In January I highlighted the underperformance of the North America listed Real Estate Sector in 2017 but that it still didn’t offer great value – however with interest rates set to move higher in 2018 I looked forward to some interesting Read More >

I've recently been involved in a few subletting transactions relating to offices in London. These transactions were time-critical, but very time-consuming, and the pain of securing superior landlord consent for the subletting at times made me Read More >

“No, Your Highness, you’re NOT allowed any more pudding! And while we’re at it, why haven’t you finished your prep?!” Not words you’d imagine many royal or senior Arabs to hear very often, as another tray of baklava arrives to Read More >

Nominally at least, both Ghana and Nigeria are in the midst of an economic uptick. The latter is forecast to grow at 2% per annum this year as against 0.6% in 2017 and -1.6% the year before (its first recession in a quarter century). Ghana Read More >

I have, for the last 18 years, had the pleasure of running First Property Group plc, a small listed property company with a market value of £52 million, which I founded and which invests in the UK, Poland and to a small extent in Romania. My Read More >

I have been active in the European real estate markets for over 30 years with a focus on the more liquid north-western countries. I have worked for agencies (Knight Frank and CBRE), an accountancy practice (Touche Ross) and investment banks Read More >

The global listed real estate sector In 2017 the FTSE EPRA NAREIT Global Index showed a total return of 5% for a sterling investor, although currencies were again a big factor (e.g. for a US$ investor the global total return was a healthy Read More >

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region has historically been a source of capital raising and outflow of funds that invested in everything global. Sovereign wealth institutions in the region are among the wealthiest in the world, and the Read More >

Since 2013 I have been Bursar and a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, part of Cambridge University. Before that I spent 26 years in finance, predominantly in equity capital markets at Citigroup (where I led the ECM business for Europe, Middle Read More >

12 December marks Kenya’s 54th year of independence. It is also the day on which opposition leader Raila Odinga intends to hold his own inauguration as the ‘People’s President’, rival to re-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta. Without naming Read More >

President Robert Mugabe announced his resignation on Tuesday 14 November after 37 years in power, the last three of which included the dismissal of vice-presidents and ruling party stalwarts: Joice Mujuru in 2014 and most recently, Emmerson Read More >

A key priority for government is to build new homes, particularly social housing, but the demographics point to another major shortfall over the next 20 years. According to McCarthy & Stone (MCS), the retirement living sector leader, of the Read More >

From Abu Dhabi to the world: this is the motto of Etihad Airways, the UAE national carrier. This rings true on many fronts as Abu Dhabi has been aspiring to be the Middle East and regional hub for everything from regulated financial services Read More >

Ironically, being a Muslim woman sitting in the backseat of a male driven Uber, in London, I was tickled to hear the radio announcement that HRH King Salman had finally decided to lift the moratorium for females to get behind the wheel. As with Read More >

As I read the billion dollar bids for land in Singapore and new launches of private apartments selling out in three days, I began to wonder whether the government has expanded the retail-driven Great Singapore Sale to the residential property Read More >

Much is being said and written about the lack of affordable housing in the UK. Since the trough in the first quarter of 2009 following the financial crisis, the average UK house price has risen by 40%. To buy a home in London, young first time Read More >

Crisis? What crisis?! Results from the listed home builders this summer describe a sector in rude health, particularly in the mid-market house price range of 250k-350k. Redrow for example reported sales up 21%, PTP up 26%, EPS up 27%, DPS up Read More >

Continental carry trade The big takeaway from the interim results season is the recovery in continental property markets. It’s been a decade since the listed sector in Europe signalled such a positive outlook in spite of some mixed Read More >

Stock markets in India have been soaring as the economy enters a prolonged period of political and economic stability. At elevated valuations, near term returns seem uncertain but investors should focus on riding the megatrends. India’s per Read More >

Halfway through 2017 the global listed sector is performing better than I had expected, up over 7% Total Return in USD terms, although much of this is down to dollar weakness with the sector up just 2% in sterling and flat in euros. But the big Read More >

Above: a view of Yangon CBD, March 2012 Real estate is the ultimate wealth creating machine. I have had the privilege of covering real estate markets from the perspective of a valuer, a policy-maker, an equity analyst, a real estate fund Read More >

Two months ago the view from Berkeley Square was cautious, particularly on Brexit and retail, but one could see 'clear blue water' (even if bitter tasting!). After a disastrous Tory manifesto and even worse campaign, the waters are muddied and in Read More >

Chaos in Washington and dollar weakness, combined with the Macron win, has had a major impact on markets. For a sterling investor, the global real estate sector is flat YTD, but the Americas is down 6% compared to Europe up over 8% including Read More >

Well, if 'a week is a long time in politics' (and even longer in UK politics!), it’s also a long time for the listed global real estate sector. Ironically as a property developer moved into the White House last autumn, the sector badly Read More >

The West End has been a joy to drive around this Easter as half of London (and most of the property industry) has been away! As well as being able to secure reservations in some fine restaurants, it has also provided some time to reflect… On Read More >

Featuring

Investor's Notebook

Smart people from around the world share their thoughts

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The Macro View

Recent financial news and how it connects across all asset classes

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Technology

Fintech, proptech and what it all means

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Uncorked

A sideways look at the world of wine

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The Architect

Some of the profession's best minds

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The Auctioneer

What's going on in the auction world

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Residential Investor

Making money from residential property investment

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The Professor

Analysis and opinion from the academic sphere

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Face to Face

In-depth interviews with leading figures in the real estate/investment world.

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The Headhunter

Recruitment and career moves

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The Analyst

Investment themes and trends

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The Historian

A look back at previous cycles, events, characters

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The Economist

Money, rates and prices

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Political Insider

The inside scoop on Washington, Westminster and Whitehall

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The Agent

Reflections on estate agency, today and in past times

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Alternative assets

Investing in tangible assets

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