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 estate have remained broadly resilient in the face of uncertainty, delivering solid performance in comparison to traditional assets like equities.
Market uncertainty, coupled with the ageing property cycle, will be playing on investors’ minds. I expect these trends to persist into 2019 and to continue to halt buying decisions in many instances. Yet for those looking for more positive news, I believe the current environment presents exciting investment opportunities across real estate sectors going into 2019.
In my view, some of the best opportunities this year will include repositioning of office space in the regions; retail warehousing due to the fallout from retail woes; and identifying opportunities for development in London amid Brexit concerns. Further afield, alternative real estate, which plays into structural long-term trends, will also continue to attract investor interest. This is a particularly attractive option for investors looking to shelter from market movements.
Repositioning of office space in the regions
There are a countless number of booming business communities across the UK, yet not enough quality office space to cater to this. Continued opportunities are likely to arise in key regional cities due to the ongoing lack of supply. Prime space for existing businesses in the regions has been snapped up, yet demand remains. Investment interest in regional office space remains buoyant as a result.
In particular, there is a shortage of Grade-A supply, as successful businesses are increasingly demanding more sophisticated office accommodation. There is therefore an opportunity for investors to improve secondary space to meet this growing demand.