In 2009, I was working at JLL when the market was still in shock after the Global Financial Crisis and everyone was looking for pointers as to the way forward.
In response, JLL produced a research paper analysing what was happening in the commercial property auction market and compared it with the previous downturn that had started in 1989. This was duly presented at a client event, and I concluded my presentation by saying that it would ‘probably not be until 2019 that we will again see the ‘irrational exuberance’ of investors that we had witnessed in the run up to the 2008 crash’.
The report’s concluding assertion was that the cause of a downturn around 2019 would be different from the GFC but equally unexpected.
Of course, it transpired it was an event in 2016 – namely the EU referendum – which would reshape the direction of the UK property market. Before the vote, the private investor market had started to follow the institutions in falling in love with property again. We were seeing a procession of High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) – whose core competencies lay outside the real estate sector – enter the market. Accordingly, auction room sale volumes grew strongly between 2014 and the first half 2016 and would have continued on an upward trajectory had it not been for the vote.