Confidence still high for commercial specialists

Sheffield-based law firm hlw Keeble Hawson says it is confident about 2012 following a raft of substantial property deals in the last quarter of 2011.

Partner and commercial property specialist Gareth Owen has worked through three major recessions and maintains there will always be opportunities to exploit in commercial property.

hlw Keeble Hawson recently completed the acquisition of a chain of seven restaurant properties on behalf of a major client and, at the same time, acted for that client on a multi million pound re-banking to facilitate further expansion of the group.

“It’s true that, if the Eurozone collapses, bank lending could become even more scarce,” said Gareth.

“However that restaurant deal saw the client negotiate two highly competitive offers from different banks - which shows that banks are willing to lend against the right proposition. The marketplace is still very active, underpinned by those who have access to cash and the nerve to invest.”

Gareth has earmarked residential development as “one to watch”. He added: “Next year is not going to be any easier than 2011, with office construction in particular likely to remain static.

“Investors will be looking for projects with higher income yield and there is an ever-growing demand for new residential property. We have advised on no less than three separate deals in recent weeks to acquire brownfield and former commercial sites for thousands of new homes across the region.

“Although the bad news coming out of the Eurozone has caused some potential investors to retrench, the British stiff upper lip is very much in evidence. Business people are becoming somewhat inured to the current market conditions and resolving to work with the situation rather than sitting it out for that elusive recovery.”