German fund managers say they remain committed to UK real estate, despite the outcome of yesterday’s referendum on EU membership.
Hamburg-headquartered Union Investment, which owns eight property assets in the UK, will be “recalibrating its strategy”, managing director Martin Brühl told IPE Real Estate.
“We are not happy with the outcome, but we will have to carry on because we are in the business of investing core money,” said Brühl, who heads up international investment for the €31bn real estate fund manager.
“We like the UK. we are absolutely certain the UK won’t go away as a safe-haven market in the mid-to-long term.”
But uncertainty caused by a complicated – and possibly protracted – exit from the EU will require Union to “look at the way we price assets and the way we price risk”, he said.
PATRIZIA Immobilien, which has been expanding its business across Europe in recent years, is unlikely to reverse its activity in the UK.
According to executive director Marcus Cieleback, the Augsburg-headquarted company which moved into the UK in 2013 with the acquisition of Tamar Capital, remains committed to investing in the country’s housing market, for instance.
Last week, Patrizia bought a 28-tower in London with a view to building private-rented accommodation, and Cieleback, who heads up Patrizia’s research department, said the company “still believes” in the UK PRS story.
“If you think the fundamental imbalance between supply and demand has not changed, then why change,” he said.
Both Cieleback and Brühl believe it is business as normal for core UK assets with strong tenants – “a solid West End office building is still a solid West End office building,” Cieleback said – but the situation looks less favourable riskier, secondary assets and for speculative office development in the City of London.
Brühl said Union’s UK portfolio had an occupancy level of 99.2% and the company was not concerned about its existing holdings.
But he said there would a two-tier market, separating well-leased core assets and and “more risk-prone” assets.
US-headquarted CBRE Global Investors, meanwhile, has warned investors about “taking a short-termist view and precipitating any negative market reactions”.
Andrew Angeli, head of UK research, said: ”Over the coming days and weeks, we do not recommend fundamentally altering portfolio strategy. Be patient, monitor the evolution of financial markets and seek counsel from a host of reliable sources.
“We continue to take the view that the UK will remain business friendly and among the world’s most attractive environments for foreign investors. Property will still benefit from market transparency, liquidity, rule of law and favourable lease structures.”