EUROPE - Valuers are being urged by an increasingly desperate industry to make valuations despite a dearth of market evidence, according to Segro.

Speaking at the EPRA London 2008 last week, Ian Coull, chief executive at the real estate company, said the industry was "stumbling in the dark" unless valuers rose to the challenge.

The latest annual event saw a trebling of the usual number of attendees, keen to see whether a panel of industry experts could make sense of the recent market troubles on a day when global stock markets had recorded their worst falls in years.

"No one knows" said Coull when asked whether the recent write-downs in the listed market represented a one-off shock or the start of something more persistent.

He said the current hiatus in transactions meant the industry was relying on the ability of valuers to make valuations based on "what they feel" or "where the market should be".

Coull admitted being urged to adopt this approach rather than relying on market comparables and tangible evidence had been a "wake-up call" for valuers.

Fellow panellist Martin Barber, whose company Capital & Regional was revealed at the event to be trading at a 68% discount to its June NAV of 1,318p, said valuers had been "urged not to resist" a downturn in valuations, because there was an overriding desire in the industry to "get it over with" and allow the markets to start to recover.

Barber, chief executive at C&R, added that he expected to see transactions being done in the second quarter of 2008.

But Nick Tyrrell of JP Morgan, who was chairing the debate, said he was aware of fund managers who were angry their stocks were being devalued without any substantial market evidence.