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Commercial property: it pays to do the legwork

Uncertainty over Brexit is becoming somewhat overused as a phrase to explain anything untoward, but the truth is that identifying changing trends is probably more important at the moment. But while there has been a move towards reducing development risk and keeping a firm hold on debt, the day-to-day workings of a property landlord are as important as ever. Tasks such as making sure tenants pay the rent may seem obvious, but it is attention to detail including keeping in touch with tenants and their needs that makes the difference.

These help to maximise profits, but right now there are also some favourable tailwinds giving the commercial property sector strong support. A revival in the economic fortunes of regional centres such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol has served to highlight the lack of new office supply, and that’s good for rents on existing buildings. But while rents are rising, there is still a gap between them and a level that would make economic sense of new construction. This restriction of supply has been made significantly worse by the use of permitted development rights that allow offices to be converted for residential use. Many landlords insist that there is little substitute for leg work to find suitable assets to buy. This can lead to some highly attractive off-market deals which, in many cases, are small enough to slip under the radar of the bigger players.

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