The UK property market is one of the most developed and stable in the world. For investors, that means greater potential for stable income and capital growth over the long-term. We believe this potential still exists despite market concerns over Brexit and high street store closures. Since Brexit, UK property has performed well and has seen a surprise surge in transaction volumes, particularly from overseas investors; this can be partly attributed to sterling weakness. There is the possibility that some international companies may choose to locate themselves outside of London post-Brexit, which could negatively impact central London offices - however outside of the capital other segments should prove more resilient. A broad portfolio, well-diversified across sectors and locations, should help weather any headwinds. The high street retail sector continues to underperform due to the shift towards online shopping; high profile casualties such as Toys R Us, Maplin, New Look and Carpetright have decreased high street rental demand. However the shift to online shopping has benefited distribution warehouses that store online purchases, these will continue to grow for the next few years as more people shop online. The property market is not without its challenges, both from Brexit and from consumers choosing to shop online rather than in-store. Nevertheless, there is still room for capital appreciation and secure income. We are confident that diverse UK property allocation continues to have a place in portfolios. We particularly like property for its ability to produce a steady income stream that is potentially inflation linked. This income stream can be used by pension schemes to meet their cashflow profile. Investors are also being paid a premium to invest in an asset class which is illiquid in nature – more below. An Investment in property should be a serious consideration for a pension scheme. A downside to investing in property is the significant transaction costs to enter and leave this asset – sometimes you might not even be able to enter or leave! However, for most pension schemes with a long term time horizon and other liquid assets this should not be too much of an issue.
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by Colin Wheeler •