Strong levels of activity for the UK’s commercial real-estate sector

Written by: Ilona Billington
November 9, 2017

The spectre of Brexit hasn’t done too much to dampen enthusiasm for the London commercial property industry. At least, that’s what the latest company earnings results from Derwent London and Hammerson, suggest.

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Both businesses said lease and sales activity was strong in the year-to-date and the third quarter. Values and rents were also higher.

FTSE 100 listed Hammerson’s shares were up 6% on the results. Derwent London shares, which are listed on the FTSE 250, meanwhile, were off a little, trading 0.76% lower than at the market open.

Positive commercial retail market

Retail property developer and manager Hammerson, said its leasing volumes were 17% higher in the third quarter ending September 30. By value that business was worth some £6.8 million more than the same period in 2016.

Agreed rents were 4% up from the previous agreements and 11% higher than the December 2016 valuations, the company added.

Other details from the results show that footfall among their retailer tenants was higher than expected in both its UK and French properties.

"In the third quarter we have maintained good leasing activity across our portfolio of leading retail assets, demonstrating that brands are continuing to prioritise space in well-invested, prime locations,” said Hammerson CEO David Atkins in the company earnings press release.

“The backdrop for retailers in the UK remains challenging but we believe our assets are well-positioned and will be resilient,” Atkins added.”

Buoyant London office activity

City office developer Derwent London, meanwhile, also reported a positive business update Thursday.

The press release stated a 16% increase in lettings or agreed lettings, pre-completion, in the year-to-date compared with the same period a year earlier. It’s vacancy rate at 1.4%. was also below the 1.9% a year earlier.

Meanwhile, it’s year-to-date disposals of completed developments were some 10% higher by value, than December 2016.

“Good occupier and investment demand means that 2017 will be a record year for Derwent London’s lettings and investment disposals even with lower UK economic growth and political uncertainty,” said Derwent London CEO John Burns.