Our truly global city is thriving, with a commercial property market that has enduring appeal for occupiers and investors.
London continues to grow
With the largest economy of any city in Europe and generating around 23% of UK GDP, London is one of the world’s leading commercial, creative and financial centres. Further growth is forecast, as London’s population is expected to increase from 8.8 million today to more than 10.0 million by 2030.
A strong legal system, time zone advantages, international connectivity and a welcoming attitude to international businesses has resulted in London retaining its position as the world’s top financial centre in the Z/Yen Global Financial Centres Index.
Attracting talent and visitors from around the world
London has a high calibre labour pool, with 1.7 million people employed in highly skilled roles (nearly 50% higher than New York, its nearest rival).
London is home to 15 top ranked universities and business schools, more than any other global city and provides a strong attraction to a wide range of businesses. In 2015, London was ranked the world’s most popular tourist destination, supporting retailer demand for well-located stores.
Benefiting from a deep and liquid commercial property market
Central London has one of the world’s largest commercial real estate markets, with more than 444 million sq ft of office and retail property attracting a deep and diverse mix of occupiers and property investors. With our total market share being less than 2%, there is ample scope for us to pursue attractive opportunities to buy and sell at favourable times in the cycle.
Generating opportunities through a cyclical market
London’s commercial property market will always be cyclical, with current increased uncertainty following the UK’s referendum on EU membership, furthering the effect.
Our 100% central London focus and disciplined approach means we are well positioned to capture the opportunities that this cyclicality creates. We will flex our operational risk in tune with market conditions, whilst always maintaining low levels of financial gearing.
Why our West End focus?
We own one of the largest commercial property portfolios in the core West End. With more than 200 million visits a year, the West End provides a unique and diverse mix of commercial, retail, residential, cultural and tourist attractions, drawing people and businesses from around the world. It is also home to a broad range of occupiers, and, as a result, is not reliant on any one dominant sector.
Barriers to entry continue to rise
With around 70% of the core West End in a conservation area and the planning environment continuing to tighten, high quality space remains in short supply. Our West End focus means we are well placed to successfully navigate these barriers to development. Delivering efficient, sustainable properties in attractive locations that meet occupiers’ needs, while creating profitable real estate.
Driving regeneration and rental growth
The combination of our team’s expertise, strong relationships and local experience are central to unlocking development potential. Our activities are contributing to major regeneration and rental growth, such as at the east end of Oxford Street around the new Crossrail station.
Crossrail is due to open in 2018 and no other office-focused REIT has as much exposure as we do, with 88% of our portfolio within 800 metres of a Crossrail station.