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Commercial property boom over, but no bust


Research is increasingly pointing towards an end of the commercial property boom in the UK, but there is still plenty of reason for investors to remain optimistic.

While it seems that the commercial property boom may be cooling off, there is little evidence to suggest that a downturn in the market might precipitate a crash. The industry remains somewhat robust and the threat of prices tumbling seems some way off the mark.

However, it seems that many in the commercial property industry are resigned to the fact that the high commercial property prices could not last and were always likely to begin to slow. AWD Chase de Vere has already said that it is now a good time for investors to review their portfolio, while many are expecting the recent interest rate rises to continue to have a downward impact on commercial property.

The Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) has already increased the base rate by 1.25 per cent over the past 12 months and experts are predicting that interest rates could rise to six per cent from today's 5.75 per cent before the end of the year. Most are suggesting that the next rise may not come until later in the year, perhaps around November, but it is still expected that the recent rises will be enough to slow down the property market as a whole.

The Western Mail reports that 61 per cent of property professionals expect that as general decline in the market will take place if and when that next rate rise is brought in, according to figures obtained from Investec Private Bank's Structured Property Finance division.

However, Justine Fearns, from AWD Chase de Vere, has warned investors not to be too easily swayed by talk of a potential crash and to keep their nerve as the property market starts to slow. "Knee-jerk reactions are often regretted," she explained.

In a note of optimism for the future of the commercial property market, Ms Fearns added "Property is a good diversifier and if the predicted stock market correction takes place, it should continue to show its uncorrelated strengths."

"All markets face changing conditions as the world's economy shifts the balance between the US and Europe and the emerging markets, especially China, India and other Asian tigers," concluded MS Fearns.