Full house at latest property lunch
Axiom DWFM held its second face-to-face property lunch on Wednesday, 2 November following the pandemic and seven virtual lunches on Zoom. There were approximately 90 guests at the School of Philosophy and Economic Science in Mandeville Place, Marylebone.
The event was chaired by Jonathan Metliss, Chairman of Axiom DWFM, and external speakers included Alex Brummer, City Editor of the Daily Mail, Will Clough of Allsop and Karyn Jones, Partner at Shaw Gibbs Insolvency and Advisory. Sarah Sandy (general real estate), Rima Sengupta (banking and finance and India desk) and Mira Arezina (property litigation) of Axiom DWFM spoke about the real estate activities of the practice.
In introducing the event and speakers, Jonathan Metliss highlighted a number of current trends, such as the reduction in house prices, the level of interest rates, the significance of the declining value of the pound and the booming rental market. He made specific reference to the firm’s India and China desks of the firm as well as to the growth of the practice.
Alex Brummer considered the economic situation, which he said was “not as gloomy as had been made out” and covered the issues of taxation, interest rates, the role of the Bank of England and the limited impact of BREXIT. He also touched on the political situation, covering the role and policies of the current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, including his attitude to the forthcoming climate change conference in Egypt and the lack of depth in the Labour Party.
Karyn Jones spoke about the current level of insolvencies in the real estate area of which she considered are likely to rise in the current economic climate. Clearly, rising interest rates and cashflow issues were a major problem, and data illustrated that the construction sector was particularly hard hit, with a disproportionately high percentage being unable to repay COVID support loans.
Will Clough talked about the continued buyer demand in evidence at recent Allsop auctions and that £180 million of commercial real estate had been sold at their September and November sales, principally to cash buyers. There are still a wide variety of sellers, including a property fund manager and a REIT who have accelerated disposals recently in order to raise cash.
Sarah Sandy referred to Axiom DWFM’s large number of real estate related transactions and described the current Buy-to-Let market. Rima Sengupta talked about the volatility of the current market, which nevertheless created opportunities. Lenders are being cautious, and borrowers are keen to complete their transactions as soon as possible. She had seen a significant increase in personal guarantees of late. As head of the India desk, she has seen a rise in clients from India, Singapore and the UAE purchasing properties in the UK, to a large extent due to the fall in value of the pound sterling. Mira Arezina, confirmed the high level of activity in her department and explained the current situation with court procedures.
Pragnesh Modhwadia, the Managing Partner, made some closing remarks and thanked everyone for attending and supporting the firm.
It is anticipated that the next real estate lunch will be held in early 2023.
Jonathan Metliss – Chairman ([email protected])
Pragnesh Modhwadia – Managing Partner ([email protected])
Idnan Liaqat – Head of Real Estate ([email protected])