13 September 2012
From Commercial Property Blog
With the creeping inevitability of an oil slick, as the packed property choo-choo pulls out of Paddington, the splendid Western skyline is snuffed out by swathes of black cloud.
A poignant reflection of this year’s market? Perhaps. But the best thing about RESI isn’t the stark insight or how it pulls together all the swagger and old-skool gangster-ish charm exuded by the likes of Bruce Ritchie, Tony Pidgley and John Hitchcox, plonking them on a stage together to argue among themselves in front of 800.
No, the best thing about Wales is being able to listen to Manic Street Preachers – the Welsh rock band whose songwriter famously disappeared -without facing social exile.
Life, as they say, is one big DJ slot.
Weirdly, the Manics’ 20-year-old tune ‘Natwest-Barclays-Midlands-Lloyds’ has rattling significance in today’s testing times. “Blackhorse apocalypse,” sings frontman James Dean-Bradfield with falsetto-laced rage. “Death sanitized – through credit!” If anybody wrote this kind of stuff, they’d be shoved up on Newsnight before you could say ‘Dizzee Rascal’.
Initial bank-riddled rumours at Wednesday night’s CBRE cellar bar bash concern suing over Libor trickery. A couple of big developers seem to think there could be years worth of court cases to come from perturbed punters. “It’ll be like watching daytime TV soon,” says one. “But instead of adverts for PPI lawyers, you’ll have some washed up old newsreader wailing ‘Ripped off over Libor? Call this number.”
Is this likely? No. Libor is of course subjective. So while they may have been fixed, the exact difference would take years of court case to agree. And anyone with enough money to embark on fruitless legal love would surely be better lumping it into London? That seems to be what everyone here is doing. Prime London and nothing else.
Others attending Savills’ and Residential Land’s welcoming dinner point to regional spots all across the country where prosperity does shine outside of London. “These are micro-economies within regions,” says one expert. “Those in the know who understand where these patches are have a license to print money right now, but land value and vacant possession value in much of the regions is zero.” Due, of course, to the mortgage market which the government continues to try and fix on a weekly basis.
Few buyers in this landscape need mortgages of course, as Far Eastern cash continues to crush pessimism. “Prime London will start to cool off over the next year – or at least I hope it does,” one prominent figure says. “But the rest of the UK is going to be flat for a long time.” Are we the new Japan? Or is there a silver bullet train to safety? Tune back in later.