Landlord Shaftesbury sees West End recovery, but property values start to fall
A strong summer and improving international visitor numbers into the first weeks of autumn, were the positive messages from Shaftesbury’s trading update ahead of releasing its preliminary results for the year ended 30 September.
But what are the central London property giant’s expectations for the crucial winter trading period and beyond? For that, we’ll have to wait for the full report coming on 29 November as this was a backward-looking update.
However, we've learned commercial property valuations are, unsurprisingly, falling “due to the impact on investment market sentiment of globally-rising finance rates and the deterioration in the macroeconomic outlook”.
So its wholly-owned portfolio valuation at 30 September has shown a like-for-like decrease of around 3.6% since 31 March.
But an upbeat Chief Executive Brian Bickell said: “The West End has enjoyed its first summer of trading unaffected by Covid restrictions since 2019, with strong domestic footfall and a rebound in international visitor numbers, which have continued into the first weeks of autumn.
“Our occupiers continue to report trading revenues, on average, above 2019 levels and demand for space in our carefully-curated, popular locations remains good across all uses, reflected in a return to pre-Covid occupancy levels and further growth in rental values,” he added.
Shaftesbury also said the property valuation dip has been partially offset by the “continuing strong operational performance of our portfolio which reflects its exceptional qualities, appeal and long-term resilience”.
It said leasing activity “remains good across all uses” and over the reported six months, commercial lettings, renewals and rent reviews came with a rental value of £15.8 million.
At 30 September, the ERV (estimated recovery value) of space held for, or under, refurbishment in the wholly-owned portfolio amounted to £12.1 million, representing 8.3% of portfolio ERV, down 1% since 1 April.
During the period, refurbishment schemes with a rental value of £4.8 million were completed, of which 75% by rental value had been let by 30 September, and new schemes with a rental value of £3.5 million were added to the pipeline.
At 30 September, EPRA (earnings from operational activities) vacancy had reduced to 4% of portfolio ERV of which 1.6% was under offer.
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