A poll of the region’s property leaders has shown that 63% feel positive about the sector, with 31% planning to acquire property in the next 12 months. This compares to last year’s poll that showed 37% would be disposing of property within 12 months, a number that has fallen to 20%.
The annual Essex Property Conference, hosted jointly by estate agents and chartered surveyors Fenn Wright, Ellisons Solicitors and accountants BDO LLP, highlighted the positive outlook for the property market. Nearly three quarters (71%) of delegates stated they thought commercial property values would increase within the next 12 months, with 83% expecting residential property values to increase too.
In its ninth year, the event was attended by over 200 delegates and took place at Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester.
The event was chaired by Guy Longhurst, Senior Partner at Ellisons Solicitors, with expert speakers including Phil Eckersley from the Bank of England; Lewis Chambers, commercial partner at Fenn Wright; and Peter Harrup, partner at BDO.
Guy Longhurst from Ellisons, said: “This year’s conference was extremely well attended and brought together property clients and professionals from across the region. The conference was an opportunity to look back on a good year in the residential and commercial property sector. Whilst sentiment remains positive and confidence relatively high, factors such as the SDLT changes, have impacted upon parts of the market.
“There was a general consensus that more needs to be done to reduce the delays faced by developers, in delivering new housing. The recent Housing White Paper seems to be well intentioned, but seems unlikely to have a noticeable impact, between now and next year’s conference.”
Fenn Wright’s Lewis Chambers, commented: “Although there are clearly challenges in some market sectors, both the commercial and residential markets are stable and property remains one of the best asset classes in which to invest. The commercial property market has proved extremely buoyant over the last 12 months with particularly strong demand in the warehouse and industrial sectors and predictions are that both leasehold and freehold prices will continue to rise through 2017.
“In the residential sector our teams are very busy as the traditional spring market sees more properties being offered for sale with high numbers of potential buyers out looking for their dream homes.”
Peter Harrup from BDO ended by saying: “There are a huge number of tax changes coming in from April this year which will impact on the property sector. It’s crucial that those in the market keep up to date with these changes and remain alert to the opportunities and risks they present.”