UK's hot property sector sees British Land return to profit
British Land became the second UK property giant in two days to report that the sector’s post-pandemic trading is thriving again. Hot on the heels of peer Landsec delivering a “record year”, British Land also reported “a strong performance across all parts of our business” for its fiscal year ended March 31.
After three consecutive years of losses, the Meadowhall and Broadgate owner’s underlying profits came in 25% ahead for the 12 months, to £251 million, compared with a loss of £1.08 billion a year earlier.
In the period, it leased just under 4 million sq ft of space in its workplaces, retail and fulfilment centres in the year, “the highest in 10 years and were ahead of estimated retail value (EVR)”, it noted.
That included 2.2 million sq ft of Retail & Fulfilment leasing, again the highest volume in 10 years, and 2.8% ahead of ERV.
Furthermore, “London, demand continues to gravitate towards the best, most sustainable space where our Campuses are at a distinct advantage” it also said.
“Our total accounting return for the year was 14.8% driven by a 6.8% increase in the valuation of our portfolio,” said CEO Simon Carter on Wednesday. Campuses value rose up 5.4% with Retail & Fulfilment up 9.9%, while Retail Parks rose an impressive 20.7%
No wonder it also noted that Retail Parks were an “attractive, cost-effective format for our retail customers reflected in our very low vacancy of 2.6%… so we are particularly pleased with our decision to allocate capital to this segment, where valuations have increased 20.7%”.
Then there’s one of the hottest property sectors: warehousing and logistics spaces, especially in London.
“The fundamentals of urban logistics in London are compelling given the chronic shortage of space,” added Carter. “We have made a good start to building our urban logistics business where we have assembled a c.£1.3 billion development pipeline in 12 months”.
And the outlook? Carter added: “We are mindful of current elevated economic and geopolitical uncertainties, but our strategic advantage in sectors with pricing power means we can look ahead with confidence.”
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