Paul Gibbon, director at Wake Smith Solicitors, looks back at what’s been keeping the dynamic commercial property team busy in the Sheffield City Region and how the Brexit issue is affecting the sector.
We act for a diverse range of clients and have seen a steady increase in the range of transactions for all types of commercial property for owner occupation, investment and development purposes.
We have had an intrinsic role in a number of recent property deals, whether it be a high net-worth individual growing their property portfolio through a corporate structure or through their pension scheme, or clients buying and selling both greenfield and brownfield sites for development and regeneration, respectively.
Our corporate clients, across a range of sectors, have also been very active acquiring properties for their own use.
We have recently successfully completed a number of acquisitions and disposals for companies needing expansion space or moving lock, stock and barrel to new, larger premises.
It is very rewarding to be a key part of these clients’ success stories.
This activity has been supported by an increase in the availability of mainstream bank lending in the primary and secondary markets across all sectors and heightened investment from outside the city.
A large part of our work is advising banks and other financial institutions on lending transactions.
Funders are showing an increasing appetite to back investors and developers with a track record and their own money to invest. This is especially true where developments have already secured an established end user on their scheme, thus offering reduced lending risks.
Again, we have recently successfully completed a number of significant transactions where we have been acting for funders providing development finance on projects, investment funding on leveraged property portfolios and completely new banking facilities for corporate customers.
Our specialist work advising a national charity on its substantial network of retail outlets enables us to continue to develop our expertise in both the charity sector and retail portfolio management. At the same time we have completed a number of important transactions for clients in the healthcare sector including the development of a specialist rehabilitation centre.
The SDLT changes brought in on April 1 did make it potentially less attractive to invest in residential property but offered the opportunity to drive investment in mixed use and commercial property.
Despite buoyant conditions uncertainty around the Brexit has affected the market causing some companies and investors to delay investment decisions until the outcome of the referendum is known.
Brexit has made some purchasers more cautious whereas other commercial property operators have been keen to push through deals ahead of the vote to avoid any scope for key terms being renegotiated.
We are looking forward to certainty being created by the result of the vote.