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NARA conference identifies chinks of light in property sector pointing to early signs of recovery

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - NARA conference identifies chinks of light in property sector pointing to early signs of recovery“Small increases in activity in many sectors are leading the way to a recovery”, were the cautiously optimistic words from the speakers at NARA’s Annual Conference (The Association of Property and Fixed Charge Receivers) as they identified some early signs that the property sector was starting to recover from the recessionary period.  

Speaking to nearly 200 property receivers and guests in Haberdashers’ Hall in London, Julian Healey, Chair of NARA, challenged the speakers and delegates to put forward their views as to whether they felt that the UK property sector was emerging from the stagnant position of the previous few years.

Nick Howard, Director of Policy at The Insolvency Service was cautious: “There aren’t many signs of recovery yet, but there is much more optimism and this will help a move to recovery forward.

Businesses are still sitting on decisions and banks don’t want to push businesses over the edge.”

Nick also addressed some developments within the Insolvency Service including a reform of the complaints package, a review of Insolvency Practitioners fees and the results of the OFT report. “A significant role that we have is in enforcement. Over the last 2-3 years bankruptcies have fallen from 80,000 a year to around 25,000. Director disqualifications stand at around 1,200 a year and criminal prosecutions at about 120 a year. We have important powers which we shall continue to use, but there are questions as to whether we have sufficient resources or teeth to carry out the role that is needed.”

Giles Barrie, MD for Strategic Communications at FTI Consulting and former Editor of Property Week was more optimistic: “There is a general increase in activity this year which I believe means we have turned a corner. In the City, empty offices are filling up and the retail sector is fighting back. Digital businesses are very marginal and the current bitter mood towards the likes of Google and Apple on the lack of tax payments may have an effect on property in the retail sector. Crossrail will redefine London and Maidenhead and already rental prices in some relevant areas are having a big impact. A weak recovery is underway, but I believe the signs are good.”

Adrian Wyatt OBE, the founder of property developer Quintain highlighted the difference between London and the rest of the country. “It is almost as if London is a City state – with residential
properties there are some areas, in particular in London, which are selling very fast. But the north-south divide is of great concern - northern cities are being elbowed out of recovery. We also need to take much greater concern over external factors such as climate change, the food chain into urban environments and affordable housing. There are some positive signs that recovery is on the
way, but there are many factors to influence that recovery.”

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 31st May 2013 (updated 09/06/2013)

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