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COMMERCIAL PROPERTY NEWS

Recently there has been increasing interest in acquiring property through a self-invested personal pension (SIPP). With interest rates at a historic low and with little apparent prospect of significant change in the foreseeable future, resulting in derisory low returns on any savings, commercial property, with higher yields appears an attractive investment. However, before leaping in and buying the first commercial property you spot, it is important for investors to undertake due diligence and check the fundamentals of location, tenant covenant strength, market conditions and trends. Professional advice from a Chartered Surveyor is usually money well spent. We have provided a number of acquisition reports recently for SIPP investors, which has enabled them to make informed investment purchasers, with successful acquisitions being completed in Swindon, Newbury and Didcot. Everyone has seen Press reports of the strife in the high street. The latest is a report from the British Retail Consortium, which reports 10.3% of all shops are currently vacant, with 85,000 jobs lost in the last year. They expect the decline to continue in the face of weak consumer demand, Brexit uncertainty and the burden of excessive business rates and the apprenticeship levy. With the retail sector undergoing unprecedented structural change, particularly from internet trading, this is inevitably affecting the retail property sector. Does that mean you should avoid investing in retail property? In my view, not necessarily, particularly as retail yields have increased to unprecedentedly high levels, which means that historically cheap prices are available to savvy investors, who are willing to take some risks following due diligence. Location is as ever of fundamental importance and the ability to re-let the property when vacant is an important factor, as is the tenant’s ability to continue paying the rent and perform the lease obligations. It is also wise to be wary of certain property sub sectors. For example, banks have been closing branches across the country for several years. Research from Which? found banks had closed 3,300 branches in the past five years, over a third of their outlets. Often banks are in old buildings with ornate stone frontages, which can make re-letting a costly challenge. Recently, due to new Government legislation on fixed odds terminals in betting shops, closures are happening, with William Hill having just announced a 600 shop disposal plan. So, now is not a good time to buy an investment let to a bank or betting shop! Kilpatrick & Co will be bringing 3 investment properties to the market shortly, one let to a national charity. Details will be available on our website, www.kilpatrick-cpc.co.uk.