Brexit & The Illusion of Democracy

The FTSE plummeted, sterling plummeted and various open ended property funds halted redemptions.

Panic in the streets, mob rule – The end is nigh!

Except World War III has not erupted. The Conservatives quickly found a new prime minister and the austerity budget we were promised by Osborne was immediately shelved by him – what a surprise!

Indeed I could list the lies from both camps in the run up to the referendum – £350m a week to be given to the NHS anyone??? But frankly I don’t have the energy. The entire process was a disgrace.

Nevertheless the result came as a surprise to most in London, so we saw an immediate panic in the stockmarkets and various scare stories about the property market fuelled by some property funds halting redemptions.

But this is not a repeat of 2008.

There have been buyers for the assets as shown by Aberdeen Asset Management’s sale of their Oxford Street building for £124m.

Now I have been using commercial property to highlight a point. It doesn’t matter what market we are talking about; it could be property, classic cars or stamps. They all have one thing in common: human nature.

And humans, on the whole, are not logical. We are driven far more by our emotions than we are by facts. Even worse, we often mistake opinions for facts or look at the wrong facts when making decisions – this is why Bernie Madoff succeeded in duping so many people.

You can see from the FTSE 100 & S&P 500 that there have been some fairly wild gyrations which can have nothing to do with the underlying value of the companies in the indices. It is fear and greed.

So let’s go back to the property market. Prices are definitely down. However, there is not a liquidity issue – there are very few forced sellers and very few good quality properties available at prices that I think are attractive. But then I often say this in a strong market too. The difference is that in a strong market even the average and poor properties will be in demand.

The good news is that there are opportunities and we have agreed favourable terms on four excellent properties for our members since the Referendum. Indeed we have also been extremely busy taking on new members as both UK and international buyers see this as an opportunity. There are two underlying reasons for this:

  1. Sterling weakness coupled with lower prices
  2. The belief that London will still be a global powerhouse in 50 years

And if you believe that London will continue to be a global super city, then now is an opportunity just as 1998 (and the market turmoil then) also proved to be an opportunity, despite the massive upheaval and negative press at the time.

You must, however, be very selective and have a very clear understanding of what prices are doing in your target market.

If you would like to receive further information on this and a complimentary copy of my report, Brexit & The Illusion of Democracy, please email quoting LRE or call 0800 389 4280 (or +44800 389 4280 from outside the UK) and quote LRE.

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