For Mike Slade, the property veteran and Helical Bar chief executive, the severe downturn in the commercial property market is a 'once or twice' in a lifetime buying opportunity.

However, despite what he calls mouth watering prices, Slade said that he remained patient and would wait until next spring or summer before buying assets.

'We are seeing stuff at mouth watering prices, but it [the market] is still a falling knife,' he said. 'We're approaching the nadir, which will be shortly after the March valuations next year.'

Slade is likely to pounce on properties in partnership with a private North American opportunity fund, with which he has set up a relationship. He declined to name the private equity partner but said that Helical Bar has about £72m of its own cash for purchases and would look at any property assets with yields of above 8.5%.

The Times, Daily Telegraph