There will not be the ‘carnage’ of the early 90s, but London’s property industry is in unchartered territory, according to top names speaking at Offices 08.
To maintain London’s status as one of the world’s leading financial centres, investment in infrastructure is essential, the panel also agreed.
Robert Fowlds, managing director of corporate finance at JP Morgan, said: ‘The key difference to the early 90s is that then, we lost 30 listed trader developers. I really don’t think we will see anything like that. I don’t see the carnage.’
However, Stephen Musgrave, UK managing director at Hines said that the industry was in ‘unchartered territory’, and he only expected a return from 2010 onwards.
The panelists agreed that London’s transport infrastructure was holding the capital back.
Paul Flynn, real estate director of Merill Lynch Europe, said: ‘It’s vitally important for us, Heathrow, plus Crossrail, plus Thameslink. It’s the key to driving London forward over the next 50 years, not just the next five.’
Toby Courtauld, chief executive of Great Portland Estates, said that Crossrail was important, but said he remained ‘sanguine’ about London’s prospects due to the population influx over the next few years.
He said: ‘Demand in the occupational markets is key. Supply is tight but it is about demand.’
Mike Hussey, managing director of Land Securities’ London portfolio, agreed, saying: ‘Even now, there are opportunities, at the product level and the demand level.’