Property Journal May-June 2016

Claudia Conway

Editor, Property Journal Commercial section (RICS)

A new fiscal year has begun, with a rather changed environment in UK real estate as the Chancellor’s changes affect commercial investors and those with more than one home to their name. It was clearly a bumper few months in the housing market in the lead-up to 1 April as investors rushed in to beat the higher tax deadline, especially with super-fast purchases at auction.

Property Journal May-June 2016

There is one group that may be less aware of their tax liabilities, however – owners converting their office buildings into housing. They should read Mark Tighe’s piece in this issue to ensure that they’re not missing out on capital allowance tax relief by leaving it too late to claim. There’s also a call for vigilance of a different kind for those in property conveyancing – mortgage fraud is a complicated crime, hard to spot until it is too late and the malefactor is long gone, leaving a trail of cost and distress behind them. Mark Brassey and James McWilliams look at how to minimise your chance of being cheated. The invisible perpetrators of cyber crime are discussed elsewhere in this issue – the property sector is not doing enough to protect itself from this increasingly common threat, but Peter Armstrong’s article is a good start for thinking about how to manage your risk, however large or small your business.

This issue also examines some of the problems and opportunities in the UK regions, with Legal and General Investment Management’s approach to regional growth potential on one side and an examination of commercial viability issues on the other. There are high hopes for George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – but will it be enough to help overcome the viability barrier identified by Allison Blakeway?

With the housing crisis still nowhere nearer a solution, off-site manufacture is in focus in Residential. Despite quality assurance schemes to reassure funders and lenders, why has this potential answer not found the support it has in many other countries? We would be interested to hear readers’ opinions on this. Finally, we are pleased to share some important reflections from RICS Chief Executive Sean Tompkins, on our COP21 commitments and what members can do to help fight climate change. If you’re doing innovative work to support a sustainable future, do get in touch with the Property Journal so that we can highlight what’s happening on the ground. Please get in touch with Claudia Conway for commercial, personal and property, or Jan Ambrose for residential.

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