EDITOR'S LETTER: All eyes on Q2 and H2

There seems to be consensus in the market that Q2 leading into H2 this year is when trading activity will pick up considerably.

That view is coming from many diff erent people within European property. While it is basically an admission that Q1 has been pretty weak, it is also representative of an optimistic
viewpoint that things will get better.

In the largest asset class – offices – vendor activity has picked up in recent weeks, reports Chris Staveley, head of office capital markets EMEA at JLL. In an interview with PropertyEU, he
says: ‘We have been reporting and pitching daily, so there is more product which will be off ered into the market during Q2.’

Demand is coming from many places, most notably Germany and France. Now we just need real progress in the freedom to travel so that assets can be viewed properly rather than trying to rely on virtual tours to buy and sell them.

The retail sector has been very quiet, but with shopping centre discounts in Europe reaching as much as 50%, as reported by Jane Roberts, perhaps clearing prices can be reached to provide a shot in the arm to that sector, and Brookfield’s agreement for Hammerson’s retail parks helps too.

Logistics transactions continue to sail along, so no change there. The one big issue in that asset class is the availability of development sites to build the warehouses that are so in demand, as my colleague Marianne Korteweg reports as part of our annual Top Logistics Developers ranking.

Meanwhile, alternatives and specialist assets remain a fascinating growth area. We have endeavoured to shine a torch on firms and people making moves that you may not necessarily be aware of in areas such as science parks, data centres, single family residential, healthcare and student accommodation. And what to think about virtual land?

At the heart of the growing interest in alternatives is the ‘illiquidity premium’ from scarce, specialised property which is generally not available in traditional asset classes. My thanks to Primonial’s Daniel While for setting out his explanation on why this area of real estate is in such demand.

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