RE:WOMEN held its third event this year, on 19 September ’17, at the prestigious offices of Brown Rudnick in Mayfair, London. The evening commenced with the popping of prosecco and our guests mingling with their industry peers. The topic for our panel discussion was “Real Estate Financing: Trends and Challenges”, and hand picked for our panel discussion we had three incredible women representing three different institutions; Laura Denega from Quadrant, a US investment manager with approximately USD 9 billion assets under management, Gabrielle Berring from Lloyds, a prominent UK bank, and Omega Poole from Brown Rudnick a global law boutique with debt advisory services with offices in the UK, USA and France.
The prevailing themes that emerged during the individual talks were those revolving real estate financing pre- and post-Brexit. Pre-Brexit, the UK real estate market was robust with lending activity across a range of developments. Brexit, as per all three panelists, has had some minimal impact on the market so far, with 95% of the 250 lenders in the UK still active. However, the main change in the lending market has been felt in the falling LTVs and higher margins, plus limited appetite on speculative development. As Gabrielle stated, “lenders are now assessing value for money and the quality of the sponsor; management is everything”.
London is still seeing overseas money flooding in due to the weakened pound, buying into both commercial and residential real estate. In the second-tier markets, the three panelists acknowledged an increased willingness for fully pre-let developments, what they called ‘projects that can stand on their own feet’. Private equity firms are active as ever, and multi-family offices increasingly so, Omega explained.
Laura raised some very interesting facts on the new hot market that Quadrant is focused on: Dublin. Dublin has gathered attention since the Brexit vote, and Quadrant has identified a shortage of 300,000 homes, commercial requirements in the office sector and a need for new hotels.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and informative session with the audience raising many interesting and thought-provoking questions that provided an interactive finish!
We will soon be adding our next event to our website and we hope to see you there!
Photos of the evening below: