Building buttonholes British Property Federation CEO
What do you think of the mood here this year?
We’ve only been here for about 30 minutes! It’s difficult to tell at the moment but I think it does feel as though everything is a bit bigger and better and more positive than it has been for a while. Stands look more substantial.
There has been a lot of talk about overseas investment in the UK. Is that something you have noticed increase over the last 6-9 months?
Yes - I have and I think you’re right. There was a view a year or so ago that there was all of this overseas investment. But in reality - no matter how rich, say, a sovereign wealth fund is, they will only invest if they think there is something worth investing in. In London things have started to improve and we are seeing more of a flow of overseas investment now - particularly in high end residential. It’s not river-like though, but it’s not glacial either. Somewhere in between the two. I am not sure what that would be!
Do we really want overseas firms that might not fully understand us taking over swathes of London?
What sort of impact do you think this will have on the UK market?
I actually think people need to be more aware of the whole picture. Do we really want overseas firms that might not fully understand us taking over swathes of London? It’s not foreign companies across the board - I think firms like Brookfield, Lend Lease and Oxford Properties - American, Canadian and Australian firms - are culturally more aligned with us. Much more than a sovereign wealth fund from Malaysia for example. And people should be more interested, or even concerned about what this means