Lack of available finance and fears of a double dip recession puts brakes on office market recovery

British Land has reported a first quarter profit but a slowdown to just 2.2% growth in net asset value for the three months to 30 June.

Net asset value rose 2.2% to 515p a share, compared to 15.1% in the previous quarter. The slowdown is being put down to continued lack of finance and the fear of a double dip recession.

British Land’s net income for the period was £172m compared with a £273m loss for the same period last year and the value of its portfolio rose 1.4% to £8.68bn.

Pre-tax profit rose 3.2% quarter-on-quarter to £64m from £62m and its occupancy rate increased to 97.8%, up from 94% a year ago. Occupancy at its London office portfolio rose 4%to 96.6%. In its retail portfolio, the occupancy rate stood at 98.6%.

Chief executive Chris Grigg admitted that valuations had risen more slowly in the past quarter, reflecting a more uncertain economic outlook. But he added the British Land’s prime real estate was expected to perform well.

He said, “Overall, risks to the global economy seem to have increased in recent months and we remain alert to the potential impact of the fiscal measures needed to address budget deficits not only in the UK, but across Europe,

“While we would not be immune from any material reduction in consumer spending and business confidence, our prime real estate, underpinned by good tenant credit quality and high occupancy, is expected to perform well.”

Earlier this week British Land and private-equity firm Blackstone Group signed an agreement to develop a new London headquarters for Swiss bank UBS.