LONDON Aug 11 Property investors should not
overestimate the impact of riots targeting high streets and
shopping malls in several key UK cities, or allow them to affect
decisions on committing money for developments, a lobby group
Late-night riots over the past week, mainly in London,
Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham, have seen shops torched
and shopping centres broken into.
"Whilst it is still early days, we would very much hope that
the property industry's ability and appetite for delivering
much-needed and sustainable development in UK towns and cities
will remain strong," BPF chief executive Liz Peace said.
"The sort of assets that attract large-scale and overseas
investment in commercial property are definitely still standing
and are largely unaffected," she told Reuters in an email.
Televised coverage of burning buildings and looting has
served as yet another negative in what has been a tough year for
the UK high street, with dismal vacancy rates, rents and capital
values, and a fresh round of retailers shutting up shop already
On Wednesday, industry experts said the riots may cause
property investors to think twice about pouring cash into retail
assets outside central London, undermining renewed interests in
already-struggling secondary locations.
This year, global investors have become increasingly keen on
out-of-London UK shopping centres, chasing attractive yields and
value-add opportunities. Possible mall buyers include a raft of
property companies, funds, and sovereign wealth funds from
around the world.
Shopping malls damaged in the riots included Hammerson's
Bullring in Birmingham and the Manchester Arndale
Centre, co-owned by Prudential and Capital Shopping Centres
. CSC and Hammerson were repairing their malls, which
So far, British police have arrested more than 1,000 people
across England after the surge of disorder struck the country,
leaving communities ransacked.
On Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron announced measures
to help businesses affected by the riots, such as a 20 million
pounds ($32 million) support fund and a pledge to examine rules
stopping shops from using protective shutters.
The British Council of Shopping Centres urged the government
on Thursday to provide more support to affected high streets by
reducing business rates.
Figures from Local Data Company showed more than 48,000 of
the 476,000 outlets it tracks had either directly or indirectly
been impacted by the riots, with 28 town centres across England
affected by the violence and looting.
($1 = 0.619 British Pounds)
(Editing by Andrew Macdonald)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Tom Bill)