THE HEAD of a property firm which has £1bn to spend on commercial assets believes the Tour de France has helped to put Yorkshire on the map for UK and international property investors.
Xavier Adam, managing director of AMC Network UK, said the company was bidding on three or four big deals in Leeds as investors turned their attention to UK regions.
Mr Adam, who grew up in Harrogate, said: “A year ago it was hard because there wasn’t a lot of interest in the North from investors but suddenly there was a tipping point.
“Tour de France really helped to put Yorkshire out there with all the great publicity.
“A lot of people in the South and overseas didn’t really know about the North unless they had been to university in one of the cities but now they are interested in what it has to offer.”
AMC Network UK looks for tenanted properties across the industrial, office, healthcare and retail sectors for its clients. It works with about 20 big investors, including a handful of regular clients.
About 85 per cent of investors it works with are based overseas. Mr Adam said investors from Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore and China, were currently driving the market, overtaking North America.
The £1bn the company has to spend is from three different investors. About £200m will be spent in Western Europe in Spain, Italy, France and Germany. About half of the remaining money will be invested in UK regions.
The company, which is headquartered in London but has about 30 staff across the globe, is currently considering six or seven properties between £20m-£30m in Yorkshire.
“Yorkshire is very big for our investors at the moment,” said Mr Adam. “It’s a big vote of confidence for the region.”
“At one stage we mainly dealt with offices but we are now finding more value in retail, industrial and distribution centres. Healthcare is also a new thing for us.”
Mr Adam said the investment market was busy but believed the scale of activity had been hyped. “A lot of funds are interested in the regions but there is still a lot of hype.
“There is a lot of activity in the market but it’s not moving as quickly as many would portray. But it’s still another world to where we were three years ago.”
He added: “It is hard to make a profit in central London so international investors are prepared to look at the regions, particularly big cities like Leeds and Sheffield.”
Mr Adam believes the property investment market will cool down a little over the next year following a frenzy of activity in the last eight or nine months.
“Some vendors have unrealistic expectations about international money flooding in,” he said. “These people have money but they aren’t stupid. They will pay a fair price but they aren’t going to be ripped off.
“It’s a good thing because the market needs a reality check and tenants need to find the money from somewhere when their rent goes up.”
He added: “I don’t think the market will overheat but the London market will slow down and everything else will follow.
“The commercial investment market will slow down slightly but not collapse. Long-term holders of property are thinking it’s a good time to sell at the moment.”