BL adds to commercial property forecast


British Land (BL) has predicted a quick recovery in commercial property markets.

Chief executive officer, Stephen Hester, told the Reuters Global Real Estate Summit, the market was not expected to recover until 2009 "at the earliest".

He compared the current situation with a similarly difficult period in the 1990s and explained commercial property players had been surprised by recent rapid falls.

Mr Hester said previously it "took four years for the markets to recover but I very much doubt that it will take that long this time".

Almost half of BL’s portfolio (40 per cent) is in the London office market and it recently sold the Willis Building to Kuwaiti investors for £400 million.

It is increasingly common for foreign cash rich funds to buy commercial property in London – investors from Ireland and Germany have joined with buyers from the Middle East to take advantage of the city’s competitive commercial property prices.