A number of UK property companies and funds have been active in this market over the last 12 months and overseas investors continue to look to this market within the UK to deploy their capital.

With growing demand from those quarters the development opportunities continue to be realised with high end residential elements a must have in all desirable schemes. As a result, a lot of traditional office developers have entered this market and a number of housebuilders are increasing their activity levels as they look to partner with landowners.

The overseas investors continue to be dominated by the Middle Eastern and far eastern sovereign backed investment vehicles, but there continues to be great interest from US private equity and Canadian pension funds. Whilst in central London there was a 30% increase in volume on 2011, outside the capital, a difficult market remained and with the exception of some single large investments in major cities it remained a tough place to do business.

Scandinavia and Germany remain solid real estate investment markets with the former having mainly avoided exposure to the continuing international banking uncertainties and the latter having a robust enough economy to withstand what is likely to be a tougher economic period than they have been used to. Russia continues to be a very dynamic market with investment and development opportunities. Southern Europe remains very fragile and though it offers what looks like some potential bargains, these come with high risks attached.

The second half of 2012 was a marked improvement on the previous 12 months and some of that relatively increased confidence has flowed into 2013. However, rather than talking about these gloomy days and harping back to 2007 it is time to accept that the current market levels should be known as the norm and aim to build from here.

The impact on recruitment and remuneration over the last year has been a direct result of the areas of the market with activity. So professionals with core investment backgrounds in primary markets are seeing salary uplifts and bonuses, whereas those areas with more muted activity are seeing more inflationary linked pay rewards. Overall, there is a pragmatic view in the markets where we operate with varying degrees of confidence about the year ahead, albeit healthy levels of recruitment activity.

Article first appeared in REurope Magazine, January/February issue.
Written by Christopher Mackenzie, Director – Cobalt Recruitment