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What is the future of commercial real estate law?

Commercial Offices

SearchFlow one of the biggest conveyancing search providers in England and Wales has over 2,500 legal clients and conducts more than 1 million searches every year.

On the 17th of May SearchFlow's web seminar will brings together leading lawyers and practitioners to discuss the future of commercial real estate law.

Titled 'Building for a Stable Future: Legal Firm Perspectives on Commercial Real Estate'�, the event will be moderated by Tracy Burtwell, Sales Director at SearchFlow and will feature James Cottrell, Head of Commercial Real Estate at Taylor Walton, and Ryan Davies, Real Estate Knowledge Lawyer at Gowling WLG.

The webinar, says SearchFlow forms part of a continuing dialogue between the company and industry experts in the commercial real estate sector. It follows up on research commissioned by SearchFlow late last year on the future of commercial real estate law, and a forthcoming report based on in-depth interviews on the topic with James Cottrell, Ryan Davies and Kelly Peck of Barr Ellison LLP.

SearchFlow's Tracy Burtwell says:

'The pace of change is accelerating and increasingly, new technologies are wrapped around data in innovative ways, upping the competitive ante. It is, therefore, hugely important to understand how our clients and end users are interpreting and adapting to the evolving demands of major projects and to advances in technology.

'Commercial real estate is of particular interest to us, given our wide footprint in this sector and continually evolving product suite designed for commercial real estate law firms. This webinar offers a timely opportunity to look into the future and discuss what lies ahead.'�

The webinar will commence on Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 12.30pm BST and will cover topics as diverse as the commercial impact of hybrid working for law firms, the level of ESG-readiness in the commercial real estate sector, and 'the logic behind technology investment decisions as the industry attempts to contextualise and embrace digital transformation.'�

Interested professionals can register for the webinar at:

How the commercial property market has changed

The commercial real estate sector has seen significant change and challenges over the last decade. It was hit hard by the financial crash in 2008-09, especially those property companies that were exposed with significant speculative developments, borrowings and high interest charges.

But this experience instilled some discipline; the market was ruthless and almost indiscriminate and eventually resulted in property companies putting their houses in order. It was perhaps just as well as coming down the track was one major challenge after another.

Getting debt levels under control and with a low interest rate environment most property companies since the 2008-09 crash have been in better a position to navigate the challenges of first Brexit, then Covid and now the cost of living crisis, inflation and the war in Ukraine. What's more, most older commercial properties will need substantial investment to bring them up to the new environmental and energy efficiency standards.

Navigating the pandemic proved particularly challenging for commercial landlords as businesses and tenants struggled to trade and pay rent. Rent collection rates fell and are only now beginning to recover as the economy opens up again.

One feature of this last property cycle has been the lack of investment, leading to a shortage of supply. Landlords have been more cautious, focusing on on income and diversification. There are opportunities out there for those willing to be brave. In particular, conversions between retail and residential or leisures uses, and industrial / warehousing offers positive opportunities.

In an inflationary environment, where cash value erodes at (currently) approaching 10% per year, having money invested in property projects at reasonable loan rates is likely to be a good long-term strategy.


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