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Property will bounce back, says LandSecs

<div>LAND SECURITIES, the UK&rsquo;s largest property developer, yesterday signalled that the worst of the property slump was over and said it was&nbsp;gearing up for recovery.<br /><br />After months in the investment wilderness, the firm said it was preparing to join a growing legion of opportunistic buyers keen to exploit a sharp 45 per cent fall in values since June 2007.<br /><br />Chief executive Francis Salway said: &ldquo;Although property values are still declining, growing investor interest is now evident.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;With a strengthened balance sheet we are now assessing opportunities for new investment.&rdquo;<br /><br />Land Securities posted a loss of &pound;4.8bn for the year to 31 March as the embattled commercial property market suffered, but has since sold &pound;519.4m of property and completed a &pound;756m rights issue, strengthening its balance sheet.<br /><br />Research group Investment Property Databank also said yesterday the monthly slump in commerical property pricing had slowed to 0.9 per cent in June, against 1.6 per cent in May.<br /><br />Land Securities, which owns close to &pound;10bn of property across Britain, said it was firming up plans to begin construction on two large developments in London&rsquo;s West End.<br /><br />Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said: &ldquo;Management optimism is being backed by concrete action, with two new London developments due to be commenced next year, while group debt is being reduced.&rdquo;<br /><br />Bowman added: &ldquo;This update is likely to reinforce investor hopes that the very worst of the property shakeout is over.&rdquo;<br /><br />Shelbourne House on Victoria Street and Park House on Oxford Street are expected to open late 2012. But the group said it had no immediate plans to start work on the &ldquo;Walkie Talkie&rdquo;, the City office.</div>