In November, UK investors continued to display caution as they withdrew funds from real estate investments for the second consecutive month, according to a report by fund network Calastone.
A total of £88 million ($110.70 million) was pulled from real estate funds, marking it as the second-worst month for property funds this year, following August’s net outflow of £121 million.
The decline in real estate investments was primarily driven by a reduction in buy orders, while sell orders remained relatively stable, as reported by Calastone.
The property sector faces multiple challenges, including weak tenant demand in commercial property, rising interest rates impacting capital values, and elevated finance costs squeezing profit margins.
Edward Glyn, Head of Global Markets at Calastone, referred to this as a “triple squeeze.”
Globally, real estate companies have encountered difficulties due to the increased cost of funding resulting from higher interest rates.
The Bank of England initiated 14 consecutive interest rate hikes from December 2021 until August of the current year, after which it temporarily halted further increases.
A report from Jefferies in September noted that London’s office market was experiencing a “rental recession” with workspace vacancies reaching a 30-year high.
Glyn indicated that the commercial property sector is likely to face ongoing challenges until the UK’s economic growth prospects demonstrate a decisive improvement.
In contrast to real estate funds, UK investors displayed greater confidence in equity funds during November.
Equity funds attracted net inflows totaling £449 million, signifying a potential turnaround following the £4.5 billion in overall outflows experienced between May and October, according to Calastone.
However, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) equity funds continued to see outflows, with a net loss of £524 million in November.
In contrast, fixed-income funds experienced “modest” net inflows for the first time in four months, gaining £256 million in total. This shift was attributed to a decline in bond yields.
In summary, UK investors exhibited a degree of caution in November by withdrawing funds from real estate investments for the second consecutive month.
The property sector faced multiple challenges, including weak demand, rising interest rates, and finance costs.
Conversely, confidence in equity funds improved, while ESG equity funds saw outflows. Fixed-income funds posted modest net inflows due to declining bond yields.