Our Association

The SPR has been representing property researchers since 1987.  Their seminars debate topical issues and the networking opportunities are unrivalled.  (They also count towards CPD hours.)  Junior analysts are able to rub shoulders with Heads of Research Departments often in informal situations.  SPR often collaborates with other associations to offer events with a wider appeal and is a member of the Property Industrial Alliance group.  Site visits are arranged for members to see 'behind the scenes' of major developments and SPR members also have the opportunity to access discounted rates to attend related courses and conferences organised by similar organisations.

Report on recent SPR event

Cycles Don't Have All The Answers

The SPR and IPF hold this joint seminar on European property markets annually, asking topical questions such as where we are in the real estate cycle and where we should invest next.  The latest edition, on Property Cycles in Continental Europe, was held on 14 September.

Property researchers shouldn’t just rely on cyclical patterns when predicting where markets are heading next, proposed Andrew Burrell, Head of EMEA Forecasting and Economics at JLL, speaking at the seminar.  Today’s evidence points toward an orderly correction in European markets as the current cycle moves into its latter stages – there isn’t much sign of overbuilding or overborrowing as yet – but very low interest rates mean that we are moving through uncharted territory.  And we have to remember that no recent cycle has ended well.

Burrell suggested that the pattern of Continental European cycles has recently been very similar to that in the UK. However some markets now look more overvalued than others, and most of these are in the Eurozone rather than the UK – a distinctly different situation to that prevailing a couple of years back.

Speaking at the same event, Kiran Raichura, Capital Economics’ European Property Economist, agreed that “commercial property pricing is beginning to look frothy” in the majority of European markets.  Yet Capital Economics’ model expects values to keep on rising through 2017 and 2018, only falling back between 2019 and 2021.  The Eurozone recovery still has some QE-driven momentum left, and interest rates here are unlikely to rise before 2019. 

In many cases European markets may indeed offer relatively good value compared to other global regions.  But “late cycle investing” means the need to pick markets carefully.   Greg Mansell, Head of Research Real Assets at AXA REIM, suggested a number of ways this might be achieved, such as identifying centres with the potential for growth in “knowledge capital,” as well a focus on logistics, hotel and healthcare markets.

Tim Horsey

Chair's blog

2017 will easily be remembered as the year SPR underwent significant ‘structural’ changes. A new website, a new logo and new faces on the team – none have been straightforward or without their difficulties but we are nevertheless now moving in the right direction. I am pleased to highlight a number of Society updates below, the most important being the SPR 30thanniversary conference on 7th September – we very much look forward to your participation on this landmark day.

SPR Property Research course in Cambridge on 4-5th December 2017: Thank you to Charles Conrath for insisting we offer the course once again and particularly Colin Lizieri and his team for hosting us.  Bookings should be made directly with the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge.

Employee changes: We have identified someone who will take on both the vacant membership secretary and event coordinator roles. The handover from Fiona Trott will start shortly and include website maintenance responsibilities – further details to follow. We have also hired Taylor Bennett, a professional event management company to deliver the 30th anniversary conference.

New website: Although later than planned, the new interactive website will be launched in September and we are busy getting to grips with it – please bear with us, and any teething problems that might occur!  In future you will be able to register yourselves online for events and in due course renew your subscriptions and update your personal details!  (But the fact that you are reading this blog means that we are now live!!)

New logo: After careful consideration of various different colour/font combinations, the committee settled with the current image. We very much hope you like it!

30th anniversary conference sponsors: We are delighted to announce that we have a full line-up of sponsors for our anniversary conference. Thank you all for supporting the event that will help propel our members into the next 30 years of the property research profession:

·         Priority sponsors: CoStarDatscha, Fidelity InvestmentsReal Capital Analytics

·         Standard Sponsors: Grosvenor, Macrobond

Lastly, I wish you all a peaceful summer break and I hope to see many of you at our popular summer drinks event kindly sponsored by Cobalt and Real Capital Analytics. I hear several of you have signed up to the Gin Infusion Masterclass – sounds dangerous. Enjoy!

Vanessa Muscarà
June 2017

30th Anniversary conference

We’ve only just begun.....
SPR 30th Anniversary Conference brainstorms the future while learning from the past!  At the same time as celebrating how far UK property research has come since its birth 30 years ago, this event also confirmed that the profession isn’t resting on its laurels.
Andrew Smith, SPR President and chair of the event held on 7 September at Cass Business School, said he left the conference confident that there would be plenty of challenges to excite the next generation of property researchers over the coming 30 years.  The role of the property researcher will still be to “create knowledge” – to ask difficult questions and answer them rigorously, as Matthew Richardson had proposed earlier in the day – but the questions themselves and the tools available for answering them would undoubtedly be different.
The event was not just a chance to tap into the wisdom of many of the most eminent names in UK property research, but also an opportunity for all levels of SPR members to come together and discuss some of the potential future drivers of real estate. Four breakout sessions considered the likely impacts of demography, government policy, climate change and digital innovation, all areas where new trends are emerging.  In debates that were inevitably wide ranging one thing was clear: researchers must keep their minds open to change and be ready for the unexpected. 
Indeed, earlier in the event Richard Barras had stressed that historically no one would have been able to predict the impact of the Internet, particularly for retail. But he noted that today we can identify a number of key developments for the future, like the effect of automation on employment and the threat posed by escalating private debt.
So how can property researchers make the most of the challenges that lie ahead?  Flexibility and adaptability would be key requirements, according to a panel that looked at the profession’s prospects – just because it is so difficult to predict how real estate as whole is going to change in the long run.  And while there is bound to be more automation in producing the researcher’s raw material – data – someone will always be needed to analyse its implications and explain them effectively within organisations.
A full report on the conference will be provided to SPR members shortly.