Fund Update – Q1 2021

Matthew Howard
Director, Property Fund

Like all sectors, 2020 brought its own unique and significant challenges, and Real Estate was no different.

The Balanced Commercial Property Trust. demonstrated the resilience of core quality real estate holdings with 87% rent income collected so far for Q2-Q4 2020. Rent collection for both the Industrial and Offices portfolios was close to 100% and the Manager has a number of exciting asset management initiatives and new tenants in the pipeline.

Most head winds have been faced in the retail and leisure sectors, namely at St Christopher’s Place in central London (the fund’s largest asset) where its virtues have been turned on their head by the pandemic (mix of tourist and office worker visitors and reliance on public transport).

During the periods between lockdowns, trade at the estate had been highly encouraging and the Manager has signed a number of new occupiers in recent months. This demonstrates how businesses are ‘looking through’ the pandemic and we expect the estate and other prime experience led retail/leisure holdings to rebound once restrictions are eased, particularly after tourists and office workers return meaningfully.

The next 18 months should also see the opening of the Elizabeth Line Bond Street station (Crossrail) on the doorstep of the estate. This has been a long time coming and is expected to be transformational for that part of Oxford Street and the surrounding environs.