Saturday, August 13, 2022

Local property firms face stiff international competition

The local property consultancies in Manchester are facing the onslaught of global property investors

The property scene in Manchester is changing fast. There are regular additions to the number of international property investors in the city now and the city is fast becoming a globally-oriented property investment destination. An increasing number of property investors from different parts of the world are investing in the city as it attracts the attention of global property bigwigs.

More international property players are now interested in investing in the city, making it hard, if not impossible, for small players to deliver. Manchester’s property scene is getting newer by the day because of the international element to the changes that come with such large-scale investments. The local property firms with limited resources are finding it increasingly difficult to perform in such a scenario which involves high-profile investments, resources and expertise. The property scene in the city is being practically taken over by the big names in real estate from across the world. Therefore, with Manchester going global in the property sector, the scenario for small operators is grim because of their limited resources.

One of such Manchester-based firms is WHR Property Consultants that was founded by Mark Williams and others in 2004 in the midst of upheaval in the sector and continued to perform till then. The company’s founders were Manchester-based property professionals, who worked for Lambert Smith Hampton but left it to set up the new practise. The partnership focussed on Manchester’s city centre and developed a strong market presence. The 35-strong company has been involved in many high-profile property transactions within the region.

It has provided complex professional and consultancy services and ground-breaking appeals in the area of business rates to a wide variety of national and international clients. However, after performing for a decade, it now finds itself lacking in resources to expand as it solely depends on internal financing by recycling profits and never borrowed for the purpose. But, for expansion, it needed more resources to add to its valuation, residential land and development teams. However, things are changing now as it has signed a deal with the Canada-based Avison Young. The deal is expected to close next month. With the takeover, the company will be rebranded as Avison Young and Mark Williams will oversee the company’s north-west operations as the managing director of the company after the takeover as well as manage the company’s day-to-day operations. Along with him, Gareth Buckley, Mike Rooney and Dan Crossley will also join the multinational as Principals and collaborate with other Principals in the country.

Avis Young is a multinational, with offices across the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Beginning as a company with only 11 offices, it now operates with 81 offices in 73 markets and 2,600 employees in different parts of the world. It will be Avison Young’s fifth office in the UK and eleventh one in Europe. The rapid expansion of the multinational was due to its aggressive marketing strategy which saw its quick expansion in the past 9 years. However, it is interesting to note that it operated the same way – as WHR operates at present – like a partnership.

Mark Williams says that it is more difficult for the local property consultancies to operate now than it was 10 or 20 years ago. He says that in the present times, doing something on small scale is hard. It is partly because of the international nature of market which means one has to be more than just aware of the market on global scale rather than relying solely on the local market scene.


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