Times Like These
20th April 2020
It seems odd writing articles for our newsletter in these strange times. Whilst no doubt like others, there is (in theory at least) more time to do so, in other respects the natural flow doesn’t seem quite so natural at the moment. So as with every crisis, we need to find ways to come out stronger and better. When the Foo Fighters wrote the song – “Times like These” way back in 2002, I am sure David Groll et al would never have envisaged the lyrics being applied in the time of a global pandemic. The chorus of “we learn to live again, we learn to give again and we learn to love again” may just give us all some food for thought, as we sit at home in lockdown.
The current situation clearly brings new challenges to us all. Many of these challenges are similar for each of us, but we also have to be mindful that there are challenges being faced that are very individual in their nature; these can be as different as coping with young children with no garden, being separated from elderly family members, family units with two working parents and individuals living alone. Whether as friends, colleagues or employers, understanding what each other’s challenges are and realising that everyone will feel differently at different times, is the most important factor in helping each other through this period.
As well as these personal challenges, we are all in different ways facing the reality of a shrinking economy. Although the government has moved swiftly to try and mitigate some of the impact through the furlough scheme and a raft of other measures, no one is quite sure what the outcome will be as we come out of lockdown and how quickly these measures will enable the economy to recover and over what timescale. The property market, which forms part of the DUAL Asset core business, is in a particularly uncertain time, with the housing market effectively halted and only 57% of the March rents due across the commercial sector being paid. Whilst the effects of this for landlords and tenants alike will not truly be known for a few months, there are still signs of parts of the market continuing to work. Warehouse REIT, one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trusts, reported that 75% of its March rent roll had been paid, which was in line with a normal quarter. Elsewhere, Blackstone announced it had raised €9.8bn for its latest European Real Estate Fund, which it would start to deploy on deals over the coming months. And in the Celtics, DUAL Asset have launched a new product to help conveyancers ease the pain of the land registry closures.
So against the backdrop of these positives – Times like These, may just remind us all, that if we really think about it, maybe there is an alternative to the relentless pace of life, the amount of quality time we spend with our families and the way we treat people around us. How we deal with this situation as either individuals or companies, and the changes that we make, will define how we are viewed in years to come.
Andrew Hillier, Executive Chairman DUAL Asset
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