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Property - Still The Way Forward?

Adam Lawrence, Property entrepreneur and co-founder of Partners in Property, comments

Come on. Be honest. Let’s face it. You’ve asked yourself that question, haven’t you, at some point over the past year or so? Even the most ardent of true believers is allowed to have a wobble, don’t worry. In that fine balance between staying well-informed and starting to believe the hype that the comedy economists in the mainstream news try and shove down our necks on an hourly basis, it’s impossible not to get distracted and influenced at least sometimes.

I get asked a lot as to when I will ever stop buying - or, as some people prefer to frame it, how much is enough? An impossible question for me to answer, because the mentality needed to scale a business is to work somewhere close to all the hours that you can, using all of the proceeds that you can for further growth. I didn’t get seduced into the industry by a slick training programme; I simply worked out for myself back in 2011 that property was the way forward and then devoted the mental resources I had into mapping out the bottlenecks and trying to take them out before they choked off my business growth. So, there was no preconception of income replacement or “sacking the boss”, and I never even started down that track.

Instead, I built a machine that worked and within eight years was working extremely well - then the pandemic changed everything. Well, we say that don’t we, but we don’t mean everything. Property as an asset class proved its robustness - that incredibly low volatility in times of extreme turbulence for other assets - particularly residential property. Commercial is too sensitive to the interest rate even if you have no leverage and that’s played out since around Q3 2021 - not that commercial property is a bad investment, but the levered returns compared to the volatility are not particularly impressive when put side by side with residential.

Things change and part of the feature of property as an asset class is that they don’t tend to change that quickly. However, the readjustment to a more “2000s” level of interest rather than a “2010s” level of interest has been comparatively fast. There’s no way that - as yet - we’ve truly seen the range of outcomes from this specific hiking cycle play out. 

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