SME failures will hit commercial values


I wanted to be a commercial property investor from an early age as I had a penchant for small businesses and thought being a landlord would give me a good insight into how different enterprises functioned.

The rudiments of capitalism that helped mould our economy were born from ideas that matured into businesses and grew into corporations. This part of our society has been resilient and received support from public and private sector initiatives.

So it pains me to see how many small and medium-sized firms are disappearing. As we are regularly offered all types of commercial property, we have a good idea of how businesses are performing.

Lately, I have noticed a change in the sentiments of commercial property owners who are keen to sell. Those who call us have seen the value of their investments fall as their tenants failed. A report by the Federation of Small Businesses has revealed that as many as 1,700 members collapse each month.

As more firms go under, the number of vacant shops and offices will rise, and to attract new occupiers rents will have to fall. This will hit commercial property values, which are predicted to decline further in 2011.

With rationed lending, tax rises and spending cuts, conditions for businesses will remain challenging.

Since 90% of small and medium-sized firms rely on effectively just four banks, they will need to consider alternative forms of capital raising such as sale-and-lease-backs to survive.