Industry views on 'frozen' Manchester commercial property market

Industry views on 'frozen' Manchester commercial property market


By Katie-Jill Rowland


Last week Manchester property consultant, David McKee, told the Manchester Evening News that demand for smaller shops and offices across the North West had virtually ground to a halt.

He also said that commercial property transactions were very low in the area.

“Lack of finance is the main reason. The banks are saying loans are available for property investment, but there are countless examples of investors gong to the banks for loans and being turned down by the bank’s credit committee,” said Mr McKee.


But not everyone agrees the problem is specific to Manchester. Associate Director for the NACFB Nikki Cann said: “Businesses are certainly having to work harder to access any lending, but that is true universally and not something specific to Manchester. In its favour, Manchester is the base for a number of specialist bridging finance companies, who might be able to help in specific, short term funding cases.”


Simon Ismail, of the Manchester-based bridging lender Goldentree Financial Services, agrees the problem is national rather than Manchester specific. “If we take London out of the equation, I think that the situation is the same across the UK. The only reason Manchester is being highlighted is because it is the second biggest city after London,” said Mr Ismail.


“As one of the major short term lenders in Manchester we are trying hard to help small businesses who may not be able to get bank-funding. We want to kick start the market,” he added.


While Mrs Cann said that NACFB members hadn’t noticed any ‘marked increase’ in the number of requests for funding, Mr Ismail pointed to an increase in applicants seen by Goldentree.


However, SMEs lack of knowledge in finding alternative forms of funding has been much publicised of late, a factor which could have led to Mr McKee calling the market ‘stalled’.


Bridging and Commercial’s resident blogger Bob Havenhand of Citri brokerage said: “There are loans available, it is just a case of looking in different places. 


“Whenever a client has come to me seeking finance for this type of investment I have not failed to find it. There are some willing high street lenders out there and there are also other sources of finance.”


Bob added: “Bridging may be an alternative form of finance for people, as they could switch over to alternative funding at a later stage when banks are perhaps more willing to lend. For people who are really struggling to find funding I would tell them to approach a professional broker.”

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