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Land Securities chief executive says Brexit would create shock in property market

Land Securities chief executive Robert Noel has warned of a “demand shock” in the property market should the UK leave the European Union.

The CEO said there was “nervousness” among occupiers with UK offices due to the unknown consequences of leaving the EU.

“If we left EU that would create a demand shock. The problem of leaving the EU is no one knows what this would look like,” he said.

”[If you were a] business leader [you have to ask yourself] what decision do you take?” 

In April last year, HSBC warned of the economic risks of the UK pulling out of the EU as it revealed it was considering moving its London headquarters abroad.

Grosvenor chief executive Peter Vernon echoed Mr Noel’s concerns, adding that “business thrives on reducing risk”.

“If we vote to come out, we don’t know what we are voting for and that will create uncertainty and risk,” he said.

The CEOs were speaking this morning on a Movers & Shakers panel, along with British Land chief executive Chris Grigg and Taylor Wimpey boss Pete Redfern, who expressed agreement with the comments.

Asked what was in store for the developers in the near-term, Mr Noel reiterated Land Securities’ decision to no longer speculatively develop after its current development programme comes to an end in September 2016.

The developer has completed £3bn of speculative development since 2010, including the 200,000 sq ft 123 Victoria Street, which he said was now fully-let.

However, the chief executive said he expected leasing activity to decrease this year.

On transport, all four of the chief executives argued that Crossrail 2 should begin immediately after Crossrail is finished.

Audience member and deputy mayor for housing, land and property Richard Blakeway was asked whether this would actually happen, to which he answered “yes”.

CN Developer Forum 2016

Construction News will host the second annual CN Developer Forum in London on 9 June 2016.

Among the companies due to speak at the event are Legal & General, Hammerson, First Base, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, NOMA, Foster + Partners and many more…

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