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Hammerson property value up 7.8pc

The value of Hammerson’s property increased in value by 7.8 per cent to £4.54 per share in the first six months of 2010, compared to £4.21at the same point in 2009, the firm revealed today.

A solid performance in lettings has seen the firm’s occupancy rate increase to 96 per cent to 30 June 2010, compared to 95 per cent in 2009.

Commenting on the results, Hammerson chairman John Nelson said: “Although our markets have continued to recover from recession over the first half of 2010, the outlook remains uncertain. Against this background we are maintaining a clear focus on improving our portfolio, maximising the income from each of our assets and sound financial management.”

Pre tax profits increased by £4.6 million during first half of its financial year, to £70.2m, despite rentail income falling from £156.4m in 2009 to £140m in 2010.

Mr Nelson also said that its markets have continued to recover in the last few months, while increased levels of investment activity have been sustained.

The central London office market is a particular bright spot in the future.The statement added: “Demand for office space in Central London reached a three-year high during the first quarter of the year, as an increasingly optimistic finance and business services sector took advantage of lower rents and generous incentive packages.”

“Although equity markets fell sharply in the second quarter and Central London take-up softened, the availability of space reduced, putting further upward pressure on headline rents and shortening incentives.”

This statement confirms anectodal evidence seen elsewhere, with rental pressures pushing up values of prime central London commercial property and encouraging development.

Hammerson projects on hold

Hammerson admitted today that all new work is on hold and that, in anticipation of an improved trading environment, several jobs are in the planning, legal and design pipeline.

John Nelson, who chairs the firm, said: “Major retailers have a clear preference for stores in robust retail locations. Accordingly we believe our regionally dominant centres will continue to outperform secondary locations.”