Economist challenges ‘doomsayers’ over UK’s growth

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Walter Boettcher

Colliers International’s chief economic forecaster Walter Boettcher has challenged the ‘doomsayers’ to pinpoint threats to continued growth in UK economy through 2016.

In Bristol for a whistle-stop tour of leading city banks and institutions, Walter delivered an upbeat overview of national and regional business prospects into 2016 and beyond.

Walter challenged pessimistic economic forecasters to ‘show me the downside’ before launching into a sector by sector breakdown of current market drivers.

He said: “I can see momentum and a lack of volatility in property markets, hence I see robustness in the cycle.”

Walter delivered his upbeat forecast to specially invited audiences at half a dozen Bristol venues.

He said: “There is an extraordinary weight of foreign capital, with some $36 trillion global funds under management and an increasing percentage of this sum is likely to target property.

“Pension funds, for instance, are under pressure to increase returns and this is more likely to happen through property investment than relying on bonds – which are only returning around 2 per cent.”

Walter said prior to the 2007/8 crash the economy had been subject to mid-cycle slowdowns, rather than full recessions, and predicted the property market is showing signs of a similar pattern.

He said:“It ended in tears when we got carried away with debt levels. At some distant point in the future we may end up in tears again, but in the meantime the market looks stable, we can generate further value and drive the economy forward.”

“The allocation of global investment into property has been increasing since 2013. A 1 per cent increase equates to $360 billion investment in property. This is almost 40 per cent of the global total forecast for 2015.”

And Walter said investors were increasingly looking outside of London.

“Bristol will be ahead of the curve when it comes to rental growth. The prime headline rent is likely to top £30psf shortly.”