• UK hotel values outperform other property

Hotel property values dropped 18.4% during 2008 according to figures from Christie & Co, an outperformance compared to the wider commercial property sector which dropped 27.1% on figures from Investment Property Databank.

Part of the explanation lay with the way commercial property yields had dropped below 4% while hotels (with the odd exception) had stayed above 5%, said Chris Day, international managing director of Christie & Co.

The last major UK recession of the 1990s saw hotel values continue to fall for two years and, although circumstances are different, "there is no reason to believe they won't do the same", said Day.

Predicting how much more values would fall was harder, admitted Day. In the (very unlikely) event that trading holds up then there may not be further drops.

A small crumb of comfort comes from the help being offered to small businesses by the UK government. But there would be value opportunities. And banks had already geared up their restructuring teams, warned Day.

Leasehold businesses were currently being bought for between one and two times net profit. Day said buyers were looking to acquire businesses as they offered higher returns than almost anywhere else but he warned values would reflect the more cautious approach of lower leveraged investors.

In terms of deal flow, disaggregation would be the name of the game, predicted Day, with hotel portfolios broken up into smaller lots so that they could be more easily sold.

The IPD figures, which include offices, retail and industrial (but not hotels) showed that since the turn of the cycle in July 2007, UK commercial property had dropped in value by an average of 35.5%.

While hotels held up better than wider commercial property they were harder hit than the four other segments on which Christie & Co compile figures. Pubs were down 11.6%, restaurants down 14.9%, care homes down 16.9% and retail (which is largely convenience stores) was down 6.5%.

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