During the last recession, the Kent commercial property market, in particular, was seriously affected, with values dropping in some areas by as much as 40%.
The market began to recover in early 2014 and into 2015, with gradual, modest increases in rents and capital values in major property sectors; particularly within larger towns. Investment properties became particularly attractive, with many investors who had been priced out of London, regarding Kent values and returns as attractive prospects.
However, investor interest became noticeably more cautious in early 2016 and was put down to the prospect of the then looming EU referendum. On the other hand, the majority of the market continued as it had been since 2014; confidence was high and transactions continued. Then the UK voted to 'Brexit' the EU.
Now, daily articles inform on the impact of this decision and the potential outcomes. Businesses and correspondents differ in their opinion with some convinced that a recession is on the horizon, and others are quick to promote any positive aspects of Brexit.
Three BBC business news stories, all published during the dying days of July, illustrate this divergence.
The first is a report on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showing that the UK second-quarter gross domestic product grew faster than expected – up to 0.6%, from 0.4% in the previous quarter.
The second documents how GlaxoSmithKline has announced it is to invest £275m to expand its UK manufacturing sites (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36901027), whilst the third recounts residential estate agency firm Foxtons has reported a 42% reduction in profits (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36922496).
In the immediate aftermath of the vote there was market turbulence, but in the last month transactions have continued and new instructions are being to be brought to the market.
Banks may reflect the uncertain post-Brexit mood in their lending, and some businesses could postpone decisions on expansion, investment and new premises.
One thing is for sure, that market sentiment has been affected by this uncertainty. However, it is easy to confuse other factors as being related to the Brexit decision. For example, the changes in Stamp Duty and Land Tax announced in the budget and introduced in April saw a rush for transactions to complete before the changes were implemented. This will have been reflected in the following quarters' figures.
It is still too early to judge the economic impact of the UK's decision to abandon its membership of the European Union and it would be easy to talk the country into a recession. But it is important to ask what we actually want.
Once Article 50 has been activated and negotiations between the EU and the UK commence, an eventual agreement for our future relationship with the EU will emerge. Thereafter, the market will be in a much better place to declare its considered reaction to this monumental decision.
However, there is no need for an immediate or knee-jerk reaction. Ashford is proceeding with a number of key development opportunities including leisure, commercial, residential and educational schemes; Ebbsfleet Garden City is progressing and permission has been granted for 154 new homes and a new 420-pupil primary school in Castle Hill, work is already under way on more than 470 homes and there is discussion on a commercial development around the station; and funding has been committed and a contractor appointed to deliver the St James 156,915 sq ft retail and leisure scheme in Dover.
So, for now, there is plenty to celebrate in the local market.
Caxtons is pleased to announce it has recently agreed a three year sponsorship with The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury
Caxtons already supports The Marlowe through its corporate membership and has now partnered with the award winning theatre by sponsoring its Discovery Scheme, which provides reduced price tickets for 16-26 year olds.
David Gurton, Marketing and Business Development director at Caxtons said "We are delighted to join forces with The Marlowe Theatre in this very worthwhile scheme. Our Canterbury office has a specialist student lettings division, dedicated to providing accommodation for those attending the University of Kent, Canterbury Christchurch University and UCA so this collaboration is a perfect fit with our core market."
Mark Everett, Theatre Director at The Marlowe added "We are delighted to welcome Caxtons as the sponsor of our Discovery Tickets scheme. Discovery Tickets help young people between the ages of 16 and 26 see a wide range of performances for just £10. Together with Caxtons, we can help more young people develop a love of theatre and live performance."
The Marlowe Discovery Scheme provides heavily discounted tickets for top-ticket shows. The scheme emulates an initiative that was successfully introduced by the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company some years ago.
Whether a novice or already a devotee, the scheme is designed to attract and enthral a younger audience and to inspire a fresh generation to become regular followers of the wonderful world of theatre.
Discovery Tickets can be purchased for seats in price band A, and with shows spanning theatre, comedy and music, there is always something to please every taste.
Caxtons is keen to support the scheme whenever and wherever it can and has recently commissioned a single decker bus back to promote the benefits of Discovery Tickets. The bus (21a) runs from Hales Place in Canterbury to The University of Kent, a route that is well used by students living in and around the city.
Three of the student lettings team from Caxtons recently joined Samantha Scott, Development Manager at The Marlowe, to cement the relationship and launch the scheme.
(l to r) Kevin Tubb, Brittany Holland, Daniel Eley all from Caxtons' Student Lettings division with Samantha Scott, Development Manager at The Marlowe
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors created RICS Matrics to nurture the interests of members whether new to, or those not long in the profession of surveying.
RICS Matrics Kent members have recently voted for their new local group board and Caxtons' staff have been elected to places at the top table.
Caxtons has always supported its trainees and graduate members of staff and is delighted that the following staff have been elected to the board:
James Roberts, a Commercial Agency Manager at Caxtons in Canterbury has been elected as Vice Chariman. James specialises in acquiring and disposing of commercial property for a range of clients.
Kazeem Agboola has been re-appointed as Treasurer. Kazeem's day job is a Commercial Property Manager and he is based in Caxtons' Gravesend Head Office in Windmill Street.
Tatenda Metzger has been elected as the Student Liaison member. She is a graduate surveyor in the Professional Department at Head Office.
Finally, Tom Foster has been appointed as a committee member (without portfolio) and is a graduate surveyor in the Building Department in Gravesend.
The 40 local RICS Matrics groups provide a network, support and a voice for its members as well as a source of energy for the surveying profession.
It is youthful, forward thinking and provides an environment of inclusion for its newest members to grow and feel like an integral part of the RICS.
Activities at the Kent group includes a monthly event and sporting activities for fun and friendships but focuses on networking to engender long lasting contacts with other professionals and developing their skills.