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Dr Walter Boettcher, our Chief Economist has commented on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement today

30 04 20 london offices

Dr Walter Boettcher, Chief Economist at Colliers International has commented on Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement today.

He said: “The Chancellor’s emergency plans look to be based on the assumption of continued recovery, rather than mitigating a new downturn. The latest data suggests that Q3 2020 will see positive GDP growth. Further support for the economy though is welcome and was anticipated by many as part of either an Autumn Spending Review or Annual Budget. This was not to be and, unfortunately, the Government is still shackled by its virus response and unable to progress its potentially transformative infrastructure and regional investment programme. 

“The good news is that the new Jobs Support Scheme and other measures to support business cash flows, including the ‘Pay as You Grow’ loan extensions and reduced VAT extensions, is financially sustainable. Despite net debt rising to over 100% of GDP, interest rates are very low and interest payments were falling in Q2 both in absolute terms and as a percentage of central government receipts. 

“Unfortunately, the new advice to ‘work at home if possible’ will flatten the trajectory of recovery as ancillary economic activities dependent on office working loses momentum. While business and financial services (including real estate professional services) will continue to be relatively resilient, the incipient recovery in the ‘bricks and mortar’ consumer economy may stall. 

“Before the latest statements, commercial real estate transactional markets looked poised for a reasonable year end. International travel may remain impaired, but physical access to assets has improved and an investment appetite is undiminished. Furthermore, market metrics are still favourable for the UK. Undervalued sterling and international yield arbitrages still offers advantages for cross border investors and debt is generally available. Questions about the sustainability of property income streams remain, but this may eventually prove to have been a short-term issue in a long-term market.”

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Walter Boettcher

Head of Research and Economics

Research and Forecasting

London - West End

As Head of Research and Economics at global property advisors Colliers based in London, I lead a team of researchers identifying timely research topics and directing research and forecasting outputs. I have 25+ years of UK and European property industry experience and extensive expertise across a wide range of sectors and related industries. I participate regularly in industry panel discussions, but am focused more on direct client engagement with institutions, property companies, banks, and private investors. A regular media commentator, I have a wide range of national publication and broadcast experience. I joined Colliers International in August 2007 after several years at a private property company where I was responsible for managing a mixed portfolio of London residential, retail and office assets. Previously, I worked in a few London property advisory firms, a geodemographic company as well as a few youthful sojourns in the US offshore oil industry, local government and entertainment business. I am an economics graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a  PhD from the Faculty of Science at University College London.  I am a member of the London Property Economics Forum and  Society of Property Researchers.

Perhaps best known for my alternative take on property economics and investment, I am a keen proponent of UK regional development and infrastructure investment.

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