BoJo & Commercial Property – A Horror Or A Hero?

When he was a kid, he wrote that he wanted to be ‘world king’ and he’s close to getting his wish.

It didn’t come as a massive shock to anyone – not even Jeremy Hunt – that Boris Johnson was elected Prime Minister by a majority of 45,497 by members of the Conservative Party and of course the first months of his tenure as PM will be defined by Brexit, but what does Boris in number 10 mean for the commercial property sector?

Boris in Downing Street will bring certainty to an industry that is in desperate need of it so says, according to Mike Phillips writing in, a ‘man who sits at the intersection of property and the Conservative Party.’

Chairman of Soho Estates Steven Norris who was formerly Transport Minister in the John Major government and twice Conservative candidate for London’s mayor, ‘What we’ve suffered from for the last couple of years is a huge amount of people putting their foot on the ball.’

He continues ‘It’s not that people have lost faith in the UK or the attraction of buying here. What they’ve been begging for is a reasonable amount of certainty. Whatever Boris does, we are now in the last phase of uncertainty, that phase of being neither in nor out of Europe. It will release a lot of the pent-up energy for commercial property in the UK.’

The uncertainty he speaks of is borne out by the numbers. Figures show investment in the UK in the first two quarters of 2019 was £19.7 billion, down 30% in the same two quarters the year before and this is largely due to the uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit.

Is A New Era Beginning?


Norris has, in the past, expressed reservations about a Boris Johnson premiership but, says Mike Phillips ‘his commitment to leaving the EU as soon as possible provides the greater certainty business and property need. He [Norris] feels that Johnson has a good chance of striking a new and better deal to leave the EU.’

Norris discounted the prospect of a general election leading to a hung parliament and yet more uncertainty, or worse, a Labour Corbyn government whose policies would negatively affect the commercial property industry.

The hope is that once Boris has got his feet under the table, Norris thinks ‘he’ll embark on a programme to make the UK a more attractive place to do business, reduce corporate tax and maybe personal tax rates and has said he would undertake a programme of spending on infrastructure. Everybody knows business rates are killing business, and not only retail. It is much easier for a new prime minister to come in and say we need to do something different.’


The bull run on commercial property has been incredible in the last decade and it’s possible that a Johnson premiership would oversee the biggest change to the UK economy for four decades. How he goes about it remains to be seen…

Watch this space.

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