AAA-Director: Why Great Britain Can Say Goodbye to Centralism

After Brexit, will the UK be able to leave its previous focus on London behind and transform itself into a country with as many regional centers as Germany or the Netherlands?

Rated by Citywire with a rating of AAA Roger Kerns, who manages several of Cohen & Steers’ real estate funds, believes this is the million dollar question the UK will face in the next decade.

Kerijns suspects that London’s standing as Europe’s financial center will decline compared to pre-Brexit and that this presents an opportunity to reshape the UK’s city landscape and rethink investment opportunities.

Disadvantages of central

“Anyone can make money in London. The question is whether it is socially sustainable,” he said City Wire Locator. Quirigens pointed to the capital’s unaffordable housing problem and said decentralization could be a solution to extreme property prices.

“London is still a city with great infrastructure, with many different cultures and IT companies. So I am not a black painter, but I think a smaller position in London and a bigger position in other UK cities would be a good thing for the country,” Quirijns explains.

Quirijns, who runs a Europe-focused real estate trust, says countries like Germany and the United States have many large cities that act as capitals for different sectors of the country.

Focus defects

The United Kingdom decided to go a different path and make London the most important center in Europe, with all its advantages and perhaps now even more disadvantages. So the question is whether London in the UK is the model for the future or whether Germany, with its many cities, has the best solution for the future. “I tend to go for the German route,” Kerns said.

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Sweden model

Quirijns adds that this problem is less pronounced on the European continent, where cities are smaller and transport links are better. He highlighted Sweden as an example of a country that transformed from a country with a strong capital into a multipolar country with many centers by boosting the economies of cities like Gothenburg and Malmö.

Stockholm will always play a dominant role. But you don’t have to live in Stockholm, there are other options. I think the options are not that clear in the UK,” Quirijns says.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a trend towards exodus from cities and flexible working patterns, Quirijns expects an increase in residential development outside London.

He says the range of offers has expanded and real estate companies can think of locations they might not have even considered for a construction project three years ago. Good public transport links can also promote development in this area.

About the author: Ceri Christiansen is a reporter for Citywire Selector.

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