Technical briefing - 05 December 2017

UK Property Structures - moving quickly and building a trusted network

At Hawksford, as offshore administrators based in Jersey, we are involved in a substantial number of UK property structures.

Author of article:

Daniel Hainsworth

Client Director, Corporate Services

From a residential perspective, whether you are a foreign individual looking to purchase a holiday apartment in Mayfair, a listed real estate fund acquiring a large residential development opportunity in Knightsbridge, or a group of private investors looking to buy a block of buy to let units in up and coming Brixton – structuring is key to the transaction. Our role as administrators enables an insight into the property market from investors, agents, developers, financiers, tenants and owner occupiers.  It really is a unique position - working with all parties involved in any given transaction, each with differing scenarios.

Shaping real estate

A recent transaction involved working with a group of GCC based investors who were looking to invest in the prime London residential development market. We created an offshore holding vehicle and partnered with a UK based boutique project manager, who sourced a £20m+ deal in a super-prime London square, which completed in Q2 2017. Working with a network of relevant professional parties in the UK legal, tax and property management space, an existing offshore Special Purpose Vehicle that held the title was acquired and on completion, the properties were hived up into a clean Jersey company.  The Jersey company has engaged a full suite of professional contractors to commence work on a 2-year development with a Gross Development Value at the end of the project of circa £40m. Bank financing has been sourced on both an asset and development basis. 

Prime time

This specific transaction highlights that despite the unpredictability of the market, the impact of Brexit and 2017 tax changes, there are still investors interested in completing substantial deals and acting fast. The weaker pound, foreign political and geographical uncertainties, low interest rates and an abundance of well-priced assets continue to make the UK and in particular, the London residential development market an attractive option for investment, with structures set up through Jersey. From a long-term investor’s perspective, it’s a buyer’s market and it appears that there are great deals to be had – you just need to move quickly.

Partnering for growth

It is also critical that the entity is structured efficiently and is professionally administered by experts in accordance with tax and legal advice.

In today’s property market there are new opportunities for owning, investing or renting and those wishing to transact should consider how purchases are structured to suit their needs, including a trusted network to deliever requirements.

Hawksford are accustomed to working with teams of professionals who facilitate the various elements that will contribute to clients’ ultimate business success, helping them to think strategically and commercially about a given opportunity.

This briefing is intended to provide a general overview of the matters to which it relates.  It is not intended as advice and should not be relied on as such.  Please seek professional advice appropriate to your particular circumstances or requirements.

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