Real Estate Investors plc (AIM: RLE) the West Midlands based property group, confirms that it has seen a significant improvement in occupier enquiries and lease completions during the second half of the year, and anticipates record contractual rental income at the year end as a result of the enlarged portfolio now in excess of £100m in gross assets. New tenants to the Company’s portfolio this year include: The Royal College of Surgeons; HSBC Bank; WHSmith; The First Secretary of State; Thomas Cook; Boots; Marks & Spencer; NHS Property Services; Wallis; Arcadia Group; Superdrug; BHS; and Waterstones. Additionally, the Company is seeing further evidence of a reduction in tenant incentives and rents hardening and rising during the second half of 2014.
It has also been notable that institutional investor demand has continued to substantially improve and the Company have experienced frequent approaches for a range of its assets, in particular city centre stock, where it now has 145,047 sq ft, across 9 buildings with 40 tenants and further additions anticipated by the year end.
Paul Bassi, Chief Executive, commented: “We have enjoyed a much improved property market throughout 2014, as regional real estate is enjoying strong demand from occupiers and investors. We have seen demand from overseas and UK investors, who are attracted to a vibrant midlands economy and are seeking attractive returns and capital growth that they do not believe they will continue to achieve in London and the South East.
We have very successfully invested the funds from our £20 million equity fundraise which was very well supported during Q1 of this year, and through sales and conservative gearing of our unencumbered assets, we will have significant new funds that will allow us to continue to capitalise on market opportunities and grow our rental income and ownership as we continue to expand the portfolio in line with our growth and income strategy.
We remain on course to convert to a REIT on January 1st 2015 and well positioned to continue with our progressive dividend policy.”