Investment imageHold you nerve and stay safe – that’s the message from Guy Gowing for property investors as we enter a period of uncertainty.

Events in recent weeks might allow us to add a third item to that list: however good you think the world is, there will always be something around the corner to throw you off course.

That is not intended to make us gloomy, but rather to remind us that the present crisis is not the first we have faced, nor will it be the last.  The lesson from previous calamities such as Foot and Mouth, Avian Flu, SARS, The Beast from the East, and the 2009 credit crunch is that the world is actually pretty resilient.

That is not to downplay the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.  On an individual level there will be tragedy, and on an economic level it will have – is already having, in fact – a damaging and shocking effect.

But we shouldn’t forget that the long-term prospects remain good, albeit that they will be dented by short-term economic damage.

Growth in 2019 was held back by uncertainty over Brexit, but we started 2020 very optimistically.  Industrial rents and values both grew strongly in 2019 (despite Brexit), and the office market has been particularly strong, driven by growth in sectors where Norfolk has a particular strength – new media, the professions, offshore engineering and food production, to name but four.

And despite the well-publicised woes on the High Street, opportunities remain, and Norwich has remained a strong retail sector. Despite the present uncertainty, these fundamentals remain in place, and when we come out of the other side of the coronavirus crisis (which we surely will), that optimism will quickly return.

So my message for investors is hold your nerve, think long-term not short-term, and in the meantime stay safe and look after your loved ones.