The UK property market was supposed to endure a hugely challenging period following the EU referendum. However, judging by these three pieces of information released in recent days, the outlook for the sector remains relatively bright. Of course, Brexit hasnt yet begun and the start of negotiations could lead to greater uncertainty within the industry. Does this mean it should be avoided, or are there bargains to be had within the UK property sector?
Last weeks update by property investment and development company Great Portland Estates (LSE: GPOR) showed trading conditions are somewhat mixed. While it was able to produce a strong quarter of activity, which included continued leasing success and the crystallising of surpluses through capital recycling, it expects the London commercial property market to weaken in the short run.
However, this provides an opportunity for the business to benefit. Great Portland Estates has been a net seller of property in the last three years and this means its well-placed to benefit from lower prices. Furthermore, its investment portfolio is well let and materially de-risked. As such, its financial performance in the long run should improve. Trading on a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.4, it could prove to be a sound long-term buy.
High yield, good value play
Further good news for the UK property market came last week via theKier Group (LSE: KIE) update. The construction company stated that all of its divisions are performing well and its on target to meet full-year expectations. Notably, it has a sound property pipeline and a solid forward sold position within the Residential division. As such, it appears to be well-placed to deliver impressive results over the medium term.
As with Great Portland Estates, Kier offers a wide margin of safety. It trades on a PEG ratio of just 1.1, while its income prospects remain sound. It currently yields 4.9% from a dividend which is covered 1.6 times by profit. As such, theres scope for a higher dividend in future years, which makes it a relatively appealing income stock despite the risk posed by Brexit for the wider UK property market.
Sales price growth
Also reporting at the end of last week was Countryside Properties (LSE: CSP). The housebuilder and urban regeneration specialist saw underlying sales price growth of 4% to an average selling price of 443,000. When combined with a rise in completions of 23%, this shows the housing market remains buoyant. Furthermore, Countryside has a record forward order book, which has risen by 76% in the last year.
Looking ahead, Countryside is expected to record a rise in its earnings of 53% this year, followed by further growth of 27% next year. This puts it on a PEG ratio of 0.3. As such, even if inflation rises and mortgage affordability falls, its shares could still perform well. They have a wide margin of safety and while the outlook for UK property remains uncertain, they seem to be worth buying alongside Kier and Great Portland Estates.
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