Fieldfisher REF team experiences increase in business despite pandemic

European law firm Fieldfisher advised on more than GBP2 billion worth of real estate finance transactions in 2020, up from GBP1.2 billion in 2019, despite the unfavourable climate for many real estate asset classes during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Fieldfisher's real estate finance team advised on a variety of transactions across the UK and Europe, including high-value office buildings located in major cities, nationwide portfolios of light industrial and retail warehousing assets servicing the growing demand for online retail emerged as the predominant asset classes, together with residential development schemes meeting the demand for modern and affordable housing. 

Christian Francis, a Partner in Fieldfisher’s banking group and real estate finance team, says: "Twelve months ago we began adapting to the ever-changing landscape the coronavirus pandemic imposed on our social freedoms, our working patterns, physical geography and the type of work that our clients engaged us to assist with. Clients were keen to hear our views on what this landscape shift would mean for the prospects of the traditional real estate asset classes in both the short and medium to long term. 

"The reality is that sectors such as the high street will undoubtedly struggle to regain anything near their former glory given the predominance of omni-channel retailers in secondary locations and the growth of on-line retailers dependent on strong and local logistical support."  

"The leisure and hospitality sector, one of the worst hit sectors, should rebound as travel restrictions are lifted following the success of the vaccine programme. 

"Investor interest in this sector continues to remain strong in premium locations and should translate into a growing appetite for those assets in the short to medium term, in particular from overseas investors."