The annual Essex Property Conference, hosted jointly by Ellisons Solicitors, estate agents and chartered surveyors Fenn Wright and accountants BDO LLP, took place at the JobServe Community Stadium in Colchester.

The event saw over 200 industry professionals, developers and investors from across the region get together to hear the latest insights and sector predictions from experts including guest speaker Phil Eckersley of the Bank of England.

The event was chaired by Guy Longhurst, Managing Partner at Ellisons Solicitors, who began by reassuring the delegates the main topic of the day wouldn’t be dominated by events in Westminster and that there were reasons to be optimistic despite the unprecedented period in the country’s political and financial climate, even announcing his firm’s substantial increase in income on the previous year.

Peter Harrup, Partner at BDO, highlighted some positive announcements from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, including a reduction in corporation tax from 20% to 17% in 2020 and an extension of the Help to Buy initiative until 2023.

Fenn Wright’s Mark Sargeantson, meanwhile reviewed the residential, commercial and rural property sectors, highlighting the forecasts for further steady growth in the local housing market resuming later this year and the rapid expansion of the private rented sector.  He went on to discuss the structural changes in the retail market and the robust industrial/warehouse sectors, commenting: “we have seen an excellent level of transactional activity over the past year with the industrial market dominating, but offices are also in demand and rents are holding up.”

Guy Longhurst from Ellisons, said: “The Property Conference now in its 11th year has always been well support from all involved in the property sector in the Colchester and North Essex area. Lots of positive sentiment from the conference and despite the uncertainty over Brexit, it’s good to see the positive outlook on both commercial and residential property markets in Essex.  Our own property team has also expanded, and we continue to advise our clients on all property-related matters retaining our resolute commitment to delivering the highest possible levels of service.”

Peter Harrup from BDO ended by saying “There were still a number of opportunities for taxpayers to structure their affairs tax efficiently; specifically looking at the new Structures and Buildings allowances, amended entrepreneurs’ relief rules and SDLT.”

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