Alternative property market offers attractive prospects

"2012 will be every bit as challenging as 2011, however there are still many good opportunities for property investors to make well-informed decisions," he said.

"In particular I believe investors should consider a greater exposure to alternative sectors such as residential property, student accommodation or health care property. One of the key attractions of these alternative sectors is they generally have a high income yield, an ability to track inflation and have low vacancy rates."

Clark said investors should look at the fundamental drivers which made them attractive compared to some commercial properties.

"Investors need to give greater credence to the opportunities and investment attractions – such as basic demand – which make the alternative property sectors stand out from other commercial property investments," he said.

In terms of residential property, Clark said the south-east was going through a major structural shift from a high ownership model to a need for greater rental accommodation, which was driven by the lack of mortgage finance.

"This is creating rental increases in the order of 7% per annum in some locations, coupled with a lack of supply to meet demand," he said.

Meanwhile, despite recent protests over increased tuition fees and a fall in the number of university places available, Clark said opportunities were stil around in student property.

"Student accommodation demand for the best universities is leading to typical annual vacancy rates of less than 2%," he said.

Clark also pointed to the percentage of the UK population becoming elderly and needing specialist nursing care which was being factored into the demographic profile.

He said: "Despite this increase in numbers there are not enough quality nursing homes to accommodate this demand making this an attractive sector to invest in."

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