It said in figures published today that the first quarter total also fell by 83% compared to the first quarter in 2007 when the market was at its peak.Cushman’s figures show that £678.9m of commercial property was traded in central London in the first quarter of the year against £2.826bn in Q1 2008 and £3.939bn in Q1 2007.It said, however, that the weakness of sterling and the fall in values over the last 12 months, have made London property much more affordable for overseas buyers and investor interest in both the West End and City markets has increased considerably in the last few weeks.In the City of London market, £470m was traded with German funds dominating activity. TMW acquired 11 Pilgrim Street, EC4 for £56m whilst GLL Real Estate Partners, on behalf of pension fund BVK bought Governor’s House for £70m. Swiss fund Affia also acquired Garrard House, Gresham Street for £70.5m.In the West End market, transactions in the first quarter were just over £200m which is only 13% of the turnover in Q1 2008. The average size of the 14 deals completed was £14.5m. The largest transactions included the purchase of Times Place, at 45 Pall Mall, for £56.5m and Washington House at 40 Conduit Street, was purchased for £30m.Clive Bull, head of central London investment, Cushman & Wakefield, said: ‘There is clearly evidence of more interest and more activity taking place in the West End market. Whilst transactions completed were at an all time low in Q1, a significant number of contracts were exchanged and an even greater number went into solicitor’s hands. The weakness of sterling has been an important factor in buying decisions for overseas buyers and a number have decided that now is the time to start investing in the West End. There has also emerged a clear distinction between properties offering solid income where, arguably, prices are hardening, and less secure properties where yields continue to drift. The continuing lack of debt means there is limited competition for the larger lots although at prices up to £10m, competition appears to be increasing.’Bill Tyser, head of City investment, said: ‘60% of the £470m traded in Q1 in the City was accounted for by overseas investors and £250m was originally put under offer before Christmas. With interest rates now so low and sterling weak, interest from these overseas investors has increased still further. With qualifying stock in reasonably short supply, there has been a hardening in the yield for defensive quality investments since the acquisition of 1 Fleet Place in December 2008 which reflected a yield of 7.75%. Those properties, however, that do not match the criteria of good quality buildings – well let to recognisable covenants – the market remains remarkably thin and largely dysfunctional due to the difficulties which continue to be experienced in securing satisfactory financing terms.’
An experienced personal injury lawyer has agreed to be struck off after drafting a letter to help a client conceal from her husband the extent of a damages settlement. Geoffrey Hart, a former director with Midlands firm Ward & Rider, had secured damages of £48,000 after costs for his client in 2017. But, during a telephone discussion, the client advised Hart she would be telling her husband the claim settled for £30,000 and asked him to prepare a letter confirming the lower amount.Hart then wrote to state damages were £30,000 and broke down the elements of the claim. He wrote a further letter two weeks later referring to the £30,000 figure.The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that the client, who was a family friend of Hart’s wife, had told him she wanted to keep some of her own damages because her husband was controlling and would decide how the money was spent.Hart submitted that he became ‘very emotional’ after learning the client had gone through tragic events in her personal life similar to those he was experiencing at the time, and he acted out of character in drafting the false letter.A clinical psychologist report confirmed that Hart made a mistake while experiencing psychological difficulties and some associated impairment in cognitive processing – namely judgement and reasoning.Hart, a solicitor for 21 years, made no attempt to conceal the relevant letters and upon realising the seriousness of the matter he pressed his employer to recall the letter. He was reported to the SRA by his firm and resigned shortly after. The false letter was not shown to the client’s husband or anyone else.The tribunal heard that Hart also admitted sending an email to his wife, a solicitor, which included personal information about another client who had suffered a personal injury. The email was to provide his wife with a precedent document for her own legal practice.Hart and the SRA agreed on a joint outcome that he be struck off and pay £9,000 costs.
The Proteas, almost appropriately, lost the third and final Test against India by an innings and 202 runs in Ranchi on Monday.They did so within three and a bit days.Those are the only specifics required for this latest embarrassment, because it simply doesn’t matter anymore what happened at JCA Stadium.South African cricket is in a full-blown crisis.You will be exposed to numerous leading figures citing “mitigating factors” for the Proteas’ whitewash – the situation is too dire to naively just look for excuses.They’ll say the national team embraces accountability for this shambolic outcome, but…India is a tough place to tour.India have won 11th successive Test series at home, a run that stretches back to late 2012.The team is in transition.The coaching staff have interim gigs.South Africa lost 3-0 in India in 2015 with a more experienced team.The last-mentioned “fact” will probably be the cornerstone of apologists’ argument for giving this team some slack.After all, a batting line-up of Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy couldn’t total more than 214 in seven innings, a run that included being dismissed for 79 in that series’ third Test.It’s a pitiful argument.India unapologetically prepared turning dust bowls in the hope of obliterating South Africa’s jittery batsman by exploiting their weakness against spin.That undeniably worked as the Indian tweakers took 61 of the 70 Protea wickets that fell in that series.And to illustrate just how dodgy those surfaces were, India only passed 300 once in seven innings.Even without a dynamic spin duo like R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, the South African attack plugged away to take 53 wickets.South Africa’s resistance felt so futile four years ago, but at least they still tried.2019’s vintage can only dream of having that group’s guts and determination.And they simply can’t argue that conditions have been against them.The Proteas attack didn’t bowl out India ONCE in this series – the “lowest” total they conceded was the hosts’ DECLARATION at 323/5 in the first Test.India’s spinners were prominent in this series, but the Indian seamers of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav played starring roles.Meanwhile, the Proteas’ bowling unit has generally looked toothless and conceded an average four runs per over across all innings.If Shami and Yadav could combine for 24 wickets, then how on earth did the South African seamers struggle so badly?There wasn’t any evidence of the attack adapting or improving, instead relying on Kagiso Rabada to deliver the odd inspired spell, only to lose the plot the next.It is a generally inexperienced attack, but their stoic approach suggests little coaching has been done on this trip.South Africa’s batting has been an Achilles heel for years now, a situation allowed to spin out of control due to the insistence on cultivating seamer-friendly pitches for home matches.But that’s a debate on its own.The other elephant in the room is whether this Test team is really all that inexperienced.Elgar, Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma, Rabada, Vernon Philander and Keshav Maharaj have a combined 330 caps in the five-day format between them.That’s more than half of the members of what can be regarded as the first-choice XI.And what about team spirit?What does Rabada and De Kock’s war of (swear) words in the second Test tell us about unity?Aiden Markram breaks his wrist by himself because of a “moment of frustration”.What is the level of emotional intelligence of this squad?Can you blame interim team director Enoch Nkwe for not taking enough control?The poor guy was handed an assignment that put him on a hiding to nothing (and it’s surely a tad unfair to lambast him for taking the gig).The fact of the matter is that Cricket South Africa’s wayward governance is eroding the standing and competitiveness of the sport locally.Yes, the federation has had numerous internal crises before, but for the first time it’s directly affecting proceedings on the field too.CSA’s controversial change to the structure of domestic cricket threatens to affect the livelihoods of at least 70 players.The South African Cricketers Association (Saca) and CSA are in court over those changes as well as the true state of the governing body’s finances, thought to be in a state of disarray.The players have lost their champion, Saca CEO Tony Irish, to England.Last week, after a protracted battle, CSA finally stated it will pay the R2 million in arrears for Saca members that played in last season’s Mzansi Super League T20.One report said that intervention only came after Saca threatened to go public.There’s no more buffer between administrative chaos and the players anymore.It now goes hand-in-hand … and we should be fearful.For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.