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Simon Perkins, McKay Securities: Offices remain essential to workers despite debates about their future in business

By Sara Klusch
16 September 2021

The Thames Valley Property Awards 2021, organised by The Business Magazine, bring together the cream of professional talent among the agents, developers, planners, consultants, property lawyers, and dealmakers in the region. The event could not take place without the support of sponsors, such as McKay Securities, a commercial property investment company with Real Estate investment (REIT) status specialising in the development, refurbishment and management of office, industrial and logistics property in the South East and London. We spoke with Simon Perkins, CEO of McKay Securities, on the company's decision to be involved in picking the best of the best in the region, what it is one should look for in a winner for the Thames Valley Property Awards, and what the general trends in the sector are.

What motivated you, as a company, to sponsor the Thames Valley Property Awards and more specifically the Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award?

Simon Perkins: McKay Securities has been based in Reading since 1984, and has built up its business in and around the Thames Valley with the help of many in the local property community. When the awards were first introduced, we welcomed the recognition of the major achievements across the valley, and have been keen supporters of the awards and sponsors of the Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award since the outset. We offered to sponsor this award as a way to ensure recognition of those that have made a particular difference.

What does it take for a person to win the Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award? 

Simon Perkins: Over the years, the winners have been those that have dedicated themselves to, and enhanced the reputation of, the Thames Valley market.

How have you, as a firm, navigated the challenges the pandemic posed to your sector during this financial year?

Simon Perkins: During the pandemic, our priorities have been maintaining business momentum and ensuring the safety of our employees and occupiers. We collected 99% of our rental income for the last financial year due to our focus on the office and industrial sectors, and have continued to refurbish a number of our buildings to meet the anticipated post pandemic occupier demand for better qualify, sustainable workspace. Our portfolio properties have remained open and safe for our tenants, and we have been back in the office for all but the lockdown periods.

What have been the overall financial trends in your sector in the Thames Valley region this year? 

Simon Perkins: Low interest rates have continued to support capital values generally despite the challenges of the pandemic, and particularly in the case of warehouse and logistics assets where occupier and investor demand has continue to push pricing higher. Occupancy of our office buildings is now picking up, supporting our view that the office remains an essential facility for most businesses.

How have they differed from the previous year and what are your expectations for 2022/2023?

Simon Perkins: The future of the office continues to be debated, and it has been the disruption to this sector that has been most obvious over the pandemic. Hybrid was evolving before the pandemic, and is here to stay. However, the Thames Valley has a lot to offer in terms of shorter commutes, quality of life, value for money, flexible high quality business space and improving access to central London with the eventual opening of the Elizabeth Line-and in time, the western link into Heathrow.  These attractions should generate increasing demand for the McKay Securities office offer, and for the Thames Valley generally.