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Gloucestershire Business News

Purchase of care sector businesses increases 58 per cent during lockdown

Business property adviser Christie & Co has launched the first edition of its Buyer Registration Index, an analysis of website registrations which indicates buyer sentiment across all eight of its industry sectors, including care.

The Index focuses on how buyer sentiment has evolved during the UK COVID-19 lockdown period.

The Index reveals that, from April 27 - shortly after the UK government announced the beginning of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions - to June 22, Christie & Co witnessed an increase of 58 percent in new buyer registration figures for the care sector.

The company expects this general trajectory of increased activity to be maintained, particularly as banks begin to focus more actively on new lending.

Michael Hodges, managing director of healthcare consultancy at Christie & Co, said: "It is important to consider this Index in context, as the most active buyers for operational care businesses are generally existing operators and market participants who are already well known to us.

"It is therefore extremely positive that new buyers, registering for the first time with us, are taking such an interest in the sector and we expect this trend to continue as bank lending activity for new business increases.

"Along with many businesses across the UK, we have had to evolve the way we operate due to the pandemic. For example, access restrictions to care homes have led to the creation of virtual tours and similar innovations which have been well received by operators and purchasers alike.

"Positively, across our wider healthcare transactional business, and despite the challenges of gaining access to care homes for buyers and valuers, activity has been encouraging, with our team receiving 113 offers and agreeing 50 deals during the lockdown period.

"With many banks focussing on supporting existing customers and administering the government's support schemes over recent months, most of these deals have been agreed to well-funded buyers who are able to proceed on a cash basis. Moving forward, we expect market activity to steadily increase as banks begin to actively focus on new lending again which will certainly be a positive development for the sector.

"As we enter the autumn, activity levels are certainly good and, from an operational perspective, it is encouraging to see a number of our operator clients reporting a gradual increase in carefully managed new resident admissions. Clearly, we remain in a challenging environment, but my colleagues and I are continually inspired by the incredible efforts made by operators and their staff to provide the best care possible to residents in these most difficult times."

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