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Property crash

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At an extraordinary final session of the British Property Federation conference in Brighton last week, critics from Legal & General, Credit Suisse First Boston and the ft condemned the giants of the property sector as 'dinosaurs', 'creators of a hostile environment for customers' and as pursuing 'investor unfriendly' policies which would see a decline in funding from financial institutions. Michael Slade of go-go stock Helical Bar, one of the new wave of developers, amusingly claimed the property sector should pay itself more (he had to rub along on £1.7 million last year). Speakers from the audience criticised landlords for resembling medieval aristocrats. In particular the quoted companies' policy of non-disclosure in annual reports came in for a pasting. Most damaging was an analysis which showed that shares in the top 30 property stock had halved in value over 25 years. At the previous session on urban regeneration, featuring Terry Farrell, Paul Finch and Tom Bloxham of Urban Splash, Bloxham got a good laugh when he outlined his policy on property purchase: 'If the cost per square foot is more than I pay for my carpet, it's too dear.' Ian Henderson of Land Securities liked the sound of that ...

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