Gerald Ronson, chief executive of leading property group Heron International, and founder of Snax 24 predecessor Heron Service Stations, summed up the past few years of the property market with the words: "If it

looks too good to be true, that’s because it probably is." He was addressing an audience of 400 business leaders and opinion formers at the company’s annual lunch in London. "Everybody was happy to ride the gravy train. Everthing became mispriced, from properties selling at 4% yields, to the fees paid to advisers. Some of the biggest brands in the world, including some of the biggest banks, have been blown away."

He said it was impossible to predict when things would improve, because of the lack of transparency in the market which had now reached levels beyond anything that is acceptable and, "coupled with a lack of trust, is dangerous".