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Portrait ofClare Thomas

Clare Thomas


CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Clare Thomas is a partner at law firm CMS which has the largest real estate team in Europe. She has experience acting for property companies, funds, institutions and investors on acquisitions, disposals, lettings and developments. She has particular experience working with Asian investors. Her transactional expertise spans a range of sectors including office, hotel, retail and Living. Her clients include the likes of Angelo Gordon, ARA Dunedin, the Arora Group, Blackstone, the City of London, Credit Suisse, Global Student Accommodation and Urban & Civic as well as various private investors/family offices.

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"one of Bisnow’s 51 most influential women in real estate."


named as a Dealmaker.

The Lawyers Hot 100 List 2019

Relevant experience

  • Singapore listed REIT Suntec’s acquisition of 50% of Phase 1 of Land Sec’s Nova Victoria scheme from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
  • Thai investor DTGO corporation on the circa £450m acquisition of the Marathon portfolio of 17 IHG and Hilton branded hotels.
  • The Arora Group on it’s Crawley Station Gateway scheme which includes the regeneration of the station along with the provision of new office, retail and residential premises and the acquisition of several shopping centres.
  • Global Student Accommodation on the acquisition of 7 UK based student housing assets from Harrison Street.
  • Private Hong Kong investor on the acquisition and letting of several trophy assets in the City including 20 Canada Square for circa £410m.
  • Urban&Civic on two strategic land development schemes including Alconbury Weald, a 1,420 acre site which will include 290,000 sqm of employment floor space, 5,000 homes together with green spaces, transport, energy and community facilities.
  • True North Management Limited on Holm Wimbledon Park, a brand new co living community. 
  • Aviva, Hermes and Capital & Regional plc on the disposal of The Junction Fund, a £259.5m retail investment vehicle.
  • Blackstone Property Management on the pre-letting and sale of a major refurbished City office scheme.
  • Credit Suisse on the acquisition of a number of City assets including Pilgrim Street for circa £80m. 
  • Queensgate Investments on a joint venture and development at Greenwich Peninsula including a mix of residential, hotel, business and leisure and on the real estate aspects of its £475m sale of London Executive Offices.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Served on the committee for the Urban Land Institute.
  • Operational Board of the Investment Property Forum and Treasurer. Has previously chaired their education committee.
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Lectures list

  • Industry event speaker, including the Investment Property Forum, Urban Land Institute, Young Entrepreneurs in Property, Women in Property, Property EU and Bisnow.
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  • 1997 - LLB, Exeter University, Exeter
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Taking the long view Even in challenging times, real estate investors continue to have a strong degree of confidence in the future of the sector.
Sustainable offices and EPC requirements
Investors may be moving towards the view that making offices sustainable does not necessarily equate to higher costs for occupiers.
The majority of UK real estate professionals continue to believe that London is overvalued. As our chart shows, this is very much business as usual. Over the past eight years, only 2021 - when investors began to wonder what a post-covid market might look like - has challenged the status quo. Even then, what we saw was only a significant narrowing of the gap, not a reversal. In this year’s polling, 62% of our respondents feel London is overvalued, as opposed to 6% who believe it is undervalued. These are the most bearish numbers we have seen since pre‑Brexit days.
The view from the UK
Every year we ask a cross-section of leading UK real estate professionals for their views on the market. This year we polled 270 experts, including 62 investors and 54 developers. In many ways they share the outlook of the global investors we surveyed, with long-term confidence tempered by short-term concerns. Overall, 38% reported feeling optimistic about the market, while 34% describe themselves as neutral and 28% are pessimistic. Although positive, this take on the market is unsurprisingly more cautious than the one we found 12 months ago, with sentiment falling back to levels last seen at the beginning of the pandemic as the more bullish outlook of the past two years recedes.
Global cities
As our chart shows, the genuinely ‘global’ cities remain the most appealing (albeit by slim margins), with the top four slots going to London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.
The big picture
Despite a difficult year and an uncertain outlook, we found strong underlying positives among investors globally.
Many in the real estate industry are keen to embrace technological innovations, including the latest green technologies.
Future Planning?
One thing nearly all our UK respondents agree on is that the planning system is not working and needs investment. A massive 90% say the system is slowing down real estate development, while 93% reckon it is under-resourced.
There is general agreement that, in the short term, financing is getting harder – with 70% of UK real estate professionals believing it will become more difficult to access debt over the next 12 months.
Survey methodology
Investors (online polling between 28 April and 3 May 2023) n=1,002 global institutional in­vestors. Res­ults were weighted by region to ensure comparability with previous results. In­dustry (on­line polling between 21 April and 10 May 2023) n=270 professionals in the UK real estate in­dustry. Res­ults were weighted by role to ensure comparability with previous results.