Commercial property in London hits new record of £1.93bn

Cushman & Wakefield, an American commercial real estate company founded in America, and with offices all over the world, including that of London, has unveiled some prosperous news for commercial property investors in London’s West End. A new record of £1.93bn was pumped into the commercial property market in the first quarter of the year, despite a hugely turbulent and tempestuous period following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Some sources suggested commercial property would be one of the hard-hitting victims, as a lot of commercial property purchased in the UK is aided by foreign investment. Overseas investors accounted for 78pc of the commercial property purchased in Central London in 2016. Additionally, more than £695m of Asian capital was received in London since June 2016 and Hong Kong investors are continually driving records for investment.

The figures collated by Cushman & Wakefield found the recent figure has outshone the previous record volume held of £1.08bn, in 2013 and now exceeds the five year quarter average by 22%. Over the last year, there has been a number of large deals made in the city, including Ampersand at 111-125 Oxford Street, 180 Wardour Street in Soho, which was sold by Cushman & Wakefield on behalf of a Hong Kong family to Emperor Holdings for £260m alone. This commercial property was sold for £2,910 per sq. ft., with a net initial yield of 2.93%. One Kingdom Street was also sold in London’s West End for £292m and Deka’s acquirement of Great Portland Estate’s Facebook Campus in Fitzrovia for £435m.

Richard Womack, head of the West End Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield commented in response to the figures:

“The record volumes reflect the current demand for West End assets, especially among Hong Kong investors who are increasingly active in this market. They accounted for just under half the total quarterly volume, enticed by the West End’s wealth preservation characteristics as well as the currency advantage enjoyed by non-sterling investors.”

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The report also revealed that the City of London also flourished in the first quarter of the year, with volumes amounting to £2.25bn, a 9% increase from the year before which was £2.07bn. 72% of commercial property in the West End and the City was purchased by far eastern buyers. UK investors were net-sellers, purchasing £369.3m of stock in the City, and then disposing of £1.27bn.

James Beckham, head of London Capital Markets, at commercial property firm Cushman & Wakefield, said:

“There is no shortage of capital targeting commercial property, the challenge for investors has been accessing suitably-priced stock. Exchange rates play a significant role in that and sterling’s depreciation has benefitted investors from the Far East, especially those from Hong Kong and mainland China, who can also move quickly in this market.”

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