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London calling … overseas investors

15th July 2013

London calling … overseas investors

Investment in London’s property market from overseas continues to flow in, a recent report shows. Partly responsible is the fact that sterling has been trading at one of its lowest rates for several years, thus offering favourable terms to buyers and investors from outside the UK. 

The report, by BNP Paribas, states that in the first quarter of 2013 as much as 77% of investments in Central London (the City, Midtown, Docklands, West End) came from overseas, with the division by region 27% European, 25% North American, 18% Middle Eastern and 17% from the Far East. Total investment into Central London increased 9% too, reaching £2.9 billion, in comparison with the last quarter of 2012. 

The future is also positive, with the Docklands and Canary Wharf area to benefit from Crossrail when it is completed. Already, the area is seeing a rise in investment, despite it traditionally being associated with the now more-cautious banking sector. 

Eugene O’Sullivan, of Morgan Pryce, states, “The funds from abroad are really driving the commercial property market in London at the moment – even more so than they did in 2012. The fabric of the investment market, especially in Central London, will continue to be influenced by such external forces for some time to come.” 

It appears that London continues to be seen by investors as a safe haven, with a stable enough economic and political situation – especially in comparison with many of other countries of Europe. The attraction of long leases and reliable tenants is also a draw for many of the investors who cannot find these benefits at home. 

Many of the investors are real estate investment trusts (REITs), and institutional investors, such as pension companies as well as sovereign wealth funds (the latter accounting for as much as 25% of City investments in 2012, according to Knight Frank), particularly from countries such as Malaysia as well as those in the Middle East region, who have much wealth to invest.

Morgan Pryce is a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.

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