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Central London investment volumes up 18% as Asian investors shrug off Brexit and UK general election

  • Commercial property investment in H1 2017 jumps to £8.8bn from £7.45bn in H1 2016
  • Asia Pacific acquisitions across Central London reach £4.07bn, 46% of market, and the highest H1 in five years
  • Four out of seven largest deals in the City of London see European buyers 

Investment into commercial property in Central London reached nearly £9bn in the first half of 2017 – an 18% rise on the same period in 2016 – despite looming Brexit negotiations and a UK general election, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield. 

The research, which counts deals for which contracts have been exchanged, shows that £8.83bn was transacted in the first six months of 2017, compared to £7.45bn over the same period last year. 

Acquisitions by Asia Pacific investors, those from Hong Kong, Singapore and China, totaled £4.07bn, a 46% share of investment in Central London’s commercial property market during this period. H1 2017 was the most active first half of the year for Asia Pacific investment in Central London in the last five years.  

Major deals in the first half of the year included the acquisitions of The Leadenhall Building – popularly known as The Cheesegrater – and One Kingdom Street by Hong Kong’s CC Land, the purchase of 20 Gresham Street by China Resources Land, and the acquisition of 67 Lombard Street by Singapore’s Ho Bee Land. Cushman & Wakefield advised on all three deals. 

James Beckham, Head of London Capital Markets, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “There are push and pull factors behind all global capital flows, so the recent high-profile visit to Hong Kong by the Chinese President to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover is a timely reminder of the region's impact. Asia Pac investors from across the entire region dominated the London market in the first half of this year and are set to continue with strong ongoing interest in assets right across the risk spectrum.”

German investors also led the return of European investors to the Central London market. Of the seven deals valued at more than £200m in the City of London, four of these were acquisitions by European investors, of which three were German. These included Deutsche Asset Management’s acquisition of 2&3 Bankside for £310m – Cushman & Wakefield advised the vendor M&G Real Estate.  

Of the £8.83bn-worth of commercial property assets transacted in the first half of 2017, Cushman & Wakefield advised on £2.49bn of the deal flow, representing a 28% market share.