LSH: Q3 property investment hits £313m

Simon Donohue

The value of commercial property investments in the third quarter of 2013 was almost £100m higher than in the same period last year, according to Lambert Smith Hampton.

North West deals totalling £313.2m were conducted in Q3 2013 against £215m in Q3 2012, according to LSH's UK Investment Transactions Q3 2013 summary.

The most significant deals to take place during Q3 included Standard Life's purchase of the Travis Perkins industrial unit at Omega North, Warrington for £52.8m; WP Carey's purchase of Trinity Bridge House, Manchester for £45.25m; and Benson Elliot's acquisition of the Fishergate Centre, Preston for £40m.

The Q3 figure represented a 7% increase on Q2 2013, when £292.46m was transacted.

The Travis Perkins deal provided a significant boost to the industrial sector with activity levels increasing by 211% from the previous quarter.

The retail sector remained strong, accounting for 36% of the total market at £111.6m. Investment volumes in the office sector totalled £46m, this represented a 48% drop from the £95.9m transacted in the previous quarter, but a considerable increase from the £10.5m recorded in Q3 2012.

Abid Jaffry, director and regional head of Capital Markets at LSH, said: "As confidence within the occupational market increases and the regions offer value compared to Central London in particular, we can expect to see a continued increase in investment activity in the final quarter of 2013.

"In particular, we should see investment volumes rise within the office sector, where there are currently a number of opportunities being discussed off market. UK buyers remain key investors, accounting for 34% of total activity in Q3; however we are beginning to see increased interest from overseas investors and private equity companies looking for opportunities within the region."

Commenting on the UK as a whole, Tom Leahy, associate director of Research at LSH, said: "As we forecast at the beginning of the year, there has been a change in investor attitude towards the regional markets.

"Over the last two quarters there has been an increase in regional investment and investment stet has already outstripped the 2012 total.

"Increasing confidence should feed through to the markets as companies look to move or upgrade premises and consumers have more disposable income to spend on high streets, retail parks and shopping centres.

"Improvements in the economy should also encourage investors to take on more risk as they see a greater upside in terms of rental growth and the ability to enhance returns through refurbishment, redevelopment and speculative development.

"As a result, we remain optimistic over the prospects in the regions for the next 12 months and expect to see even more improvement and a further rise in investment levels."

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