Overseas investors shore up demand for London property

Kasmira Jefford
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OVERSEAS investor appetite for London property continued unabated in the first quarter of the year, accounting for almost three-quarters of commercial property sales in the period.

A total of £2.75bn transactions took place in central London the first three months of the year, Cushman and Wakefield, the property advisory firm, said yesterday.

Overseas buyers accounted for 71 per cent of the sales figure, reinforcing London’s status as an economic safe haven.
However, the total value of transactions fell 31 per cent on the fourth quarter of last year, when sales reached £3.98bn, because of lack of available commercial property to meet demand, particularly in the West End.

In the City & Docklands, £1.77bn worth of property changed hands in the quarter in 22 transactions, with 88 per cent – or £1.56bn worth – derived from overseas investors.

But much of the total was accounted for by a small number of deals, with just four sales amounting to £1.35bn. These include Ropemaker Place in the City, which was bought by Axa Real Estate from British Land last month for £472m.

In the West End, £965m of property changed hands, down from £1.21bn in the last quarter.