Asia investors pile in to London CRE

Despite Brexit and political uncertainty, Asia Pacific investors had their most active H1 in Central London for the last five years, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Asia Pacific investors shrugged off Brexit and UK general election uncertainties by investing £4.07 billion ($5.24 billion; €4.6 billion) in Central London in the first half of the year, research from Cushman & Wakefield has revealed.

Acquisitions by Asia Pacific investors – those from Hong Kong, Singapore and China – in H1 accounted for a 46 percent share of total investments in Central London’s commercial property market. H1 2017 was the most active first half of the year for Asia Pacific investment in Central London in the last five years, according to the report.

The rise in deal volumes came at a time of heightened political uncertainty in the UK with Brexit negotiations still to come and the results of a snap election leading to Prime Minister Theresa May to form a minority government, essentially cementing a weaker position for the ruling Conservative Party.

“Asia Pacific 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,” commented James Beckham, head of London capital markets, Cushman & Wakefield.

Major deals in the first half of the year included the acquisition of The Leadenhall Building – commonly 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’s research, which counts deals for which contracts have been exchanged, showed that in London £8.83 billion in total was transacted in the first six months of 2017, compared to £7.45 billion over the same period last year.

German investors led the return of European investors to the Central London market and were involved in three of the seven deals valued at more than £200 million in the City of London. This included Deutsche Asset Management’s June acquisition of 2&3 Bankside for £310 million.