Irish sell off €700m of UK property

Irish property investors offloaded nearly €700m worth of commercial property in the UK in the first six months of 2012.

According to CBRE, Irish investors disposed of £545m (€693m) of commercial real estate in the UK in the first half of this year.

There were 22 transactions but they were of large assets with the vast majority of them located in London.

Marie Hunt, head of research at CBRE in Ireland, said that just over half of the properties sold were office blocks.

“There were 22 individual investment sale transactions completed by Irish vendors in the UK in the first six months of 2012. 56% of the £545m proceeds were accounted for by the sale of office buildings, with nine office investments sold by Irish vendors in the period.

“A further 18% of the total proceeds from Irish vendors were accounted for by the sale of seven retail properties.

“Some of the most high-profile assets to change hands in the period include the sale of the 107 Cheapside office building in London City for over £124m; the sale of an office building on Queen Victoria Street in London for £70m and the sale of a leisure/retail building at Leicester Square in the City for £55m,” she said.

One of the largest pieces of British property sold by Irish investors in London, the Battersea Power Station, was not included in statistics for the first half of the year.

Battersea was not the only large transaction involving Irish owners in the first half of 2012. The German fund RREEF recently bought Drapers Gardens in the City on behalf of Chinese investors from an Irish investor for £285m.

Another Irish investor is reported to have sold 23 Savile Row, in the West End for about £219m.

Caroline McCarthy, executive director in CBRE’s investment department, said that despite the economic downturn demand remained strong for London property.

“Although the UK economic situation has deteriorated somewhat in recent months and this in turn has had implications for the real estate sector, there has been no discernible let up in demand or change in sentiment towards investment in central London, which high-net-worth investors still perceive as a safe haven... The most dominant investors are Middle and Far Eastern investors and sovereign wealth funds.”


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