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Overseas investors expect real estate to drive UK growth

Some 31% of overseas investors said that real estate and construction would drive UK growth in the future, up from 10% in 2019 – the highest increase of any sector.

Real estate and construction is now in the top-three most attractive sectors, behind only digital (seen as driving future UK growth by 50%) and health and wellbeing (36%).

Russell Gardner, EY UK & Ireland head of real estate, hospitality & construction, said: “The government’s stated infrastructure plans have likely played a role in boosting interest in the real estate and construction sector.

“But the significant impact of the pandemic on UK high streets and workplaces has also encouraged many investors to re-imagine what real estate will need to offer in the future.”

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The pandemic has re-shaped investors’ strategies, with 61% saying that the changing model in major city centres will become an important theme in future investments.

Underlining the built environment’s importance to FDI more widely, 23% of respondents cited the reliability and coverage of infrastructure as an important factor for deciding whether to invest in a particular country.

EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey found that the proportion of overseas companies planning to invest in the UK in the next 12 months has fallen to 25% from a 10-year high of 31% in April.

Only 43% are continuing with the UK investments they planned before the pandemic, down from 72% in April.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Where overseas investors own most properties

The London boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Camden are some of the most popular with foreign owners.

Pure Property Finance analysed data from the Land Registry on overseas companies that own property in England and Wales.

There were 10,938 in the City of Westminster, 5,847 in Kensington and Chelsea, and 2,363 in Camden.

In terms of areas outside London, 1,770 were in Manchester and 1,516 were in Liverpool.

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Ben Lloyd, managing director of Pure Property Finance, said: “Since we set up Pure in 2013, we have worked with clients across the UK and abroad to secure bespoke property finance that suits their specific project needs.

“In this time, we have definitely seen some ‘hotspots’ for investment, particularly in London and the South East, along the M4 corridor, as well as cities in the North West.

“Some of these areas are now becoming oversaturated and do not provide the opportunities they once did. However, others remain in high demand; high value locations will almost always hold their value and bring a solid long-term return on investment.”

Overseas investors will be charged a stamp duty surcharge of 2% from April next year.

BY RYAN BEMBRIDGE

Source: Property Wire

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Overseas investors target Scotland as property volumes rebound over summer

Property experts are banking on a strong end to the year after investment volumes in Scotland rebounded over the summer following a “Covid quarter” wipeout.

Investment volumes in the third quarter of 2020, covering July, August and September, reached £477 million, according to property consultant Colliers International’s latest snapshot.

That marked the highest quarterly figure in a year, though it was still almost 20 per cent below the five-year quarterly average of £564m. It comes after investment volumes slowed to a near standstill in the second quarter of this year, when the figure plummeted to just £35m.

The firm said there was hope for a strong end to the year with pent-up demand driving activity.

Oliver Kolodseike, associate director, research and forecasting, at Colliers International, said: “It is positive to see that transactional volumes have started to pick up again and we are now expecting a strong end to the year in Scotland as we recover from the ‘Covid quarter’.

“An annual investment total of £1.5 billion across all sectors would be a positive result given the nationwide lockdown earlier in the year.”

The firm’s analysis found that the office and alternative sectors accounted for three quarters of all activity by value, while investment volumes in the industrial sector were 40 per cent above its five-year quarterly average. Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic, activity in the retail segment was limited, Colliers noted.

There was a renewed interest in Scotland from Asia Pacific-based investors, who accounted for over half of all investment volumes. This included the quarter’s largest deal which saw South Korean Hyundai Asset Management purchase 1-3 Lochside Crescent in Edinburgh for just over £133m. The 247,500 sq ft asset is currently let to insurer Aegon.

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The deal marked Hyundai Asset Management’s second Edinburgh purchase in less than 18 months, having already bought Gyle Square in April 2019 for £55m in one of Scotland’s other largest office deals that year.

Looking in more detail at investment in the office sector, a total of £186m was invested during the third quarter, only slightly weaker than the £196m transacted a year ago and marginally below the five-year quarterly average of £193m.

In one of Scotland’s other largest office deals this year, Singaporean Elite Partners Capital bought 150 Broomielaw, the 97,000 sq ft building completely let to Scottish Enterprise, for £40m.

Industrial investment activity picked up during the past quarter, with volumes reaching £80m, 40 per cent above the five-year quarterly average of £56m.

The figure was boosted significantly by the sale of Amazon’s one million sq ft logistics centre to Korean-based KB Securities for £66.8m, representing the second-largest industrial deal ever recorded in Scotland.

Patrick Ford, director, national capital markets, Colliers International in Glasgow, said: “It was good to see this relatively strong investment performance in the industrial sector in Scotland’s two biggest cities in Q3.

“Overseas investors, particularly those located in Asia, remain very interested in the Scottish industrial sector and large deals continue to be done, despite global economic uncertainty on the back of Covid.”

By Scott Reid

Source: Scotsman

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Prime London market the busiest it has been for ‘over five years’

The Prime Central London (PCL) property market is the busiest it has been for over five years, according to estate agency Dexters.

The firm, which has a larger presence in the heart of the capital than any other agency, reports that the number of sales agreed for properties priced over £2 million between mid-June and mid-August was 85% higher than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, lettings transactions for properties costing over £1,250 per week were also up 41% compared to the same period in 2019.

Overseas interest in prime London properties is being driven by purchasers from Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India, while domestic applicants commonly work in the finance or law industries.

Dexters says that all buyers are keen to purchase homes with outside space. Apartments with large balconies or terraces, low rise houses and mews properties with gardens are attracting the most interest at the moment.

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Prime London buyers are also currently willing to pay a premium for homes which have their own private entrance instead of a shared hallway.

The most popular addresses in recent weeks, according to Dexters, are: Mount Street and Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, the ‘Old Chelsea’ addresses of Cheyne Row, Upper Cheyne Row and Glebe Place, Marylebone Village, Old Queen Street and Queen Anne’s Gate in Westminster, Warwick Square, Ecclestone Square and Moreton Place in Pimlico, and South Kensington’s Onslow Gardens and Cranley Gardens.

Alongside, Hong Kong, the UAE and India, overseas interest is also strong from buyers in Singapore, the United States and Italy, with Dexters saying that over 80% of overseas investors are cash buyers.

The most popular property with foreign buyers is currently a spacious two-bedroom apartment with an outside terrace, located in an apartment building with a hotel-like concierge or porter. Overseas buyers are also keen on properties that have living spaces closer to the entrance, with the bedrooms beyond and a separate, rather than open-plan, kitchen.

According to Dexters, whether overseas or domestic buyers, the typical prime London apartment purchasers are couples without children in their 30s or 40s, or mid-to-late 20s buyers with help from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. Buyers of houses, meanwhile, are more likely to be late-30s to mid-50s parents with one or two children.

“Due to the pent-up demand that surfaced after the lockdown and people choosing to holiday in the UK this year rather than overseas, there is a particularly strong market this summer,” says Richard Page, Dexters’ marketing director.

“All the activity we are currently seeing gives us every confidence about the outlook for the Prime Central London property market.”

By Conor Shilling

Source: Property Investor Today