UK Commercial:

City Investment Watch

City Investment Watch
City Investment Watch

22 January 2018, words by Ben Raywood

2017 investment volumes reach £12.64 billion - the highest annual turnover on record

Market comment and notable deals

■ December saw turnover of £2.23bn across 23 transactions taking total investment volumes in 2017 for the City of London to £12.64bn. This was 56% higher than 2016 turnover, 57% up on the 10-year average and the highest figure on record. We anticipate the strong market sentiment witnessed in Q4 2017 to continue into the new year, highlighted clearly by the volume of transactions currently under offer totalling in excess of £3.1bn.

 

GRAPH 1

City turnover by quarter

 
Graph 1

Source: Savills Research – accurate to end of Q4

■ 2017 turnover was driven by an increased demand for trophy assets, as shown by the ten largest deals totalling £5.5bn, compared with £3.1bn in 2016. The average deal size for 2017 was £93.66M, 83% up on the 2016 figure and the highest ever average deal size recorded within the City market.

GRAPH 2

City average deal size and number of transactions

 
Graph 2

Source: Savills Research – accurate to end of Q4

■ Savills advised Kingboard Investments on their acquisition of 15 Canada Square, E14 for £399.99M reflecting a net initial yield of 4.20% and a capital value of £921/ sq ft. The building is KPMG’s London headquarters and was sold by way of sale and leaseback for a term of 25 years and provides for five yearly upward only rent reviews, which are inflation-linked, subject to a minimum increase of 0% and a maximum increase of 3% per annum, compounded every five years.

■ Legal and General sold their freehold interest in 99 Gresham Street, EC2 for £136.20M, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.08% and a capital value of £1,420/sq ft. The prime building is located opposite the Bank of England and Bank of China. Tenants in the building include Xbridge Ltd, China CITIC Bank and the NHS Property Services generating a rent in excess of £5 million per annum. Savills advised the purchaser.

■ In an off-market transaction The Great Ropemaker Partnership, the 50/50 joint venture between Great Portland Estates and Ropemaker Properties (the property nominee of the BP Pension Fund), sold 240 Blackfriars Road, SE1 for £266.50M to Al Gurg, reflecting a net initial yield of 3.94% and a capital value of £1,178/ sq ft. The 20 storey landmark building was constructed in 2014 and is fully let to seven office tenants including UBM Plc, Boodle Hatfield LLP and Lonely Planet Publications Ltd.

■ In 2017 Asian buyers remained the largest investor group accounting for 52% of total turnover significantly ahead of their nearest rivals, European buyers (14%) and UK buyers (12%). The City of London continues to attract a wide array of investors driven by the status and stability of the market, this is clearly shown by the fact that 28 different nationalities acquired real estate in 2017. We expect the demand from overseas investors to continue in 2018.

GRAPH 3

City 2017 turnover by nationality

 
Graph 3

Source: Savills Research – accurate to end of Q4

■ Savills prime City yield remains at 4.00% for the eleventh consecutive month, this compares with the West End prime yield of 3.25%.

■ Savills advised on eight transactions in December which equated to 55% of turnover by volume.

TABLE 1

Key deals in December 2017

 
Table 1

Source: Savills Research

 
 

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Ben Raywood

Ben Raywood

Associate
Commercial Research

Savills Margaret Street

+44 (0) 20 7409 8791