UK Commercial:

West End Investment Watch

West End Investment Watch
West End Investment Watch

14 February 2018, words by Ben Raywood

West End thirsty for new stock after a dry January

Market comment and notable deals

■ January witnessed a relatively low volume of deals with £325m over six transactions recorded. This sits below the January five-year average, of £593m, and well below that of January 2016 and 2017; £1.05bn and £938m, respectively.


■ On behalf of Derwent London, Savills has jointly exchanged on Porter’s Wharf, King’s Cross for better than the quoting price of £48m, reflecting a 4.51% net initial yield and a capital value of £1,088 per sq ft. The freehold property is let to Macmillan Publishers Ltd until June 2034 at a rent reflecting £52.40 per sq ft overall. The lease provides for open market rent reviews and minimum rental increases in both 2022 (to £54.90 per sq ft) and 2027 (to £57.39 per sq ft).

■ In another REIT deal, Workspace has acquired Centro 3,4 & 5, Atelier House and Selous House in Camden for £109m, reflecting a 4.20% net initial yield and a capital value of £831 per sq ft. The freehold interest in five multi-let buildings provides 131,129 sq ft of accommodation and is currently occupied by 16 tenants at an average passing rent of £44.70 per sq ft, with approximately 21,000 sq ft currently vacant and undergoing refurbishment. Workspace will look to reposition the asset as a multi-let business centre in keeping with their model.

■ In their fourth known West End purchase in the last 12 months, has acquired 70 Pall Mall for £35m, reflecting a capital value of £1,450 per sq ft. The long leasehold property provides 8,970 sq ft of retail accommodation arranged over ground and lower ground floors let to HSBC as a banking hall and ancillary space at a rent of £281,000 per annum with a lease expiry in May 2018. The five upper floors comprise 15,155 sq ft of office accommodation and were sold with full vacant possession.

■ Not only has it been a slow start in 2018 for purchases; new opportunities have been thin. By our records there has been only six transactions openly marketed in January, amounting to £240m compared to £728m of sales over 11 deals introduced to the market across the same period in 2017. Whilst new launches remain limited we are monitoring approximately £2bn of potentially available stock and we outline the split of this by lot size in Graph 1. In addition, there is also £500m under offer, the majority of which we expect to exchange in February.


West End investment availability

Graph 1

Source: Savills Research (accurate to end of January 2018)

■ The IPD average net initial yield has moved out to 3.46% whilst the equivalent yield remains at 4.70%. Savills prime yield remains at 3.25% (see Graph 2).


West End yields

Graph 2

Source: Savills Research, MSCI


Key deals in January 2018

Table 1

Source: Savills Research


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Ben Raywood

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