The City of London recorded its second highest monthly turnover in 2019 with £1.017bn transacting across nine deals in July, compared to £318m in June. In the West End, £377m was transacted across four transactions – including 23 Savile Row which sold for £277m, the largest West End transaction to date this year – compared with £171m in June.
23 Savile Row was sold by a joint venture between Angola’s Quantum Global and LaSalle Investment Management to Lazari for £277m, which reflects a net initial yield of 4.14%.
Paul Cockburn, director in the West End investment team at Savills, explains:
“The boost in activity we have experienced is reflective of a number of factors ranging from improved sentiment and stronger demand for assets on the market. While the West End experienced lower volumes than the City, over £2bn of property is under offer and we expect this enhanced activity to filter through to August.”
In the City, US investors still account for the largest share of investment so far in 2019, accounting for 37% of total investment, having acquired five buildings in the City market totalling £1.50bn. UK investors continue to lead the way in terms of number of deals having acquired 34 buildings totalling £1.27bn (31% of total volume). However, July saw a marked increase in activity from Asian investors, as they spent c.£480m, more than double their spend for the rest of the year.
Richard Bullock, director in the City Investment team at Savills, explains:
“With sterling continuing to track lower, and an increase in value add and core properties being marketed we are seeing a rise in interest from international investors.”
Against the backdrop of the sale of 8 Finsbury Circus – by Mitsubishi Estate to Stamford Land Corporation for £260m reflecting a net initial yield of 3.98% – and an increase in investor appetite for Core buildings, Savills has moved its prime city yield back to 4.0% which compares with the West End prime yield of 3.75%.