London property proves ‘a Brexit safe haven’

BQ Live

Property investors acquired £1bn of Central London prime retail property in the first half of the year, with the market proving a safe haven before and after the vote to leave the EU, according to CBRE.

This total dwarfs the H1 average of £700m seen in recent years. Total investment for 2016 is set to swell significantly in August, with a further £450m worth of deals set to complete this month.

The market’s reputation as a secure long-term investment has also been bolstered by a third successive quarter of prime yields at record lows. Investors continue to regard prime Central London retail as being relatively protected from the macroeconomic headwinds that have caused nervousness in other markets.

London shops have proved particularly attractive to overseas investors, who represented 60% of volumes in H1. Phil Cann, head of UK retail at CBRE, said: “London shops have been seen by many as the ultimate safe haven investment, with buyers bucking the ‘wait and see’ trend we have seen in other sectors. “The strong H1 investment volumes are even more remarkable when considered against the backdrop of uncertainty created by the EU referendum and what is normally a typically slower first half.”

“The rationale for investing in UK real estate has naturally been questioned in the light of the decision to leave the EU, but the fact is the UK retail market is underpinned by strong fundamentals – a mature e-commerce model, a sophisticated logistics network, and diversity in retail locations, and London remains a powerhouse at its heart.”

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