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Investment in Birmingham offices soars eightfold in 2014

11 February 2015 – Greame Brown, Birmingham Post

£607 million spent on offices in the city in a single year in latest sign of growth. Investment in offices in Birmingham soared eight-fold last year to £607 million, new research shows. The amount spent on developing offices in the city rose from £68 million in 2013 according to CoStar. Office sales in Birmingham accounted for 23 per cent of all office trades in the “big six” regional cities, up from just six per cent in 2013.

The largest office deals in Birmingham in 2014 included M&G’s purchase of Two Snowhill from Hines for £140 million, Union Investment Real Estate’s acquisition of One Snowhill from Commerz Real for £125 million, and Legal & General’s purchase of Temple Court and Priory Court for £87.5 million out of receivership.

Researchers also found real estate investment in the West Midlands almost doubled year-on-year, increasing 89 per cent from £1.7 billion in 2013 to £3.2 billion in 2014, with office investment increasing fourfold to £919 million in total.

In all, £70.7 billion was invested in UK commercial real estate in 2014, a 32 per cent increase on the £53.6 billion invested in 2013. This made it the highest volume since records began, outstripping the previous high of £67 billion in 2006. The rise was on the back of soaring foreign investment – £25.4 billion, which represented a 25 per cent increase.

Giles Newman, managing director of CoStar, said: “2014 has set a new high watermark for UK commercial property investment which included soaring levels of investment outside of London as the year progressed. Commercial real estate benefitted from a perfect storm of factors blowing in its favour and marked a transition to a true sellers’ market.

“The UK’s economic strength was a major factor but the continuation – and indeed strengthening – of the flight of capital chasing higher-yielding investments played a major part in deals being done.”

Offices remained the dominant sector with 43 per cent of the total volume but this year’s biggest climber was industrial. Buoyed by some large portfolio trades, investment soared 57 per cent year on year to £8.2 billion.