August 23, 2013
The news this week that work is to begin on the former Lumiere site in Leeds is a clear indicator of how investor confidence in commercial property has reached its highest level since Q2 2008, according to Jones Lang LaSalle. Its latest UK Real Estate Investor Confidence Survey, which canvassed the views of nearly 100 principals and lenders in the UK commercial property investment sector, found investor confidence has jumped by 7 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 compared with Q1, a 63 per cent increase on Q2 last year. The report’s findings also showed even greater competition for assets amongst property investors is anticipated with 61 per cent of respondents expecting more buyers than sellers, up from 42 per cent last quarter.
Simon Cullimore, director of Valuation Advisory at Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising given the more positive news coming out of the UK economy that we have seen a rise in investor confidence. Equally, we have witnessed a notable improvement in the property lending markets with growing appetite from lenders to finance not only prime but also good secondary property.
“Nearly 50 per cent of respondents to our latest survey felt that debt had become more available. This backs up our view that regional lending is increasing and that financing is now available for a wider range of assets than one year ago.”
In Leeds, M&G’s £29 million acquisition this week of Toronto Square [pictured], the imminent completion of the sale of former Lumiere site, coupled with other buildings believed to be under offer including St George’s House, Bond Court and Castle House are, according to Jones Lang LaSalle, clear indicators of strengthening sentiment.
Andrew Summersgill, director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s National Investment team in Leeds, said: “Leeds has had an unprecedented start to the first six months of the year in terms of office occupational activity and whilst there is no doubt that some caution still exists, recent economic surveys and market activity show signs that confidence is building.
“Yorkshire’s commercial property market is more liquid than we have seen for some time and whilst this may not be translating through to higher values, it is a positive sign and perhaps heralds the start of a recovery we have all been waiting for.”