MIDDLE EAST INVESTORS CONTINUE TO LOOK TO UK REGIONS
UK regions overtake Central London for the first time as preferred destination for Middle East capital
The UK regions, including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow were the preferred destinations for Middle Eastern capital in 2019, according to global real estate advisor, CBRE.
According to the property advisor, Middle East investors deployed £880m into the UK regions in 2019, compared to £650m in Central London. Whilst investment into the UK from the Middle East in 2019 was down on 2018, falling from £3.7bn to £1.5bn, this is the first time investors have deployed more capital into UK regional cities than into Central London.
Middle East investors deployed £230m in Scotland with transactions taking place in all of the major cities: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. This included the £27m acquisition of Centrica’s HQ in Edinburgh by BLME/Darin Partners.
Other notable transactions around the UK included the largest regional transaction of the year, the £140m purchase of the Lewis Building and Priory Court in Birmingham by GII, as well as the £68m purchase of the Exchange Flags office building in Liverpool by Ashtrom and Al Duwaliya’s purchase of Eagle House office building in Bristol.
In 2019 we saw a number of Middle East investors dispose of their London assets as they reached the end of their investment cycles, including the sale of 25 Canada Square, Citibank’s HQ. This group of investors have long been active in cities outside of London having invested £6bn the UK regions in the last five years. However, this is the first time regional investment activity has exceeded that in London. Investors are increasingly attracted by the high levels of investment into regional infrastructure and the opportunity to achieve greater yields.