Q1 INVESTMENT INTO EUROPE REACHES THIRD HIGHEST FIRST QUARTER LEVEL ON RECORD
Investment into European real estate for the first quarter of 2016 reached €50.7 billion. With investment levels significantly above the ten year average of €43 billion, Q1 2016 was the third best first quarter on record, surpassed only twice before, in 2007 and 2015.
Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Russia all had strong first quarters. Finland had its best quarter since Q1 2008 with €1.8 billion invested, a 214% uplift compared to Q1 2015. The Netherlands recorded €2.1 billion of investment, a 75% increase compared to the same quarter in 2015, and Portugal and Belgium also saw strong levels of investment with year-on-year increases of 158% and 31% respectively. In Russia, following a quiet couple of years, the market picked up and Q1 2016 investment volumes grew by 177% year-on-year, driven largely by domestic buyers attracted by keen pricing and rents which appear to have bottomed out.
A number of factors, including equity market volatility and lack of available prime assets helped to slightly mute investment into French and German markets as well as the UK, which has contended with Brexit uncertainty
At a sector level, industrial property attracted €5.8 billion of investment, its best first quarter on record, up 57% on Q1 2015. Compared to other sectors, investment into industrial assets in Q1 made up 11.5% of the total investment into European commercial real estate. This is almost double (6%) when compared to the same quarter in 2015.
European commercial real estate continues to attract strong levels of interest, despite macro-economic uncertainty in some markets, and there is a significant weight of capital, both domestic and international, still looking to enter the market. The prevailing trend is slightly less opportunistic than we have seen in previous quarters and demand is very much focused around quality income and core assets.
EU referendum risk was undoubtedly one factor affecting investment activity in Q1, but instability in the financial markets earlier in the year was similarly important in engendering a risk averse attitude among investors.