CBRE Monthly Index: Commercial property ends 2009 on strong note (UK)

According to the latest CBRE Monthly Index, commercial property ended 2009 on an exceptionally strong note, with total returns of 3.9% for December. On an annual basis property saw positive returns of 4%, a massive turnaround on the largely negative expectations held during the first half of the year.

All Property capital values rose by 3.3% over the month, the largest single month's growth in the index history, led by further strong performance of retail warehouses where intense investment demand meant capital values surged by a massive 6.1%. The six month spurt in retail warehouse performance has meant that values are actually 6.5% higher than they were at the end of 2008, with a total return of 15.6%, by far the best performer of 2009. Central London offices also continued their strong performance in December, with capital value growth of 3.7%, leaving the annual figure only marginally down at -2.1% for 2009. Rental values continued to correct at the All Property level, with a further fall of 0.3% in December. On an annual basis this meant rental values are 8.9% lower than the end of 2008. Central London offices rental values are down 21.5% on a year ago.

Peter Damesick, Head of UK Research at CBRE, commented: "The sharply accelerating returns and value increases seen over the past few months inversely mirror the worst of the downturn seen this time last year. Rapid yield compression of 100bp since mid-year has lifted property values by 10.3%, with stronger growth in retail warehouses and Central London offices. Strong demand from overseas investors and renewed flows of money into UK property funds have been the key drivers of growth, with limited availability of good quality assets to buy. Increased capital flows into property look likely in the near term, giving further momentum to the market in the early part of 2010."

The CB Richard Ellis Monthly Index showed:

· The total return for UK All Property was 3.9% in December, with returns of 4.0% for the whole of 2009.

· All Property capital values rose by 3.3% in December, the strongest recorded growth in the CBRE Monthly Index history. This meant that following the turnaround at the midpoint of the year and dramatic improvement since then, All Property values ended the year down only 2.1% over 2009.

· All Property rental values declined by 0.3% in December, the same rate as in November, and were down by 8.9% annually.

· All Property equivalent yields fell 25bp in December, ending the month at 7.3%. Over 2009 as a whole the equivalent yield fell 50bp.

· Retail warehouses stood out in 2009, with values growing by 6.5% and total returns up 15.6%. This was driven by a 90bp hardening in the equivalent yield over the year.

Source: CBRE

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