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Uncertainty Ahead for European Real Estate

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Uncertainty Ahead for European Real Estate

By - Thursday 26 January 2012

The outlook for European real estate investment in 2012 is one of caution, with concerns over the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone continuing to play on investors' minds. In its most recent report into commercial property investment in the continent, Cushman & Wakefield predicted transaction volumes will "hold firm" this year, although the group stressed there is still much uncertainty on the markets. Looking at the close of 2011, the firm pointed to higher-than-expected investment volumes in the last three months of the year, bringing the total amount transacted in 2011 to 126.2 billion euros (GBP 105.5 billion).

Cushman & Wakefield highlighted the role played by foreign investors in boosting the amount of money ploughed into European commercial real estate, with overseas buyers now holding a 35.8 per cent market share. Although the core markets of Germany, France and the UK took the largest amount of investment, there was significant growth in many countries in central and eastern Europe (CEE), with Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Estonia and Croatia among those singled out. Some of these markets are expected to remain investment targets in 2012, head of European capital markets group at Cushman & Wakefield Michael Rhydderch stated. "Good prospects, meanwhile, will be seen in areas such as the Nordics, where economic growth is above average and market risks low, or in parts of CEE where economic growth is expected to hold up, notably Poland and Russia and possibly Turkey," he asserted.

A report published recently by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) looking at the outlook for real estate investment globally also highlighted concerns over political and economic instability. The firm predicted properties in prime locations will continue to offer a viable alternative to other asset classes, with their strong performance in 2011 expected to carry on into 2012. Chief economist for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region at CBRE Peter Damesick stressed the appeal of prime real estate in Europe is unlikely to be diminished this year, as such assets will be "supported in tougher economic conditions in 2012 by the widespread lack of new property supply".

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