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 percent uplift compared to Q1 2015. The Netherlands recorded €2.1 billion of investment, a 75 percent 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 percent and 31 percent respectively. In Russia, following a quiet couple of years, the market picked up and Q1 2016 investment volumes grew by 177 percent 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 percent on Q1 2015. Compared to other sectors, investment into industrial assets in Q1 made up 11.5 percent of the total investment into European commercial real estate. This is almost double (6 percent) when compared to the same quarter in 2015.
Jonathan Hull, managing director of Investment Properties, EMEA at CBRE, commented: “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.”
Olesya Dzuba, Director, Strategic Analysis and Planning Department CBRE in Russia, commented: “Russian commercial real estate is interesting for investments because of corrected values, which are either approaching, or have already reached the bottom. The most active are Russian investors, while western capital is still here and is looking for attractive assets to purchase. Moreover some Asian and Middle Eastern investors created local teams and are actively considering opportunities offered by the market. They are most of all interested in centrally located stabilised income producing assets.”