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Investment floods into UK; Overseas buyers put billions into property.

Byline: BY TONY McDONOUGH Deputy Business Editor

OVERSEAS investment into UK commercial property soared 152% to pounds 15.9bn in 2004 with US investors claiming top spot for investor activity with purchases totalling pounds 7.2bn.

According to DTZ Research's Overseas Acquisitions into UK Commercial Property report, the impressive rise in overall overseas buying volumes has primarily been due to the increased level of corporate and investment portfolio transactions undertaken during 2004.

As a percentage of total acquisitions in UK real estate, cross border purchases in 2004 accounted for around a third of all acquisitions, an increase of more than 10% on their market share in 2003.

Purchases of UK commercial property was strong from the US, German and Irish investors with the US accounting for 45% of all activity.

The figure was heavily distorted by the purchase of the Canary Wharf Group by Songbird Acquisitions (the US-led investment vehicle), but US investors were very active in the UK real estate market in 2004.

Irish investors accounted for pounds 2.8bn of acquisitions in 2004, with around 80% of activity from private investors. Demand from German investors remained robust as they increased purchasing activity by 15% on one year earlier to stand at pounds 2.5bn.

In 2004, purchasing activity increased significantly across all three main commercial sectors however offices remained the preferred property type attracting 60% of total capital to stand at pounds 10.5bn.

THERE was also a warning from DTZ this week that Liverpool will have to work hard to attract more city centre residents if the local market is to be sustainable. With a number of new schemes in the pipeline, including Unity at Rumford Place and the Beetham Organisation's West Tower, the number of city centre residents could double to 20,000 by 2007.

Rob Sumner, residential associate director at DTZ in the North West, said: 'It is the responsibility of all those parties with a vested interest in attracting developers and occupiers to the Liverpool, that the most is made of the city's cultural heritage and current position on the domestic and international stage

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Developments like the Beetham Tower could double the number of city centre residents by 2007
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 20, 2005
Words:367
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