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MIPIM: Investors return to UK market prompted by better value.

Jones Lang LaSalle's business leaders yesterday outlined expectations for the UK, Germany and Russia at its MIPIM 'Key Market predictions for Europe' conference.

The property firm forecast UK investment turnover to fall 30 to 40 per cent in 2008, and sees real opportunity in the UK market. Germany is predicted to have strongest rental growth in Western Europe, while Russia will maintain dynamic growth underpinned by more than just oil.

Nigel Roberts, chairman of EMEA research at Jones Lang LaSalle, opened by looking at Europe's real estate markets over the year.

"This time a year ago the property party was in full swing after five years of fantastic performance.

The market was awash with capital and we estimated five euros chasing every one of real estate product. Today's post credit crunch environment is testing investor confidence and price levels."

Mr Roberts outlined the factors in play. n the credit markets will not return to pre crunch 'normality' n debt will remain expensive and restricted in 2008 weakness in financial markets will translate to all sectors and impact occupational demand.

He expects capital values to fall at least another 10 per cent.

On the plus side Mr Roberts highlighted positives, pointing out economic growth continues and supports occupier markets and some rental growth; corporate Europe is cautious but in good health, interest rates are historically low and there is little evidence of oversupply.

"We expect good opportunities to emerge at new lower price levels for investors with good equity backing as the year unfolds as investors start to price risk to reflect the new market reality. There is still plenty of capital and the depth and breadth the European market offers investors has not disappeared: confidence is the key."

Julian Stocks, head of capital markets in England at Jones Lang LaSalle, picked out several key predictions: "We expect UK investment turnover to be down year on year 30 to 40 per cent at the end of 2008. Activity remains at lower levels.

"That said we are already aware of an increased interest in the UK from investors, both domestic and overseas, as they recognise value returning.

"We think there will be an overcorrection in the London office sector.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 13, 2008
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