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Foreign investors snapping up central London offices

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Foreign investors are snapping up central London offices

Foreign investors are continuing to put money into the central London office market, experts have stated.

According to Knight Frank, nearly nine out of ten sales between April and June 2012 were to investors based outside the UK.

James Roberts, Head of Central London Research at the group, noted that many of the foreign buyers hail from non-European countries.

"Buyers are coming from as far afield as the US, Canada, China, Brazil, Malaysia, Russia and the Middle East," he commented.

This suggests that the UK is seen a relative safe haven around the world when compared with many other European nations, such as those at the heart of the eurozone debt crisis.

Favourable currency exchange rates could also be helping to drive this trend. Indeed, Mr Roberts said that while sterling is lower than it was before 2007, it has gained in value recently. This, he stated, has helped to keep buyers "focused on London".

"There is a united nations of foreign investors interested in buying London offices," Mr Roberts observed.

London's West End is doing particularly at well at the moment, with Mayfair and St James's proving very popular.

Mr Roberts noted that many of those who invest in this part of the capital "rarely sell", which means the supply of available office space is limited.

As a result, it appeals to wealthy investors "who want the prestige of owning a building on Piccadilly or Berkeley Square".

He predicted that the current constraints on supply will lead to Mayfair and St James's "buoying the West End figures", with other areas performing in line with the City.

Mr Roberts added that during the second quarter of 2012, £3.9 billion was invested in the central London office market. This, he said, is the highest amount since the third quarter of 2007 - when the credit crunch began.

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