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Foreign investors tipped to flock to London

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Commercial property investors from overseas could be set to tie up more money in the central London office market.

According to Knight Frank, the investment market in the region was largely made up of investors from the UK a decade ago. Indeed, it said that while a small number of German and American investors had moved into offices in central London, Britons "dominated" the market at this time.

However, the organisation believes this is no longer the case, with foreign investors now outnumbering those from the UK in the heart of the capital.

Stephen Clifton, investment partner at Knight Frank, commented: "Foreign capital from across the globe is the majority, with much of the investment coming from emerging markets and the mineral economies."

Mr Clifton believes this trend will continue throughout 2012, with investors from overseas choosing to secure an even broader range of assets. As a result, there could be more foreign money transfers to the UK over the next few months.

"Up until now the overseas money has targeted trophy assets, but I expect them to diversify their portfolios this year," Mr Clifton commented.

This, he said, would result in them taking on riskier investment options, such as purchasing sites or "joint venturing" with developers from the UK.

An influx of foreign investors next year could represent a boost to the central London office market after a 27 per cent drop in the take-up rate was recorded in 2011.

However, the continuing influx of major technology companies has led to Knight Frank remaining confident in the market's prospects for the coming year. Nokia, Apple, Facebook and Google were just some of the large brands establishing a stronger presence in London during 2011.

Demand from firms in the tech industry doubled throughout this period, which Knight Frank said was significant considering the fact there was an economic slowdown at the time.

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