Latest research from DTZ shows Sweden has regained its position as the most liquid European commercial property market, with turnover at about 9% of its invested stock.
DTZ measures liquidity by dividing a country’s invested stock by investment volumes in any given year.
According to that measure Norway (7.6%), the UK (6.4%), Poland (5.7%) and Germany (5.2%) where the next most liquid markets respectively in 2012, according to DTZ’s figures.
France has the second biggest invested stock in Europe, it said, but is only ranked as the 10th most liquid market with a score of 3%.
Nigel Almond, head of Strategy Research at DTZ said: “Sweden’s position at the top may come as a surprise given its position as the eighth-largest investment market in Europe at €106bn, around a sixth of the size of the UK. Commercial real estate investment activity in Sweden has rebounded strongly since the onset of the global financial crisis reaching close to €10bn in 2012. The market, along with the wider Nordic region is perceived as a relative safe haven during the recent crisis. The banking sector also avoided many of the worst excesses of the boom period supporting a much stronger recovery. It is therefore no surprise to see two Nordic markets taking the top two places.”
Domestic investors have been the dominant buyers across Europe in the past decade in volume terms. However, they have been net sellers in every year over the period.
For foreign investors from outside Europe, the Uk remains the most liquid market, with so-called inter-regional buyers acquiring 2.4% of the UK’s invested stock in 2012. Some two-thirds of this investment, or about €10bn, targeted central London. “This represented 37% of all inter-regional activity in Europe as a whole,” DTZ added.
Ben Cook, head of UK Inward Investment at DTZ said: “The UK, and in particular central London, is one of the top markets globally for foreign investors. Over the past ten years investors from no less than forty countries outside of Europe have invested in the UK, double any other European market. In 2012, overseas investors accounted for 71% of all commercial deals in central London – almost £10bn of the £14bn transacted.”
The UK has been a consistently popular property investment destination for foreign buyers. It has had a top three inter-regional liquidity ranking in seven out of the last 10 years. Germany and Poland have ranked in the top three five times, and Sweden has done so four times. By contrast, Norway, the second most liquid European property market in 2012, has attracted no foreign buyers from outside Europe. The majority of investments there are either domestic or from the Nordic region.
Magali Marton, head of CEMEA Research at DTZ said: “The research highlights that size is not all when it comes to liquidity. There are a number of relatively small markets displaying higher levels of liquidity. These markets should really be on the radar for more internationally-focused investors. A number of markets including Sweden and Poland rank well on both an overall and an inter-regional basis and could therefore justify attracting higher levels of overseas capital. Despite its position as one of the top markets by size, France could do a lot more to increase its relative attractiveness to investors given its low rankings, particularly its attractiveness to overseas capital.”