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Republic's commercial property deals hit £480m as investors sell portfolios

By Peter Flanagan

Commercial property deals worth nearly €600m (£483m) were completed in the Republic in the first three months of the year, new figures show.

However, unlike past years, the vast majority of sales were for properties worth under €10m (£8m). It is a certain sign that the investment funds that bought swathes of Irish assets after the crash are now furiously churning their portfolios.

Data from property agents JLL shows that 80% of transactions between January and March were for between €1m and €10m. There were only two deals valued at more than €50m (£40m) during the period.

Private equity firms and other funds have bought numerous large portfolios of property and related loans. In many cases, the funds bought them to get access to a small number of properties and have been happy to sell off the other parts to interested buyers.

The "churning" process has become common across the Irish commercial property sector.

In another sign of portfolios being churned, there was a sharp increase in the level of deals involving property outside Dublin.

Regional deals now account for 44% of all transactions.

Whitewater Shopping Centre in Kildare was the largest sale this quarter. German fund Deka Immobilien bought the centre for €180m (£145m).

The second largest was the Central Quay office building in Dublin 2, which Hibernia Reit bought for €51.3m (£31m).

JLL head of research Hannah Dwyer said the numbers showed a "steady" start to 2016.

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