Belfast Telegraph

Brexit concerns 'have had very little effect' on London property

By John Mulligan

The "elongated uncertainties" of Brexit have not filtered through to the UK property market, with a number of chunky deals highlighting the attractiveness of London in particular as an investment opportunity, according to Starwood European Finance.

The company has almost a quarter of its £430m (€482.6m) loan portfolio attached to assets in Ireland, to projects including the new international school backed by Barry Callaghan on Dublin's southside.

"Whilst the agreement of the terms of Brexit between the UK and the European Union are making slow progress, the elongated uncertainties of Brexit are less evident in the real estate markets," Starwood European Finance said in a quarterly update.

"Appetite for London office investment is unabated and while Chinese investors have pulled back from new acquisitions, there are many other sources of capital attracted to the London investment market illustrated through recent transactions," it added.

Starwood point to Singapore's Ho Bee Land buying Ropemaker Place for £650m (€729m), Hong Kong tycoon Victor Li's purchase of 5 Broadgate for £1bn (€1.1bn), and Korean investors buying 20 Old Bailey and Cannon Street House.

Starwood, a closed-end investment company which is an indirect subsidiary of Starwood Capital, said the 12-month rolling take-up of London office space was at its highest level in July since September 2015, at 7.6m sq ft.

Starwood European Finance has bankrolled the development of the international school in Dublin that will be operated by Hong Kong-based Nord Anglia. It's due to open this September. Starwood provided a £16.7m (€18.7m) loan.

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The school in Leopardstown, which is aimed at children of multinational executives, is based in a former Microsoft building.

Mr O'Callaghan enlisted former education minister Ruairi0 Quinn to support the bid to establish the new school, which will be the most expensive in the country. Annual fees start at just under €16,000 and rise to as much as €24,000.

Nord Anglia operates about 43 other international schools around the world, in countries including China and the US.

Starwood has also backed projects in Ireland including student accommodation schemes, a hotel project and residential units.

Belfast Telegraph

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