Almost 30 per cent of buildings in Birmingham city centre are owned by overseas investors, new research shows.
The Who Owns Central Birmingham report by consultancy GVA shows 4.3 million sq ft of commercial and retail space in the city centre is owned or part-owned by foreigners.
The findings are revealed in its third annual study which analyses more than 15 million square feet of commercial space in the city core.
The report assesses the space based on a range of factors, including nationality of ownership, office stock by grade, ownership by type of investor and rates of churn.
Of the ownership from overseas investors, 17.5 per cent is sole ownership, with 12.2 per cent part-owned – leaving 70.3 per cent in UK hands.
This is a slight reduction on the previous study, where 31 per cent of stock was held by foreign consortia.
Ian Stringer, senior regional director at GVA, said: “The level of granularity which we are able to apply to this study makes it a valuable tool in understanding the state of the Birmingham investment market.
“Since we launched the first report in 2012, we have seen some significant changes to the ownership of properties within the city core.
“This has included an increase of just over two per cent in those properties that are fully owned by UK investors as the UK funds have come back into the market. Unsurprisingly given the difficult economic period that they have endured, the amount of Irish-owned interests in the city has fallen by half.
“Middle Eastern owners have remained steady at around two per cent, while Far Eastern investors have made their first forays into the city, with the purchase of Quayside Tower and 130 Colmore Row, which account for a little under one per cent of the total.
“While this currently accounts for around 0.9 per cent of total ownership, with a recovering market and the city’s growing links with China, this could represent an important trend in further foreign investment.”
In the 12 months since the publication of the 2013 survey, approximately 1.2 million sq ft of office accommodation and 70,000 sq ft of retail space has been sold.
Key transactions in this period include the purchases of One Brindleyplace by European fund Trinova Real Estate and Quayside Tower on Broad Street by Chinese consortium Peng Global Investors.
The Australian Government’s Future Fund also sold its 33 per cent stake in the 1.2 million sq ft Bullring to the Canadian Pension Plan and Hammerson. Several Irish-owned assets were also acquired by UK investors.
The 260,000 sq ft One Snow Hill was also purchased by Union Invest for £125 million from fellow German organisation Comerz Real.
The study also examines the length of time that office and retail properties have been under their current ownership, with an average ownership period of 9.6 years, showing a marginal rise from 9.1 years recorded in the 2013 study.
For the purposes of the study, GVA has defined the city centre as the area contained within the old Inner Ring Road, but extended marginally at the Easter and Western extremities to encompass Westside – including Brindleyplace – and the as-yet largely undeveloped Eastside region.
The study covers all buildings, both office and retail, within this area with the exception of those that are owned and occupied by the public sector, civic buildings, universities or other educational establishments.
Developments sites with disused buildings are also discounted.