Central London investment volumes totalled £2.5 billion in Q3 2021, according to provisional data from global real estate adviser CBRE.
The volume is up from £1 billion in Q3 2020, when Covid-19 restrictions severely dampened investment activity.
The strong Q3 brings the year-to-date investment total to £6.4 billion, a 95 per cent increase on the same point last year, when just £3.3 billion of investment had been recorded.
CBRE says the London investment market has been dominated by Core transactions, which represented 60 per cent of total volumes in the first nine months of the year and demonstrate “a flight to quality in the wake of the pandemic”.
Furthermore, European capital has emerged as the dominant source of equity deployed in London. According to the provisional data, European investors invested more than £1 billion in Q3 2021 and account for 34 per cent of the year-to-date total. Asian capital, once the predominant capital source in London, remains challenged as a result of the pandemic and has accounted for just 15 per cent of the year-to-date investment total.
Separately, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told delegates at the Conservative Party Conference that workers should return to the office. “We will and must see people back in the office,” he said.
Occupancy data from workplace technology company Freespace has shown that there has been increasing use of office meeting spaces as employees return to the workplace.
The September Freespace occupancy data reveals:
- 42 per cent of offices have reopened, compared with 30 per cent in August.
- 16 per cent of offices are a third full, compared with 7 per cent in August.
- The average office occupancy in the EMEA region is 21 per cent, an increase of 5 per cent from August.
- The use of meeting rooms has increased to 28 per cent compared with 20 per cent in August.
- The use of designated workstations has increased to 24 per cent compared with 18 per cent in August.
- The average office occupancy in the USA decreased by 4 per cent compared with August, largely because of the Delta variant.
Freespace CEO Raj Krishnamurthy said: “The increasing use of meeting spaces in the office clearly demonstrates the pent-up demand that people have to visit the workplace for face-to-face meetings. We are seeing first-hand that these particular spaces are actually being used differently than they were pre-Covid as they provide a welcome platform for people to reconnect on a more personal level, often for the first time since offices reopened. This counters the digital overload they have been experiencing throughout the pandemic.”