UK Investment Yields (%) UK Investment Yields (%) (2152 KB)


Twelve months ago the talk was of double-dip recessions and crisis in the eurozone.


Against that backdrop Jones Lang LaSalle predicted a year of subdued growth with just a 1% rise in GDP.


But by the end of 2013 chancellor George Osborne had declared the UK the fastest growing of the world’s advanced economies and the Office for Budget Responsibility had doubled GDP growth forecasts for the year from 0.6% to 1.4%.


Property has played its part attracting booming overseas investment, particularly in London. Overseas buyers accounted for 46% of the UK’s £40.3bn of deals in 2013, according to figures from CBRE, with the percentage rising to 62% when it came to the £12.7bn of London office sales.


JLL head of forecasting Andrew Burrell says there is still room for improvement because the growth is coming from such a low base on the back of the recession. He added that across all sectors and regions JLL had predicted flat yields, or in some cases edging upwards, at the start of 2013 with an all property yield of 7.1% – but end of year figures show a different story.


“We are at 6.7% for the all property yield,” he says. “Pretty much all sectors have seen yield compression. There is improving sentiment and the riskier assets have come back into play.


“What we need now is some rental growth and that may become the story for next year.”


So far rental growth has mostly been restricted to offices in the City and West End, the latter up 7.5% over the past 12 months.


Simon Barrowcliff, executive director of the CBRE central London capital markets team, says the turnaround started in the late spring: “There was a move up the risk curve and we are now getting to the stage where investors are looking for shorter income assets.


“You could argue that in some areas, the West End for example, vacant properties are worth more than income-producing ones. It is an incredible turnaround.”


Knight Frank’s head of commercial research James Roberts says one interesting development has been the dominance of offices: “From the mid-1990s through to 2007 retail was at the forefront, driven by a housing and consumer credit boom.


“Looking at the next cycle, it will be less about consumers and more about businesses.”


As for the residential market, Savills went into 2013 predicting a 0.5% growth in UK house prices, but preliminary figures from Nationwide show growth of 6.5%.


Savills’ five-year house price forecast is now for 25.2% growth, compared with 11.5% this time last year.


To coin a phrase from former prime minister Harold Macmillan, director of residential research Yolande Barnes says the difference was down to “events, dear boy, events”.


“The exceptional growth of London skews the figures, but the increasing health of the economy has boosted the housing market,” she adds.