Brexit Flight and Chinese Capital Controls Are Freeing Up London’s Crowded Commercial Real Estate Market

Britain’s exit from the European Union has sent bankers scurrying for Frankfurt, Dublin, and Paris — and opened up new space for savvy commercial real-estate investors, Bloomberg reports.

Australia’s largest pension fund AustralianSuper is looking to acquire more overseas assets and part of its revamped portfolio could come from British infrastructure and real estate investments according to Mark Delaney, the fund’s chief investment officer.

“Brexit may present an opportunity for us, but we will need to be patient,” Delaney told Bloomberg late August. “There are likely to be some good quality assets that become available that will be worth looking at.”

He explained that as international banks hedge against Brexit by scoping office space in other European capitals, and risk adverse capital looks elsewhere, long-term buyers could snap up the freed up assets. London’s older buildings, in particular, have seen prices push down.

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But its not only Brexit-flight that has opened up space in London. According to Delaney, Chinese investment — which has traditionally been “the price setter” in markets like commercial real estate — is starting to dry up.

That’s down to new capital controls Beijing has imposed to prevent Chinese firms from making large investments abroad. Under the new rules, Chinese buyers are not allowed to make “irrational” acquisitions of assets in industries ranging from real estate to hotels and entertainment, Bloomberg reports — and that’s opening up opportunities for everyone else.

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