Political Stability in the UK Fuels £1.7 Billion Boost in Property Investment into the West End International Centre in 2020

  • Property transactions in London’s West End reach £350 million during the period November 2019 to February 2020, a YOY increase of 62% [November 2018-February 2019]
  • London’s West End to set to see £1.7 billion of investment in 2020
  • International investment accounted to 59% of total transactions in 2019 with Hong Kong and USA identified as the largest growth markets
  • London’s West End defined as an International Centre

London, 10 March 2020 – Property transactions across London’s West End have reached £350 million over the period November 2019-February 2020, a year on year increase of 62% for the same period in 2018/19, according to the latest data from New West End Company.

The UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020 and a decisive general election in December 2019 has played a significant role in attracting international investment into London’s West End.

In 2019, 59% of all investment transactions into London’s West End came from international investors, whilst domestic investment dropped to 41%. Hong Kong and USA were the largest growth markets; US investments more than tripled from £40 million in 2018 to £130 million in 2019, whilst Hong Kong and Chinese investments made up 39% of total transactions in 2019 at £350 million after no recorded sales in 2018 due to Brexit uncertainty.

Whilst the value of transactions in 2019 dropped to £891 million from £1.5 billion 2018, it was the final two months of the year and a strong start to 2020 which strengthened the West End’s investment growth, due to political stability following the General Election in December and the UK’s departure from the European Union in January. This uplift bodes well for an active 2020 for the district where private sector investment is set to reach over £1.7 billion. 

A number of landmark property deals have contributed to the rise in investment into London’s West End. The most significant acquisitions since November 2019 have been the sale of 325-329 Oxford Street, a mixed-use retail and office space to US real estate firm Hines for £130 million and the current Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street acquired by Trophaeum Asset Management for £130 million, which has expanded its ownership to a row of properties on New Bond Street. Other major transactions on Bond Street in 2019 included the sale of several ultra-prime locations totalling £350 million to Hong Kong investors. 2019 also saw over 150 new retail and leisure openings and refurbishments across the West End.

In 2020, London’s West End remains a sought after destination for retailers, hoteliers and restauranteurs. In 2019, the West End was defined in the Mayor’s London Plan as an International Centre; this new status will enable buildings and businesses in the West End to be more flexible and diversify their existing uses, making the West End an attractive investment for international investors. In 2019, investment into the retail and leisure sector accounted for 43% of total transactions; as consumer demand for experiential retail dictates the high street offering and the West End’s new international status comes into force, the district is set to continue to receive growing levels of investment, both internationally and domestically.

Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive of New West End Company commented: “As a global centre of capital, London’s West End remains a top choice for businesses to invest. With increased political and economic stability, 2020 has got off to a solid start and the West End International Centre is set for £1.7 billion investment over the next 12 months. Part of this investment will see the area re-imagined to deliver superb experiences for today’s consumer who want a sustainable offering from street to store. With the eagerly anticipated £150 million public realm enhancements to Oxford Street District beginning later this year and the delivery of Crossrail on the way, London’s West End is an unparalleled location for any global brand to invest in.”

In 2019 Westminster City Council announced £150 million investment into the Oxford Street District to create a pedestrian-first environment and the £16 billion rail service Crossrail will open two new stations at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road bringing in an additional 60 million visits a year boosting turnover in the West End by £1 billion a year.

Tue 10 March 2020