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LONDON-Last year’s slump in shopping centre investment activity proved to be nothing more than a temporary aberration, according to new data from CB Hillier Parker. Twenty-seven shopping centres with a combined value of £736.5 million ($1.05 billion) changed hands in Great Britain in the first six months of 2001. This level of activity is in line with the average over the past decade.

The market has been boosted by three portfolio transactions, the largest being Prudential’s sale of three centres in Oldham, Greater Manchester, Darlington, county Durham and Greenock, Scotland to REIT Asset Management for £134.5 million ($192 million). Also in the first half Delancey sold a £121-million ($173-million) portfolio of four centres into a joint venture with Dunedin and three centres were bought by the second Charterhouse Shopping Centre Fund from Great Portland Estates. for £66 million ($94 million).

According to CB Hillier Parker, the investment market is currently dominated by the property companies, fueled by low interest rates. But institutional players still remain net disinvestors of shopping malls. Non-quoted property companies are now the leading investors, partly reflecting the transfer of centres into limited partnerships.

Last year the supply of centres on the market far outstripped demand, leading to a fall in values. But this year CB Hillier Parker claims the reverse is true. Demand from the property company sector is now strong, and appears to be growing, with a very small number of opportunities being offered to the market.

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