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LONDON-German investors spent €900 million ($900 million) in the UK during the first half of 2002, and with the spending spree continuing, they are on target to invest comfortably more that 1 billion ($1 billion) this year, a level not seen since the mid-1990s. Germany now accounts for 20% of total overseas investment in UK property, up from just 3% last year.

According to DTZ, the surge in German investment has been driven by an increase in cash receipts by the open-ended property funds, as Germans look for a safe haven for their personal investments. Landmark office buildings in London remain the German funds’ prime target, and recent deals include MEAG’s purchase of Shelley House, EC2 for €98 million ($100 million), Deka’s purchase of 55 Bishopsgate for €200 million ($205 million) and the €360 million ($370 million) acquisition of 33 Holborn Circus by DIFA.

Nick West, Director at DTZ Euroinvest, said: “The UK remains an attractive destination for international property investors, not least because of the long term leases and upward only rent reviews. Added to the high liquidity and transparency, the UK is a comparatively easy market in which to invest.”

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