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LONDON-Investment activity in the central London office market surged by 42% in the second quarter of 2003, with turnover reaching £1.33 billion ($2.1 billion ). According to DTZ research activity was strongest in the City market which saw investment purchases total £780 million ($1.25 billion), up from just £398 million ($640 million) in Q1.

The biggest single deal of the quarter was Matrix Securities’ £240 million ($385 million) purchase of Alban Gate, London Wall, EC2 from CIT.

Foreign investors accounted for 45% of total deal value in the quarter, down from 55% in the preceding quarter. The German open ended funds were much less active, with the only recorded deal being DEGI’S purchase of 1 Carter Lane, EC4 for £67 million ($107 million). But according to DTZ this reflects a lack of stock rather than any diminished appetite on behalf of these funds.

The broker notes that while UK institutions are worried by the continued slump in the central London occupational market, private investors seem to have no such qualms and are continuing to buy, buoyed by cheap finance facilities.

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