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LONDON-Ireland has overtaken the US as the single largest cross-border investor into UK commercial property. It now accounts for almost 22% of a euro 18.17-billion ($23.28-billion) total overseas purchases in 2005, according to new research by DTZ Tie Leung.

The report adds most of the overseas purchases was dominated by five sources: Irish, US, Middle East, German and Dutch capital. Irish investors represented the largest portion with more than euro 4 billion ($5 billion) of purchases in 2005.

Central London was the most popular location for overseas investors attracting 52% or euro 9.4 billion ($12 billion) of non-domestic capital in 2005. However, many of these cross-border investors are turning their attention to the rest of the UK.

Big Irish deals include the acquisition of the Knightsbridge Estate by Derek Quinlan for euro 797 million ($1 billion), making it the most acquisitive outsiders in the market. The flow of money shows no sign of easing, despite fears over higher borrowing rates, with hundreds of millions of pounds spent by new entrants in recent months. They include David Arnold’s D2 Private, which, in April, paid euro 479 million ($613 million) for Woolgate Exchange in the City and has since bought a euro 103-million ($131-million) portfolio of HBOS bank branches. This week saw Cosgrave Property Group pay Hammerson euro 414 million ($530 million) for a shopping center in Romford, Essex.

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