International briefs

Malls win over U.K. investors

The Drake Circus shopping mall in southwest England sold for $372 million last month, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. The 425,000-square-foot mall in Plymouth is British Land Company’s second-largest purchase in almost four years. The selling price will result in a net yield of 6 percent, according to a statement released by British Land, a real estate investment trust. Overall, real estate advisers including Cushman & Wakefield said the value of U.K. shopping center purchases announced or completed last year has hit a four-year high. The largest British retail landlord, Capital Shopping Centres Group, agreed to pay $2.5 billion in shares in November and assumed the debt for the Trafford Centre mall in Manchester. In December, Simon Property Group, the U.S.’s largest mall owner, offered $4.6 billion in cash to buy out Capital Shopping Centres, but the deal was refused.


Sales up for Paris commercial real estate

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Commercial property sales in Paris climbed 57 percent during 2010, according to an estimate released by Paris-based research company Immostat-IPD, Bloomberg reported. Sales in Paris, Europe’s leading office market by square footage, reached $11 billion last year, compared with $6.94 billion in 2009. The increase in commercial deals during 2010 fell just under the $10.9 billion in deals recorded in 2008. In December, French insurer Groupe UFG bought two office buildings in northern Paris for $157 million, while unidentified French insurers paid $196 million for a 25 percent stake in the CB21 tower in La Defense, the primary high-rise office district of Paris. The Paris region garnered the most investment in the world last year other than London and Tokyo.


Slight rise forecasted for Canadian home prices

Housing prices in Canada are predicted to rise during 2011, while overall sales may drop, according to Royal LePage, Canada’s biggest residential real estate broker. Home prices increased during last year’s fourth quarter, and are expected to climb 3 percent in 2011 to an average price of $353,000, Reuters reported. Sales are estimated to fall by 2 percent. Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and St. John’s had the biggest increases in home prices last quarter. “Trends in the housing market continue to be driven by the lingering after-effects of the recession,” Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services, told Reuters. “Canadians realize that interest rates are unsustainably low and that homes will become effectively more expensive when mortgage rates return to normal levels.”

Compiled by Lisa Euker