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Property investors tap East European mall scarcity

Wed, 25th Jan 2012 13:37

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - A growing number of real estate investors is ch
asing a limited supply of top quality Eastern Europe retail property, hoping to cash in on the spending power of the region's fast-growing middle class, data shows.

The retail sector took a third of the 116 billion euros ($151 billion) invested in European commercial property in 2011,

property consultancy CBRE Group said on Wednesday.

The central and eastern European region was the fastest growing market and accounted for 13 percent of the 37.2 billion euros figure, up from 4 percent in 2009. The trend will accelerate in 2012, CBRE's Associate Director for EMEA Research, Iryna Pylypchuk, told Reuters.

International retailers are targeting the rising wealth of populations in countries such as Poland, Czech Republic and Russia, fuelling demand for the limited supply of good quality malls.

Many investors had 'tested the waters' last year and were now more confident property was being fairly priced in what are less mature real estate markets, Pylypchuk said.

The UK and Germany attracted the biggest share of investment of 11 billion euros and 10.8 billion euros, respectively, buoyed by their relative economic strength.

Iberia, made up of the debt-ridden countries of Spain and Portugal, attracted the least investment, with 0.8 billion euros, the data showed.

Investor demand for Europe's safest, prime assets has surged over the past months, driven by growing concerns over the region's debt crisis. Last week, a separate CBRE survey said 2012 would see investors focusing on core markets UK and France.

Pylypchuk said investors were also eyeing German retail property, where investment rose 34 percent over the past year, on the back of a growing number of international retailers moving into the country and an increase of new assets on the market. ($1 = 0.7704 euros)

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Tom Bill) Keywords: EUROPE RETAILPROPERTY

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