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2014 European logistics and industrial investment volumes are projected to exceed the 2006 peak

2013 marked one of the most active years to date for the logistics and industrial investment market in Europe. Total investment volumes rose 73% to ?15.2 billion, marking the second highest volume in the last 10 years. Furthermore, the share of logistics and industrial investment increased to 10% of all commercial real estate volumes - up from a 5-year average of 8% - according to the latest figures released by JLL.

Х Logistics and industrial total investment volumes 73% up to ?15.2 billion in 2013
Х Continued large-scale portfolio and platform transaction activity
Х Growing geographical focus and accelerating inter-regional capital flows
Х Continued downward pressure on prime yields
Х 2014 volumes projected to exceed the 2006 peak.

У2013 witnessed a surge in investment activity in the logistics and industrial sector. The spike in volumes was fuelled by an improving macro-economic landscape, falling vacancy levels, a tightening of supply and occupational demand driven by factors such as the continued growth of e-commerce and changing shape of retail markets. This has led to some downward yield movements in a number of markets, which we expect to see continuing in 2014. Investors continue to be attracted to the sector by the ability to build scale across the region, the returning availability of debt and the possibility of capturing rental and capital growth.Ф says Tom Waite, Director European Capital Markets in JLL.

With a growing range of international investors seeking to gain exposure in the sector, platform and portfolio deals accounted for almost half of the total volume in 2013 marking a 130% increase year-on-year. Meanwhile, inter-regional capital flows also rose significantly and at ?6.2 billion were 77% ahead on 2012. This furthermore highlights the growing maturity of the asset class.

EuropeТs traditional core markets Ц the UK, Germany and France Ц continued to be the most traded in 2013. Nevertheless, a lack of prime product along with continued yield compression meant investors were increasingly looking for opportunities elsewhere in Europe. 45% of the total investment was recorded in markets outside the СTop 3Т in 2013, up from a 30% share in the previous year.

Both the Nordic Countries (+84%) and the Benelux (+44%) saw full-year volumes rise strongly albeit on the back of lower levels. Indeed the majority of these markets still account for only a marginal share on the European total. Investments rose by 12% in the Southern periphery as well, mainly driven by slowly returning activity in Italy, although volumes remained subdued overall.

Meanwhile, Russia booked a record ?800 million in 2013, up 137%, albeit the market remains dominated by a small number of domestic investors. CEE markets, which saw continued strong investor interest, although recorded an active 2013 with levels in line with the 5-year average. However, volumes declined in Poland on the back of the 2012 record when two large portfolios were traded, leading to an overall 28% decline over the whole region.

Strong investor demand has led to further yield compression across several markets over the final quarter of 2013. As a result, the weighted European average yield moved in 10bps quarter-on-quarter to 7.30%. Capitalization rates in Russia are still higher than European averages, with yield at 11.0% in Moscow and at 13.0% in St. Petersburg.

Total 2014 investment logistics and industrial investment volumes are projected to exceed the 2006 peak at ?16 billion. With the momentum of 2013 carrying over into 2014 continued yield compression is also expected in particular across the laggards in the CEE and Southern Europe.

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