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Easing of decline in Czech commercial property market expected to continue in 2010, report indicates

Total investment turnover reached €400 million in 2009 but the overall annual investment turnover and the number of transactions fell compared with previous years finishing at values below those in 2003, according to the latest report from CB Richard Ellis.

However, quarterly figures show that the drop in turnover and in the number of investment transactions slowed towards the end of the year. The first two quarters of 2009 were the most difficult ones with very low levels of investment activity and significant uncertainty with respect to the level of prime yields and the future development of the market, the report shows.

The second half of 2009 saw slightly increased activity and several significant deals were closed. As the largest transactions by value were closed at the end of 2009, investment volume for the fourth quarter hit €280 million in five transactions, which represents approximately 80% of the six-year quarterly average, it adds.
Offices were once again the dominant property sector, accounting for 90% of total investment volume in 2009. The sale of City Tower closed towards the end of 2009 was the biggest transaction at €130 million and represented a third of 2009 investment volume. Foreign purchasers accounted for 72% of total investment volume, with German investors being the most active.
‘After a very slow start we were pleased to see the market improving slightly in the second half of the year. 2009 was a very difficult year for both sellers and purchasers,’ said Katarína Turòová from Capital Markets.

‘While it could have been seen as a year of opportunities for buyers who could cope with the lack of benchmark evidence and a high level of uncertainty, the closing of transactions was complicated significantly by the volatile environment. We were therefore pleased to see some quality products, such as Gemini and City Tower in Pankrac, being traded,’ she added.

With regard to the future development of the market, Turòová said that 2010 will bring many new challenges to the market. ‘But I remain optimistic that in terms of turnover and the number of transactions, the trend of higher levels that occurred in the second half of 2009 should continue in 2010, with increased chances for further improvement towards the end of the year,’ she added.