German Retail Acquisitions Beat U.K. as Investors Seek Stability

German retail property acquisitions more than doubled in the first quarter as demand for stable returns pushed the total above the U.K. for the first time since 2012, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said today in a report.

Investors bought 3.43 billion euros ($4.7 billion) of German shops and malls in the first quarter, 116 percent more than a year earlier, David Hutchings, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa investment strategy, said by phone. U.K. purchases climbed 27 percent to 3.37 billion euros.

“The underlying attraction is the stability of Germany; it’s a low-volatility, safe market,” Hutchings said. “There’s a view that growth from good-quality retail will start to accelerate in the coming years.”

Insurers, pension funds and money managers are buying German commercial properties as a way to boost returns amid record-low interest rates in fixed-income markets. Retail asset prices are under pressure to rise as supply fails to keep up, New York-based Cushman & Wakefield said in the report.

Germany, which usually competes closely with the U.K. for Europe’s top retail investment destination, edged ahead in the first quarter because of two large deals, Hutchings said.

The biggest was Unibail-Rodamco SE’s investment of as much as 535 million euros for a stake in the CentrO shopping center in Oberhausen, he said.

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