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Industrial investment in Q1 driven by overseas capital and flight to prime

26 05 20 industrial

Investment into industrial assets in Q1 was characterised by a dominance of overseas capital and a flight to prime according to Colliers International.

Investment levels in the industrial and logistics sector reached in excess of £1.5 billion in Q1 2020, which despite being 23 per cent down year-on-year, was well ahead of the decline seen across many other sectors. Overseas capital was the most active group according to Property Data accounting for 50 per cent of investment acquisitions, a doubling from the Q1 2019 period. 

Michael Kershaw, industrial investment director at Colliers International, commented: “We can’t look at the Q1 volume figures without noting the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Across the board investment volumes have fallen but they have dropped less so in the industrial sector, which has been buoyed by the occupational story with its resilience on online shopping and the associated supply chain demand.”

The firm notes that there was a flight to quality in the first quarter of the year with investors being attracted by the long-term upside potentials as increased demand for online goods will continue. Larger well-let distribution warehouses have recently traded throughout the UK with significant deals in Wembley, High Wycombe, Wakefield and Doncaster all exchanging post the UK lockdown. 

According to MSCI, total returns on industrial assets, although slowed from Q4, remained in positive territory with an increase of 0.6 per cent in Q1, out-performing all other commercial sector. All property total returns showed a 1.4 per cent decline compared to Q4.   

John Hanson, industrial investment director at Colliers International, added: “While there has been a sharp decline in activity, there were still significant deals happening in the industrial sector in Q1 and into the second quarter. The whole industry is in a state of flux while the majority take a ‘wait and see’ approach to the ongoing effect from coronavirus on the market. A flight to prime isn’t a surprise, and we remain cautiously optimistic that there is still appetite from investors for the right stock, in quality locations, that is priced correctly.”

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Michael Kershaw


National Capital Markets

London - West End

Michael is a Senior Director in the National Capital Markets team.  Michael joined Colliers International in mid-2010.


Michael has worked as an investment specialist for over 15 years.  Throughout that time Michael has focussed on Industrial, Office and Mixed Portfolio Investment work UK wide.  Michael is also experienced in undertaking Sale & Leaseback transactions on behalf of Corporate Clients. 


Based in Colliers Central London office Michael works closely with investment, agency and professional colleagues in both London and the Colliers International regional offices throughout the UK. 


Michael’s major investment clients include UK and International Institutions, Property Companies and High Net Worth individuals including Legal & General, Aberdeen Standard, Clipstone Land, Ascendas Singbridge, Gazeley, Peel Logistics, The Cording Group, Gramercy, The Milton Group and Colliers Capital amongst others. 

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John Hanson


National Capital Markets

London - West End

John has specialised in the industrial and logistics investment market for over 14 years. He advises a range of clients including UK Funds and Institutions, Property Companies as well as Overseas Investors.

John joined Colliers International in 2013 during which he has advised on over £600m of industrial acquisitions and disposals.

View expert

Rebecca Allen

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I have been working in commercial property communications for over 10 years  having previously worked at CBRE and Savills.

In my role at Colliers I am responsible for the PR of National Capital Markets, London Offices and Investment Property  Management teams as well as Scotland.

My role includes:

  • Creating and exectuing PR plans for business lines that span press, marketing and digital channels
  • Media monitoring and reporting
  • Advising on brand, tone of voice and profile raising 
  • Journalist relationship building through face to face meetings, phone calls day to day assistance with stories
  • Reputation management of the Colliers brand



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