GERMANY – Invesco Real Estate (IRE) has bought another property in Prague for a fund it manages on behalf of Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK).
IRE has been managing the iii-BVK Europa-Immobilien-Spezialfonds for the BVK since 2000, and has made a number of purchases in recent years.
The latest purchase is the office and retail building Stara Celnice in Prag 1, at the heart of the historical town centre, for around €38m.
According to IRE, Stara Celnice is one of the eight top properties in Prague.
The real estate company said the property would help diversify its existing portfolio, and that it expected initial yields to come down in the Czech office sector in the coming years.
Meanwhile, the pension fund for dentists in the German province of Westphalia-Lippe (Versorgungswerk der Zahnärzte Westfalen-Lippe) bought an office block in Frankfurt.
The property was bought by IVG Immobilien, which manages a Spezialfonds for the Versorgungswerk.
The BoLa 25 in Frankfurt's Westend has a total rental space of 9,300 square meters, consisting of an old villa, as well as a modern extension.
Tenants include the Frankfurt office of the Berenberg Bank, as well as the German offices of US law firm Kaye Scholer, which both have long-term rental contracts.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
In other news, German real estate group Deutsche Hypo has confirmed plans to set up a credit fund.
A spokesman at Deutsche Hypo told IPE the company was "thinking about issuing a debt fund" and was currently discussing the topic.
He said there might be a decision later this year, but that no details were available as yet.
German newspaper Handelsblatt recently quoted Deutsche Hypo chairman Andreas Pohl as saying that he had seen "a lot of interest among pension funds and insurers" in the project.
Rainer Jakubowski, chairman at the BVV, Germany's largest Pensionskasse, told IPE earlier this year that real estate debt financing was one way to "replace the unfortunately vanished government bond theme", but added that the time was not right yet.
Other institutional investors also remain cautious about debt investment, waiting for a better market environment to improve the risk/return profile.
German banks, meanwhile, have reiterated that they are still financing projects with the right quality.
HSH Nordbank reported that it provided financing amounting to €56m for Irish investor CMC Capital to buy the shopping centre at the Altona train station in Hamburg.
Earlier this year, it provided €161m for real estate company Deutsche Wohnen to make purchases throughout Germany.
Other banks are looking abroad – into Sweden, for example – as Catella pointed out.
Daniel Anderbring, responsible for Catella's debt index CREDI, said: "A number of previously active players, primarily German banks, have once again begun to cultivate the Swedish market."
He said those banks that were already active in the Swedish market were more willing to finance real estate deals than they were in 2012 and expected interest by foreign property investors to increase over the year.
New analysis by rating company Scope shows that the regional focus of German open-ended property funds (GOEFs) has shifted away from non-European properties since the financial crisis.
Prior to 2008, the share of non-European investments increased from 3.5% in 2002 to 14.2%, but since then it has stayed almost level at 17.4%.
Scope predicted purchases outside Europe would remain the "exception" over the medium term.