UK - LaSalle Investment Management is raising a £400m (€487m) opportunity fund to take advantage of declining property values and potential distress in the UK real estate market. 

The UK Ventures Fund II, which is looking to achieve 20% internal rates of return, aims to snap up bargain properties in the market, where some assets have been selling at 20-30% discounts to their peak 2007 values.

A spokesperson for LaSalle, a wholly owned but operationally independent subsidiary of Jones Lang LaSalle, said the firm had seen good value in properties during the last three months and insisted it was a good time for cash-rich investors to invest in the market.

The fund plans to concentrate on looking for development opportunities and will also consider investing in distressed assets. It aims to increase its spending power by borrowing, limited to 75% of the total assets.

The fund is currently in its fundraising stage and is due to close in the first quarter of next year. It follows LaSalle's initial UK Ventures Fund, which was launched in early 2007.

LaSalle established a special situations team for the UK and continental Europe in July with the responsibility for evaluating potential acquisitions, structured debt and equity opportunities at the higher risk-return end of the investment spectrum.