FINLAND - The German fund management arm of Swedish bank SEB has acquired the first Finnish asset for its ImmoInvest open-ended fund, in a €23m deal for an airport-city office block outside Helsinki.

The asset will be part of Airport Plaza Business Park when construction is completed in 2009. The seller, a regional developer, has included a two-year rental guarantee for vacant space.

With a property market close to saturation, investors in Finland are increasingly reliant on off-market transactions and a SEB spokeswoman confirmed the fund manager had negotiated the deal directly with the developer. "We believe we have good access to some of the local players," she said.

SEB made its first investment in the market at the end of 2005 with the forward-purchase of Plaza Allegro; it has since made two similar acquisitions, one of which it will complete mid-year. All deals to date have been for commercial properties.

"Suburban business parks with good transportation access and amenities offer good long-term value to tenants, in our view. We are open to other sectors like retail and logistics as well," said the spokeswoman.

"We're trying to find value in Finland. I hope that things are getting clearer now."

Elsewhere in the region, Norway saw a 18.3% gain in the value of real estate in 2007, up 0.7% over the previous year, according to the Investment Property Database (IPD). The return - the highest since the index launched in 2000 - exceeded that in the local market for equities (11.5%) and bonds (3.9%).