UK - Disagreement has emerged between real estate investment houses over the timing of the UK property market recovery.

A note issued by Goodman Property Investors has reaffirmed what has become a near-consensus forecast of a pick-up in market sentiment mid-2008.

More specifically, the firm positioned the current squeeze as "a short sharp shock" with no chance of a crash, pointing out letting markets and rental growth have been largely unaffected.

However, a separate note from Jones Lang Lasalle proved more optimistic - despite a 24% year-on-year drop in UK property investment to £48bn (€67bn) in 2007, and even though the IPD monthly index for the UK market reported a fall in returns of 3.6% in November, giving a return for the year to date totalled -1.8%.

Julian Stocks, JLL head of capital markets for England, told IPE Real Estate: "[The recovery] has already started in certain sectors. We're seeing opportunistic funds putting things under offer. There aren't huge numbers but we expect to see it pick up in January, February and March."

He claimed overseas investors were now looking for opportunities in a market exited by domestic investors, before the latter group returns attracted by their perception the market has bottomed out.

However, time lags associated with valuations - and as yet insufficient write-downs - have created a gap between what investors are willing to pay and vendors' asking prices.

"With UK funds out of the market, there are opportunities for overseas investors because it means less competition," said Stocks.

In particular, he claimed to have seen interest in the UK market from German and Irish institutional investors, Canadian pension funds and US opportunistic funds.

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