$24m deal seals a top month

Property fund manager Forza Capital has capped off two weeks of pre-holiday deal making, selling iSelect's Cheltenham headquarters for $24 million.

Property fund manager Forza Capital has capped off two weeks of pre-holiday deal making, selling iSelect's Cheltenham headquarters for $24 million.

December proved particularly active with $116,995,500 worth of property changing hands, figures compiled by CBRE show.

Commercial property sales reached an all-time high this year, doubling last year's result.

Knight Frank's managing director, James Templeton, said the overall value of commercial sales soared to $5.53 billion, up 120 per cent from $2.54 billion in 2012.

Melbourne CBD office sales rose by 180 per cent (from $935 million to $2.635 billion), retail sales by 160 per cent to $1.5 billion and industrial sales by 50 per cent to $600 million.

Mr Templeton said unlisted funds, syndicates and AREITs were particularly active, outweighing private investors and accounting for more than $500 million spent on industrial property this year, 84 per cent of sales.

The non-CBD office market recorded transaction worth $727 million compared with $600 million the year before and the suburban sector was the largest to date. Almost $500 million changed hands, nearly double the previous year, he said.

Sydney syndicate Trilogy Funds Management bought iSelect's Cheltenham property.

Investors in the fund were largely self-managed super funds that had invested in previous syndicates, Trilogy director Peter Arnold said.

"It's a small building on a big block. It's got approval for a further 6000 square metres. That's where we see the value," he said.

The fund was expected to return an 8.5 per cent yield, with tax advantages, over its five-year term.

CBRE's Josh Rutman said competition was fierce. "Yields are significantly tighter than what you would expect for typical retail and office investments in the city. This reflects the confidence and competition we're seeing at the moment from local and offshore buyers," he said.

In the past two weeks, 280 Queen Street sold with a development permit for a yield of 2.9 per cent and 158 City Road, which went for $22.5 million, achieved 2.2 per cent.

Knight Frank research director Richard Jenkins said the investment activity within the retail property sector also recorded a significant increase over 2013. Investment activity this year in the retail market exceeded $1.5 billion, compared with $595 million in 2012. It was underpinned by neighbourhood shopping centre sales, Mr Jenkins said.

This is the last print edition of The Age's commercial property section for 2013. Our website, theage.com.au/businessday, will continue to deliver property news throughout the holiday season until the print section returns on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. We wish all our readers a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Simon Johanson, property editor

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