Melbourne sales surge

The value of commercial sales in Melbourne for the 2013 financial year grew by 22 per cent, according to Knight Frank.

The value of commercial sales in Melbourne for the 2013 financial year grew by 22 per cent, according to Knight Frank.

The combined value of office, retail and industrial sales was $2.962 billion this financial year, compared with $2.31 billion the previous year, Knight Frank's analysis shows.

Offices in the city, Southbank, St Kilda Road and surrounding suburbs recorded the highest increase in turnover, rising to $2.24 billion, up $696 million on the previous financial year, commercial sales director Paul Henley said.

Developers were the biggest sellers. They offloaded $762 million or 35 per cent of office assets while syndicates and unlisted funds were key buyers, snapping up 44 per cent by value, Mr Henley said.

Large holdings sold by developers included 150 Collins Street ($181.6 million), 567 Collins Street ($462 million) and the ATO pre-committed development in Box Hill ($119.2 million).

Office yields in Melbourne have not compressed to the same extent as global markets.

Increased investor demand for Melbourne assets, particularly prime core properties, was "likely to lead to increased capital values and yield compression through 2013", he said.

At the other end of the commercial market, industrial sales turnover fell during the past 12 months.

Turnover was down $40 million on 2011-12, to $332 million, Victorian managing director James Templeton said.

Offshore buyers were most dominant, accounting for 34 per cent of total value sold.

Private investors and syndicates between them purchased 27 and 22 per cent, respectively, Knight Frank figures show. Major super-regional shopping centres would continue to attract strong investor interest but smaller assets were less appealing due to volatility following the fall in consumer spending, the group said.

Sales of retail assets increased slightly this financial year compared with last, to a total of $394 million.

Private investors took the bulk of assets, 62 per cent of the value. Sales of shopping centres (60 per cent) and bulky goods (17 per cent) dominated the spending.

sjohanson@theage.com.au

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