* Residential property value growth in London ended the year below the national average for the first time since 2008, Property Week reported, citing Nationwide. Home values across the U.K. demonstrated 4.5% growth this year, similar to growth levels in 2015. Meanwhile, average home prices in the capital rose by a lower 3.7% within this year.
According to Nationwide's Chief Economist Robert Gardner, the greater uncertainty surrounding the U.K.'s economy is likely to affect the residential market next year. But Gardner also forecast modest gains circa 2% in 2017 that can be attributed to a lack of supply of new homes and low interest rates.
* U.S. apparel brand Gap will close its six remaining retail stores in Israel in 2017 due to major losses incurred by local franchisee Gottex Brands, as the label did not take flight there, Haaretz reported. The Israeli publication cited an announcement from Gottex regarding the planned closures.
Gottex closed the Gap store at Be'er Sheva last year, and will progressively bring down the shutters at its remaining six stores in Israel over the next few months.
Sources quoted by the publication said the lack of action by the franchisee in terms of working out product management, pricing levels and marketing of the apparel label had contributed to its inability to make a splash in the Israeli retail market.
* M&G Real Estate and Telford Homes signed a €57 million deal to fund the construction of 125 new private rental homes in Upton Park, east London, Property Magazine International reported. The transaction was carried out on behalf of M&G Real Estate's €316 million U.K. residential property scheme that it launched in 2013 for local and international investors.
The Forge residential development will create six blocks of up to three-room homes.
* Legal & General Capital, in a partnership with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, invested in the Newcastle Science Central urban regeneration scheme to deliver a major hub for scientific research and technology business in the U.K., Property Magazine International reported. Legal & General Capital's initial €76 million investment will fund over 200,000 square feet of grade A office space.
The 24-acre science and technology hub will create 500,000 square feet of office space and 450 new homes in the city, according to the report.
* Investors from China and Hong Kong have continued to invest in the U.K. real estate market, unfazed by Brexit-related uncertainties, London's Financial Times reported. According to CBRE's head of international capital markets, Hong Kong investors are contributing the highest amount of live equity into London, injecting about £4.5 billion into the capital city, limiting an overall decrease in foreign investments since the referendum.
* The Wall Street Journal featured a report on the more optimistic outlook for Scotland's capital next year, as the values of prime real estate in Edinburgh have returned to prerecession levels.
The 2014 Scottish independence referendum brought about a recession which was then exacerbated by the Brexit vote. Since then, however, home prices in Edinburgh have been firming, with the average home price coming in at £231,103 in November, up 1.9% on the year, the report noted, citing data from the Land Registry.
La Française Real Estate Partners International acquired a 9,950-square-meter sustainable office building on the Oosterdokseiland development in Amsterdam, Property Magazine International reported. The 12-story Hollandia building was purchased from Real I.S. Investment GMBH and is fully leased to TomTom International BV.
Azizi Developments is planning to launch 50 new residential, commercial and retail projects in 2017 after holding discussions with Dubai Land Development, Arabian Business reported. The projects are currently in the land acquisition, permit application and design phases, the report noted.
The development plans for next year will be an addition to the company's existing portfolio of 20 U.A.E.-based projects valued at around 7.3 billion United Arab Emirates dirham.
Other Real Estate News
* Sponda Plc sold a logistics center in St. Petersburg, Russia, a property in Helsinki, Finland, and a plot of land in Espoo, Finland, for a total of €12.9 million.
The 8,000-square-meter logistics facility was sold to Nevskaya Logistika LLC and the 5,500-square-meter asset in Helsinki was sold to the Taaleritehtaan Tonttirahasto fund. The zoned land in Espoo was sold for €3.7 million to an undisclosed buyer.
According to a company release, the property disposals are in line with Sponda's strategy to divest its assets in Russia and to focus its property ownership the Helsinki metropolitan area.
* Amazon.com Inc. filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for flying warehouses that can use drones to make deliveries to customers, PW reported. Detailed plans include airborne fulfillment centers that have the ability to hover up to 45,000 feet above ground and descend as low as 2,000 feet, the report noted.
Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence
The Property Ledger: Charter Hall Long WALE REIT buys 10 industrial assets; Peet forms wholesale fund: The Dec. 30 edition of the Asia-Pacific property news recap also features a Keppel Land unit's 619 million Chinese yuan sale of its interest in a joint venture and Heiwa Real Estate REIT's plans to buy a residential development in Fukuoka, Japan.
The Daily Dose Europe, Real Estate edition, is updated as of 6:30 a.m. London time. Some links require a subscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.
Celestyn Wong contributed to this report.