* Property development companies in Ireland started negotiations with An Bord Pleanála in the last few days of 2019 to expedite the approval to build about 5,000 apartments in Dublin and Cork, The (U.K.) Times reported. Sources told the news outlet that the average construction price for an apartment is at €350,000, valuing the total cost of the residential schemes at roughly €1.75 billion. Glenveagh Properties PLC started consulting with the planning board about its plan to build 1,100 apartments on the former Ford depot in Cork, the largest of the projects, according to the report.
* Patrizia AG sold 68 supermarkets across 12 federal states in Germany to Stuttgart-based SparkassenVersicherung, according to Property Magazine International. The German property giant's superfood portfolio has a total lettable area of 122,000 square meters and was placed on the market before the end of 2019.
UK and Ireland
* House prices in the U.K. grew 1.4% year over year in December 2019, with the average price standing at £215,282, according to Nationwide Building Society's House Price Index survey. Robert Gardner, Nationwide chief economist, said the annual house price growth in December was the first time it reached above 1% in 12 months. Gardner added that the building society expects house prices to remain broadly flat in 2020, as healthy labor market conditions and low interest rates appeared to have tempered the negative effects brought about by an uncertain economic outlook.
* Activist investor Elliott Advisors trimmed its stake in Hammerson PLC to below 5%, The (U.K.) Times reported. The reduction of the investor's exposure in the British property company, held through derivatives, eased some of the pressure on heavily indebted Hammerson amid a streak of bankruptcies and store closures faced by the retail property sector.
* Urban Logistics REIT PLC said its investment manager is in advanced talks to acquire three portfolios and 12 single assets for an aggregate consideration of £146 million. The manager is also in preliminary discussions for further properties with an aggregate consideration of more than £150 million.
* Debenhams PLC is set to close 19 department stores in January as part of its plan to shut down 50 of its worst-performing stores, according to The (U.K.) Guardian. The first round of closures spread across the U.K. will start January 11 and will result in 660 job losses, the news outlet reported.
* Residential sales totaled 54,963 in Ireland in 2019, as recorded by the Residential Property Price Register, marking a 3.9% decline compared with the figure tallied in 2018, The Irish Times reported. Almost two-thirds of the Irish counties are expected to have registered a decline in real estate sales when final figures are out, since some transactions completed in December are yet to be entered. Meanwhile, only nine counties booked an uptick in sales in 2019, according to the report.
* Cairn Homes PLC received approval from An Bord Pleanála under the fast-track planning system to develop a housing project in south Co Dublin, according to The Irish Times. The project to be developed on more than 16 hectares of land comprises 284 houses and 36 apartments on the main site and an additional 50 residential units on three smaller sites at the corner of Burgage Street and Newcastle Boulevard. The scheme will also have public open space and a site reserved for a new school to serve the area, the newspaper reported.
* Sirius Real Estate Ltd. paid a total of €33.4 million, including acquisition costs, to acquire two business parks in Germany, reflecting a European Public Real Estate-based net initial yield of 6.8%. The properties are Neuss II near Düsseldorf and Neuruppin Business Park in the Brandenburg region.
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