The volume of investment into London hotels could reach record levels in the first quarter of 2020, with approximately £1.5b expected to transact in the capital, according to international real estate advisor Savills.

Rob Stapleton, director at the Savills Hotels team, said: “Investor confidence in the UK hotel market remains high and while political uncertainty in 2019 had an impact on overall deal volumes, yields remained low highlighting that, for the right assets, the UK continues to be a key focus for emerging hotel brands and international capital.

Record investment into London hotels set for 2020

“We have already noted a marked increase in investor enquiries since the General Election result and anticipate this to translate into increased investment activity across the UK hotel market in 2020, with several notable transactions expected to transact in the first half of the year.”

Savills has recorded that UK hotel transactions reached £4.64b in 2019, down 42% year-on-year but 11% above the 10-year average. The number of transactions across the country was also down 47% year-on-year and 6% below the average.

Overseas investors were accountable for 59% of market share, with the top three by country being, Hong Kong (c. £1b), Thailand (c.£450m), and Israel (c.£260m). Portfolio transactions accounted for 52% of investment activity in the UK, similar to 2018’s 53%.

Transactions into London totalled £2.31b, accounting for almost 50% of all UK hotel investment activity. Savills recorded the total volume for the rest of the UK was around £2.33b, representing a 16% (South East), 20% (North), 9% (Scotland) and 6% (South West) regional split.

Key single asset deals in 2019 included: Harrington Hall, sold to London Central Portfolio and ACP off a guide price of £130m; the freehold of the Sofitel London Gatwick which changed hands for a reported £150m; and the Crowne Plaza Kensington, sold to a Singapore consortium led by Heeton Holdings for £83m.

Key portfolio deals included: four Grange hotels sold to Queensgate Investments for £1b; ‘Project Mauve’ (17 InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott and Hilton hotels were sold to DTP Infinities Corporation for a reported £450m); and Topland’s sale of the Hallmark portfolio for £250m.

Tim Stoyle, head of valuations at the Savills Hotels team, added: “Looking forward to this year we expect to see more stock coming to market across all grades of accommodation but primarily driven by demand for the budget and four-star segments.

“Demand for these assets in London and in core locations across the rest of the UK will be underpinned by the operational performance resulting from the growth of the staycation market, as well as the continued growth in international tourist numbers.”

Katherine Price