Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Monday, 2 February 2009

Commercial property values plunge

Canary Wharf in London
2008 was the 'worst ever year' for commercial property

UK commercial property values fell by a record amount in 2008, according to Investment Property Databank (IPD).

Its UK Quarterly Property Index showed commercial properties lost 26.4% of their value last year - the most since records began in 1987.

The values of office buildings, shops and warehouses are now broadly in line with December 2001 levels.

Five and a half years of growth has been lost in 18 months of successive falls, IPD said.

Values were down 14.4% in the last three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, another record fall.

"In nominal terms, we have never tracked a year with this level of capital decline," said Ian Cullen, IPD's co-founding director.

Property profit

Total returns on investments also fell by 13% in the final quarter compared to the three months to the end of September, and by 22.1% over the year.

Many investors withdrew from commercial property last year, prompting some funds to introduce delays on when people can get their money.

Last year HSBC made a 250m ($355m) profit when it bought back its London headquarters from a Spanish property company.

It had sold its Canary Wharf tower to Metrovacesa for 1.1bn in April 2007, at the peak of Britain's property boom, in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

It then bought it back for about 838m in November 2008, representing a 24% fall in its value over the 18 months.

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