The latest figures from Jones Lang LaSalle for the first quarter of the year show the UK remained the most active market in the EMEA area in terms of hotel transaction volumes and accounted for 52 per cent of the total in the region.
According to the global real estate services firm activity was focused on the capital with 11 hotel sales completing in London in the period. Among the deals completed was the sale, advised by CBRE, of The Kingsley by Thistle hotel in Covent Garden to a private client of Citi Bank.
Jon Hubbard, chief executive for Northern Europe at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said London was likely to remain the main driver of hotel transaction activity in the UK and although trading remained weak in the regions he did not expect a rise in hotel sales outside the capital.
"London was once again one of the most active hotel investment markets in Europe and we anticipate further strong interest across the market, including for trophy assets. The pricing gap between regional UK and London hotels is widening and, while trading in many of the regions remains weak, we do not anticipate a significant uptick in transactional activity in those markets in the short to medium term, except where driven by distress," he said.
The released figures came on the same day the commercial property brokerage firm Colliers International reported an increase in more 'creative transactions' behind hotel deals in the UK.
According to Julian Troup, head of UK Hotels Agency at Colliers International, cash purchases with banks were still taking place but increasingly lenders, still reluctant to commit, were forcing buyers to consider other ways of finalising deals. "Although the majority of our activity are outright disposals, a more creative route is increasingly becoming the one to help a vendor achieve a higher price," he said.
"Using creative thinking is a great example of how specialist agents are able to keep the UK hotel transactional market busy and drive it through the more challenging times," Troup added.
Popular sales methods in other sectors such as 'lease with option to purchase' and 'sale and leaseback' are now increasingly being considered by hoteliers who cannot afford to buy the property outright. These alternative methods along with part exchange and other deals such as deferred payments accounted for 18 per cent of hotel sales for the UK team at the global firm in the last year.