Editor: It has been reported that parking operator Q-Park has completed 14 sale-and-leasebacks across the UK since March this year. Investors are more interested in the market than ever before – but why?
One of the main reasons is that investors now have a better understanding of the sector than before and are seeing the appeal of long-term indexed income.
Q-Park and NCP are both willing to take 25-year leases if the location is right, which is a rarity nowadays and provides the longevity investors are looking for. The lease lengths and the link between the rent and indexation mean the market is fairly resilient to economic downturns, making it even more appealing to investors at a time of political uncertainty.
It’s been well documented that KKR, the owner of Q-Park, is looking to liquidate a number of assets following its sale of the Nordic Q-Park business to Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation in March, so Q-Park’s sale-and-leasebacks have not been a surprise to the market.
In the Glasgow deal covered by Property Week, M&G Investments bought a 212,451 sq ft Q-Park site and leased it back to the car park operator on a 35-year term at a £776,000 annual rent and a net initial yield of 4.35%.
The yield reflects how the market is moving – this is the same as a single-let industrial unit or even a hotel, which shows the asset class is attractive to investors as a stable source of long-term income.
It’s also a good time for Q-Park to sell the asset in Glasgow, as the city has one of the lowest car ownership rates in the UK and a good public transport system. There are calls to cut major roads leading into the centre and encourage cycling and walking. The council has also announced a new transport strategy to make Glasgow carbon neutral by 2030.
With this in mind, this car park could be running at a very low occupancy within 10 years – and other UK cities have similar programmes.
Paul Gallagher, automotive consultant, JLL