London Hedge Fund Alley Rents Drop for First Time Since 2005

Bloomberg – Office rents in Mayfair and St. James’s, the London districts with Europe’s biggest concentration of hedge funds, are falling for the first time since 2005 as the alternative investment industry has its worst year in two decades.

The cost of renting new or refurbished offices in those neighborhoods, the most expensive in the world, fell 6.5 percent to 107.50 pounds ($168) a square foot in the six months ended Sept. 30, data compiled by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. show. Incentives such as rent-free periods lowered the net figure to 95.96 pounds, the commercial property broker estimates.

Demand for space is falling as at least 350 funds in the $1.7 trillion hedge fund industry have closed this year amid the global financial crisis, including Peloton Partners’ ABS Fund and MKM Longboat Capital Advisors’ Multi-Strategy Fund. Client redemptions and forced asset sales have given investors losses for five straight months through October, the longest streak since 1990, and the slump may push rents down to as low as 90 pounds a foot, Jones Lang of Chicago estimates.

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