German fund buys office tower as foreigners look beyond farms

10:11 AM Saturday August 16, 2014 Geoff Cumming

The Lumley Centre on Shortland St. Photo / File

Another prized Auckland office tower has changed hands, confirming that foreign investor fervour for New Zealand extends well beyond the farm.

The $146 million sale of the Lumley Centre in Shortland St to German investment fund Deja Imobilien is the country's biggest commercial office sale in six years. Earlier this week, theHerald reported the $65.5 million sale of three towers in Fort St and Shortland St to a Hong Kong-based buyer.

Low lending rates available overseas and relatively high yields on Auckland CBD properties are thought to be behind the interest.

In February, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approved the sale of 205 Queen St to Indonesian and Singaporean investors in a deal exceeding $100 million.

OIO records show a spike in foreign interest in agricultural land last year, with 53 sales covering 98,500ha approved. Investors from Europe, North America and Asia are focused on dairy farming.