The biggest commercial property deal last year was Tony Gapes' $60 million sale of a Sylvia Park shopping centre to Australian interests.

Chris Dibble, Jones Lang LaSalle's associate research director, said Redwood Group's sale of the new 16,000sq m bulk retail Apex Mega Centre at Mt Wellington set a record as the highest priced deal. The property went for an 8 per cent yield.

The second-largest deal was the sale of the Metro Centre in Auckland. Nick Hargreaves and John Binning, of Jones Lang, brokered that deal for Orchard Funds Management to sell the centre to JNJ Holdings at a discount to the government valuation of $57 million. The complex, at 291-297 Queen St, has a multiplex including an IMAX, as well as shops and restaurants.

Redwood's big shopping precinct at 393 Mt Wellington Highway has drawn big-name Australian retailers The Good Guys, Spotlight and Freedom Furniture. Animates, Nood, Mothercare, Coffee Club, Godfreys and other stores also trade from the site.


John Goddard, director of international sales for Colliers International, said last year a Sydney investor had bought Apex and this was a sign of confidence.

Gapes's Redwood lists many jobs it has completed, including the $48.5 million Scene One, $42.2 million Scene Two and $62 million Scene Three apartment blocks on Beach Rd in the CBD, the $25 million Foodtown nearby, now rebranded Countdown, $12.1 million Silverfield, $7.7 million Regents Park, $9.5 million Normanby News, $62 million Eden Commercial, $22 million Aqua Luna and $10 million Apex Duo.

"It became further apparent over the latter stages of 2011 that investors have become more confident in the property sector's growth prospects. Investment yields have generally stabilised in most markets and geographies, with only outer lying, substandard premises falling victim to lower demand," Dibble said.

"However, 2011 proved to be a complicated year for analysis with earthquakes and a Rugby World Cup locally, as well as Eurozone uncertainty overseas, influencing the overall results. If we look over the total volumes and values of office, retail and industrial sales throughout 2011 compared to 2010, we quickly see that lower total volumes and total values were recorded. There were a total of 75 sales transactions above $5 million recorded across the commercial, industrial and retail sectors in 2011. This is just below the 77 recorded for 2010. However, these transactions totalled $981 million in 2011, which is down from $1.4 billion recorded in 2010," Dibble said.

Last year:
* 75 sales of property worth $5 million or more.
* Those deals were worth $981 million.
* Auckland most active with 60 per cent of deals.
* Private investors did 63 per cent of deals.
* Foreign investors did just 18 per cent of Auckland deals.
* Biggest sale was Apex Mega Centre, Mt Wellington.
* Second biggest was Metro Centre, Auckland CBD.

Source: Jones Lang LaSalle Pulse, NZ transaction trends