LONDON - Britain's largest quoted residential investor Grainger (GRI.L) said on Wednesday it was back in the hunt for new property buys after shoring up its finances and observing signs of stability in the housing market.
Grainger said its acquisition pipeline grew to 8.6 million pounds ($13.4 million) in the four months to Jan. 31 following completion of a 2-for-1 rights issue which raised 237 million pounds in December.
We continue to sell well at prices above the last reported valuation, while our improved financial position arising from the recent refinancing and rights issue has enabled us to recommence our acquisition programme, Chief Executive Andrew Cunningham said in a statement.
To this end, we are currently actively evaluating a number of potential acquisitions, ranging from single assets to several larger scale portfolios, the company said.
Although encouraged by activity in Britain's recession-hit housing market, Grainger said it would remain cautious in its approach to new buys, particularly in the face of higher levels of unemployment and fiscal tightening due later this year.
The company said its sales pipeline had grown by 42 percent to 83.9 million pounds on last year's levels, with prices achieved or contracted around 5.3 percent above the Sept. 30 valuation.
Grainger said mortgage lending approvals, a key lead indicator for transaction volumes, had increased steadily since a November 2008 low point but were still some 40 percent lower than the pre-2007 long-run average.
(Reporting by Sinead Cruise, editing by Laurence Fletcher)
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