Central London's retail property market has reported a number of major deals in the past few months but there are signs of investor sentiment waning in certain districts as a result of increased rents, according to Jones Lang Wootton (JLW). The property consultant said the transactions were made by institutions in Britain keen to buy rental growth and attractive lease terms. However, concern was focused on how much rental growth could be expected to go beyond the current levels, it stated. Rents had soared to historic heights, such as GBP5,380 (about $68,700) per square metre in prime Oxford Street and GBP3,- per sq m in Bond Street, JLW said. Recent transactions included the acquisition by Britannia Life of a property at 39-42 New Bond Street for GBP26 million, reflecting a net initial yield of 4.91 per cent. Equitable Lift paid GBP45.4 million for a long leasehold of the Royal Opera House, equating to a net initial yield of 4.6 per cent. JLW said the high street retail investment market in Britain had continued to perform well, with retailers largely reporting an on-going improvement in sales. But any improvement in yields had been tempered by a further increase in stamp duty to 3 per cent, it said. Yields were stable at 4.25 per cent for the best shops in the main regional towns, while returns in the smaller regional towns remained at 4.75 per cent. According to JLW, the first half of this year saw 39 shopping centre transactions with a total capital value of about GBP1.2 billion - equal to the total achieved during the whole of last year. The institutional market had been characterised by an increasing number of joint ventures. 'Prime yields remain at 5.75 per cent for large schemes which dominate their catchment area, where there is good car parking and strong anchor tenants,' the company said. JLW also said there had been increasing investor interest in the industrial market as a result of the higher yields available in this sector. Henderson Asset Management's purchase of Landlands Place at East Kilbride in Scotland for GBP6.5 million, representing a yield of 9.25 per cent, was indicative of the yield achievable for multi-let industrial investments, it said. Investors are also showing interest in distribution warehouses. JLW said the investment market had split into two definable areas with some investors seeking multi-let industrial estates and others seeking single-let distribution units.