The Sebel Canberra Hotel has changed hands in an off-market deal worth $48 million, six months after the hotel first opened its doors.

The property has been acquired by German fund manager DWS – a former subsidiary of Deutsche Bank – and Sydney-based Pro-Invest, in a deal brokered by Mark Durran, managing director at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group. It is understood to be the first Australian hotel purchase for DWS and the first Canberra hotel purchase for Pro-Invest.

Pro-Invest is a combined hotel developer, fund manager and hotel operator that has raised more than $800 million in equity in the past five years to fund the roll-out of new Holiday Inn Express and EVEN-branded properties across the country. The Sebel – opened in June 2019 and developed by Zapari Group – features 144 serviced apartment-style rooms over 11 floors.

Zapari Group will retain a presence at the property under the deal, leasing level 10 as its new head office. The property, which is located in Civic Square near the Canberra Theatre and Canberra Museum, also features a ground-floor restaurant, bar and teahouse. It will continue to be run as a Sebel hotel.

The transaction comes at a time when the hotel sector in Canberra is heating up, with major international brands eyeing sites near the city centre. Last year The Canberra Times reported that a Hilton-led consortium had made an unsolicited pitch to the territory government to open its first hotel in the national capital.

The city’s hotel sector has also witnessed a string of recent transactions for existing assets, including the sale of the Nishi complex – housing the former Hotel Hotel, now owned by Ovolo – to the Centuria Metropolitan Real Estate Investment Trust for $256 million.

Canberra has been a popular destination for German funds across a variety of commercial asset classes of late, as the city offered better yields relative to other state capitals, Mr Durran said.

“Canberra is an investment hotspot at present. It offers attractive yields relative to other capital cities, with a positive long-term growth profile for the hotel market,” he said, adding that he expected further hotel transactions to take place in 2020.

He said that “strong investment in infrastructure projects” had improved the market’s long-term growth prospects, citing upgrades to the Canberra Airport and introduction of direct international flights and completion of the first stage of the light rail project as key economic drivers. Outside of the hotel space, German acquisitions include Deka Immobilien’s 2017 purchase, made via local fund manager Armada Funds Management, of the Canberra Outlet Centre for $135.1 million.

In 2018 German fund manager Real IS bought Maddocks House at 40 Macquarie Street in the government precinct of Barton for $29 million while fund manager Euramco was rumoured to be readying for a return to the Canberra market after a hiatus.