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hospitality Market News: Spanish Real Estate Intelligence

Palma de Mallorca to Ban All Tourist Apartments From July

24 April 2018 - El País

From July onwards, homeowners in Palma, on the Balearic Island of Mallorca, will not be allowed to rent out their apartments to tourists. The capital of the popular Mediterranean destination has adopted a pioneering measure, which will see the definitive prohibition of tourist flats right across the city. The local government team – a leftist alliance between the Socialist Party (PSOE), the local group Més per Mallorca and the anti-austerity Podemos – has taken this decision after commissioning several studies on the matter, which revealed that the supply of unlicensed tourist flats increased by 50% between 2015 and 2017 to reach 20,000 beds across the city. In Palma, which is Spain’s eighth-largest city by population, only 645 properties used for short-term vacation rentals have proper licenses.

The government team will approve initial holiday rental zoning plans at a meeting on Thursday, which will then be subjected to public scrutiny before being put to a final vote at a council session in July. At that point, tourists seeking this kind of accommodation will no longer be allowed to rent apartments in multi-family residential housing. Instead, they will only be able to stay in detached, single-family homes, which are being left outside the ban. Yet even these properties will be off limits if they are located on protected rural land, near the airport, or in non-residential areas such as industrial estates.

The move follows a reform of tourism legislation by the regional parliament of the Balearic Islands in August last year. That reform banned vacation rentals in apartments but left it up to local authorities to decide which neighbourhoods to apply it in. In the end, the city of Palma has decided to consider the entire municipality a “single zone” and so the ban will apply in all parts of town. The decision is meant “to protect residents,” said mayor Antoni Noguera.

Studies commissioned by city officials show that 48% of tourist apartments are offered for seven to eight months of the year, meaning they are not available for long-term residential rentals. “There is a parallel between the evolution of vacation rentals and the rise in rental prices,” said José Hila, the local chief of city planning. Rent in Palma has soared by 40% in recent years, making it the second most expensive Spanish city after Barcelona for residents who rent.

“Tourist accommodation affects the makeup of buildings and neighbourhoods, and it also affects social harmony,” said Hila. A report by the Citizen Ombudsman’s Office shows a rise in the number of complaints filed by residents due to problems with tourists who use these apartments, typically related to noise. There were 42 complaints in 2014 and 192 in 2017.

Pioneering initiative

Mayor Noguera is convinced that this measure, which is pioneering in Spain, will set the standard to be followed by other cities. “Palma is a bold and decisive city. We have agreed this on the basis of the general interest, and we believe that it will create a trend in other cities when they see that finding a balance is key.” said the mayor. “All European cities are being transformed from one day to the next by this type of offer,” said planning chief Hila.

Currently, in the Balearic capital, there is a supply of around 11,000 tourist rental beds, of which 645 have licences, all for family homes. Before the new regional legislation was approved in August, the number of beds amounted to 20,000 but the high fines established by the law – of up to €400,000 - led to the withdrawal of adverts from users of many of the large platforms (…).

Original story: El País (by Lucía Bohórquez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Blackstone Formalises its

23 April 2018 - Valencia Plaza

Blackstone has submitted to Spain's National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV) its request for authorisation for the takeover bid that it has launched over the Socimi Hispania, an operation worth €1.905 billion, which would see the US fund become the largest hotel owner in the country. The supervisor must now analyse whether the bid is admissible and, in the event that it deems that it is, assess the documentation for its approval. Only then will the period be opened for acceptance of the deal by the shareholders.

In this way, Blackstone has formalised its takeover bid for the hotel Socimi that it announced on 5 April, after it purchased 16.5% of the share capital from the investor George Soros and whereby became the company's largest shareholder. The bid is effectively directed at the 83.5% of Hispania’s share capital that the fund does not yet control, by offering €17.45 per share, which brings the operation value to around €1.59 billion.

In the documentation submitted to the supervisor on Monday, Blackstone did not include any bank guarantee to secure that amount, although it did state that it would present such a guarantee within a period of seven working days that it has for that purpose. The consideration being offered by the fund represents a discount of 5.6% with respect to the share price of €18.50 at which Hispania was trading before the operation was announced publicly.

Blackstone is formalising the takeover bid after Hispania announced that it regarded the approach as hostile and that it will look for “alternatives” to the operation that improve the price proposed and, therefore, “maximise” value. The Socimi chaired by Rafael Miranda is pushing ahead with its intention to look for other options to the bid, given that prior to its formulation, and before it announced its intention to liquidate its assets by 2020, the firm had received expressions of interest from around half a dozen overseas investors.

For its part, Blackstone is looking to create a hotel asset ‘giant’, given that this deal would see it become the largest owner of this type of establishment in the country. The fund would add the 46 hotels that comprise the Socimi’s portfolio, most of which are located on the islands and in the main tourist areas of the country, to the fourteen establishments that it purchased last year from one of Banco Sabadell’s companies (HI Partners). Currently, and following the departure of Soros, Hispania’s main reference shareholders are overseas funds, including Fidelity, which owns a 7% stake, Conepa with 6%, and Bank of Montreal and BlackRock, with 3% each.

Original story: Valencia Plaza

Translation: Carmel Drake

 
Socimi Elaia Buys a Hotel in Mallorca for €5.7M

23 April 2018 - Eje Prime

Elaia Investment Spain is growing through purchases. The Socimi has acquired a hotel in Mallorca for a total value of €5.7 million, according to a statement filed by the group with the Alternative Investment Market. The asset acquired is Hotel Valparaiso, an establishment spanning 2,400 m2 on a plot measuring 4,400 m2, located on the seafront in Cala Murada, Manacor (Mallorca).

This represents Elaia Investment Spain’s sixth asset in the Balearic Islands. The hotel is located on the east of the island, on a cliff top, 17km from the underground lake in the Drach Caves and 3.5 nautical miles from Portocolom.

Elaia is a Socimi focusing primarily on the tourist accommodation sector (87% of its assets), whilst the rest of its portfolio comprises residential assets. Following this acquisition, the Socimi now owns 15 assets in total: two residential buildings in Madrid, seven tourist apartment complexes, five hotels and one project under development.

Batipart is currently the majority shareholder of Elaia, in which it holds a 66% stake. The other shares are distributed between 22 shareholders including Euler Hermès Reinsurance (13.81%), Allianz Invest Pierre (9.21%), managed by Immovalor Gestion, and other individual and corporate shareholders with minority stakes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake