Investment Funds & Socimis Revolutionise RE Sector

26 October 2015 – Expansión

The real estate sector is recovering well. During the first nine months of 2015, purchases of offices, commercial and logistics assets, hotels and residential properties amounted to €10,800 million, representing an increase of 57% compared with the same period last year. After more than five years of severe economic difficulties, the return of investment, at the hands of investment funds and Socimis has breathed a new wave of optimism into the sector.

“After a really tough economic crisis, we were almost in a coma and the arrival of these funds is invigorating the market”, said Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, President of the Association for Real Estate Developers in Madrid (‘Asociación de Promotores Inmobiliarios de Madrid’ or Asprima), who together with Rafael González-Cobos, President of Grupo Inmobiliario Ferrocarril and Gecopi; Alberto Fernández-Aller, Corporate Director of Prinex Real Estate; and Manuel del Pozo, Assistant Director of Expansión, were responsible for opening the forum ‘The New Era of the Real Estate Sector in Spain: Investment funds and Socimis’.

The event, organised by the newspaper Expansión, in collaboration with Drago Capital, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, JLL, Neinor Homes and Merlin Properties, and with Prinex as the technological partner, served to highlight the evolution of the market in recent years and the impact the Socimis have had on the strong investment figures recorded in the sector.

46% of the capital invested in Spain so far this year has come from Socimis, an investment vehicle inspired by the REITs in the USA, first launched in the 1960s, which did not arrive in Spain until 2009. As the Corporate Director of Prinex Real Estate explained, they are “a mechanism that allow us to hold much more open asset portfolios, without any major legal or regulatory obligations and with great tax advantages”.

Partnerships

Moreover, the entry of international capital is also helping to professionalise the sector, as well as to support the recovery of Spanish property developers and real estate companies, hit hard by years of paralysis and lack of investment. “All of the funds coming into Spain are looking for support from companies that already know the environment. They are using their capital to undertake operations with Spanish developers”, said Fernández-Aller. “They generate capital movement, investment and jobs. The Socimis are helping to create a professionalised stock of homes for rent”, added the President of Grupo Inmobiliario Ferrocarril. (…).

Meanwhile, the participants highlighted the threat that political instability poses to the recovery of the real estate sector. One example, they indicated, is Madrid, where all of the major urban planning operations (Canalejas, Chamartín and Edificio España) are currently on hold.

Large cities

The recovery of the real estate market is happening in a very uneven way and, for the time being, is limited to the major cities only, such as Madrid and Barcelona, and some coastal regions. (…).

Meanwhile, Juan Velayos, CEO of Neinor Homes, emphasised the profound transformation that the Spanish real estate market has experienced over the last 18 months and said that he was convinced that the mistakes that led this sector – which accounted for 25% of the country’s GDP at its height – to the brink of disaster, will not be repeated.

“What we are seeing in Spain is an absolute transformation of the industry. I do not think that the banks will let what happened before with the RE bubble happen again. We are not going to see any projects without equity. It is going to be a sector that, for the first time, builds what customers actually want. If we do not understand that (basic premise), then customers are not going to buy homes from us”, concluded Velayos.

Original story: Expansión (by Javier G. Fernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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