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The depot market is recovering

16 October, Il Sole 24 Ore

If it’s true that the investments in industrial properties reflect the current trend of the economy, the market is confirming the signals of recovery, with the GDP expected to grow by 1.5% by the end of the year according to Confindustria. Whether it’s matter of expanding with new depots or renting new offices, small and large companies are investing again their resources on workspaces.

The figures from the Revenue Office are clear: the purchase of commercial and industrial properties have grown in the last semester by 6.2% compared to the same period of the previous year. Moreover, according to Nomisma, the times to sell or rent a vacant space have reduced by 5-10% for the same period. This is another important sign that the industrial property market is reactive.

“We’re monitoring especially artisanal and commercial businesses – states Fabiana Megliola, responsible for the Tecnocasa research centre – this is a sector that suffered a lot during the recession years. There is still caution, but the recovery signals are solid”.

Most of the requests concerns leasing, rather than purchases: 72% for warehouses, 85% for shops, and 80% for offices. “This is normal – stresses Megliola – especially for commercial properties, the owner is often investing to rent the property. Anyway, 28% of sales for production facilities is an important signal. This means that the number of companies with solid assets, well-positioned abroad, and capable to plan on the long term is growing. We need to add that these activities are favoured by the consistent drop in prices, which since 2008 caused the values to fall by 30%.

At a regional level, the North is the most dynamic with Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont in pole position. But the trend is widespread across Italy, especially in some specific cases. For instance, Megliola reminds, “now that the Brebemi is completed, the area around Brescia registers many requests for warehouses. Lazio is currently having a similar trend with the Fca production plant in Cassino, which is connected to several suppliers located in the area. Finally, in Sicily, and especially Catania, the retail sector has restarted”.

What are the most dynamic sectors? Industrial SMEs, artisan businesses, and repair shops are the most active in the research of new depots. According to Tecnocasa, instead, “the food sector dominates the shops sector. Restaurants and grocery shops alone cover one-third of the market”. Concerning offices, the requests are coming from self-employed professionals, such as law firms, that prefer to be centrally located in the cities.

“Whereas for what concerns companies, big groups and multinationals are seeking headquarters were to gather their personnel, with locations well connected to the logistical infrastructures and the public networks, built according to the modern standards, reducing and optimizing in this way the costs connected to energy, regardless whether the property is inside or outside of the city”, explains Alessandro Mazzanti, Cbre Italia Ceo, a leading company operating in real estate consultancy. Mazzanti sees additional space for growth for the national market: “We’re monitoring the operations above 5 million euro carried out by big players that purchase non-residential properties with the purpose of investment. At the end of 2017, we’ll register the highest volume of demand ever, reaching nearly 11 billion”.

How much does a new workplace cost? The gap is wide, and it depends on the area and the type of activity. To rent a new office, there is great availability at national level of properties priced between 80 and 150 euro per Sq m, with peaks of 400-500 in Milan and Rome. For depots, instead, prices stay within 50 and 80 euro to rent and, on average, 500-800-euro per Sq m to purchase, even though the price may vary by 20% depending on the proximity of the main motorways. Concerning rents of shops, they start from 100 euro per Sq m in the suburbs and reach 1,500-2,000 euro in the centres of Rome, Milan, Florence, and Naples. Whereas with 1,000-2,000 euro per Sq m is possible to buy properties in many parts of Italy, however, in the centres of the main cities the prices start at least from 2,500-3,000 euro to reach peaks of 10-15 thousand. Finally, in the case of shops, the price doubles if the property is located on a high street or in an exclusive neighbourhood.

 

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore (by Adriano Lovera)

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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