Analysis of the Logistics Sector in Spain

21 August 2018

Companies and developers have discovered the logistics sector and are beginning to invest in warehouses and facilities in Spain. This is the conclusion of the CBRE consultancy’s study of the logistics market.

As it does during every edition of SIL, the real estate company CBRE Real Estate presented the results of its Logistics Market report, which focuses on issues surrounding demand, supply and capital regarding the main logistics centres in the country. CBRE’s director of its Industrial and National Logistics Area, Alberto Larrazabal, summarised the trends that define the market today.


The central zone is currently home to 10,000,000 square meters of logistics warehouses. Vacancy in the mid-range of Madrid and surrounding areas is around 4.5%, and last year, a record 920,000 square meters were contracted. 42% of all the facilities rented were for e-commerce, of which almost 60% are located in the Henares Corridor and 20% in the A-4 highway. During the first quarter of 2018, 240,000 square meters were contracted. According to Larrazabal, the data is very positive: the phenomenon of e-commerce is causing an increase in logistics contracting in general and, therefore, the increased allocation of warehousing facilities. It is important to note that, in Madrid, during this year and next, more than one million meters of facilities that are to be built this year and next will be placed on the market. 400,000 square meters of those will already be built in 2018. Almost all of the facilities under construction (in Madrid and throughout Spain) are being successfully allocated. Although there are a large number of facilities that are being placed on the market, many were placed immediately.


Last year, 450,000 square meters of facilities were contracted in the Barcelona area. This year, 120,000 square meters were placed in the first quarter. The data points to a strong year for the sector. The contracted area still fell short of the record-breaking year of 2016, when more than 700,000 meters were contracted, but the main reason for that was a lack of space coming onto the market. Of the contracted area, 25% was related to e-commerce. The market is highly dynamic, vacancy rates in the first and second metropolitan belts stand at 1% (there is almost nothing available in these areas). Consequently, developers are erected a large number of facilities, especially in Barcelona’s second belt.


Similar to Barcelona, there is almost nothing available (non-contracted capacity is at approximately 2%), and that is facilities are being built without a specific end-user. Contracted area last year was about 120,000 square meters, again due to a lack of space coming onto the market. Demand is very high, and the sector is the focus of developers and investors in general.


There is no official data on contracted space because there is next to no availability. There are almost no quality facilities available in either Bilbao or Malaga. The problem in both cities is a lack of land: there are no planned industrial facilities in either Bilbao or Malaga, and the latter city has the added problem of being situated on a floodplain, and the subterranean water prevents any major developments, the head of Logistics at CBRE explained.


Sevilla has available land, but no high-quality facilities. Prices are slightly higher as the city is not a traditional focus of the industry like Malaga, Bilbao, Valencia or Madrid. However, the market has attracted a lot of interest and land is available (about 50,000 square meters).


Unlike in the other cities, there is a lot of land available in this city. Contracted area stood at roughly 40,000 square meters last year, a relatively low figure since few facilities are coming onto the market, even considering the wealth of available land. Though land is accessible, few developers have stepped forward, and consequently, there is practically no unallocated capacity.

E-commerce boosts demand

According to CBRE, 2017 was a record-breaking year for investments (almost 2 billion euros) in logistics warehouses. In 2016, the total investment reached €1 billion, and at the time it was believed that the figure would not be surpassed.

There is a lot of existing liquidity, financing, international investors, Asian capital and a very limited amount of product. This combination is leading to a number of joint ventures between local and national developers and international funds. Many facilities are being developed at risk, without having a final user. The influence of e-commerce is highly important: traditional logistics has been transformed into e-commerce logistics. No change is expected to the trend in the short term: there is a lot of investment demand and little supply, explains Alberto Larrazabal.

Original Story: Transporte Profesional

Translation: Richard Turner