15 March 2018 – Eje Prime
After a 2017 in which one of the key characteristics of the residential market was the interest from funds in going to banks for property, this year, the trend is set to increase. The investment funds are now being joined by Socimis, which want to take advantage of the rapid and generous divestments that the banks are undertaking of their real estate portfolios.
Pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) for the financial entities to clean up their balance sheets has meant that they have been rushing, for the last year and a half, to sell almost all of their portfolios of assets and non-performing loans relating to the real estate sector. According to data from the consultancy firm Axis, the banks currently have €31.7 billion in toxic assets up for sale.
This large sum of portfolios up for sale is proving to be the subject of major battles between the main investment funds, the majority of which are international, and which in 2017 managed to close record operations in this sense. The sale by Santander of property inherited from Popular to Blackstone for €10 billion, and the agreement reached between BBVA and the fund Cerberus for €4 billion to transfer assets from the real estate firm Anida, fired the starting gun for a race that is going to reach its cruising speed this year, according to Cinco Días.
Spain is the third country in the Eurozone by volume of doubtful loans, with €136 billion and a default rate of 5.7%, a percentage that is above the European average of 5.1%. According to the Bank of Spain, non-performing loans held by the banks at the end of 2016 amounted to €190 billion.
The oligopoly of the servicers
Axis details that the assets of the banks under the management of the servicers are no longer going to be a question of five, since some of the players may come out of the equation. In 2018, “there will be a greater concentration in the market, with the sale of some of the servicers”, according to the study.
Until now, 80% of the portfolios have been managed by the banks and funds, as demonstrated in the cases of Altamira, which is controlled by Banco Santander; Haya and Anida, companies that are both linked to Cerberus; Anticipa and Aliseda, which are both owned by Blackstone; and Servihabitat and Solvia, which are owned by CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell, respectively.
In addition to the aforementioned funds, Axis adds others with a presence in the Spanish market such as Lone Star, Oaktree, Deutsche Bank and Fortress, which will try to acquire one or more of the portfolios for sale.
Funds and Socimis are going to be searching to generate returns this year, above all, in the rental market, which with yields of 8% “is going to be the product with the most attractive investment prospects”, according to Axis.
Original story: Eje Prime
Translation: Carmel Drake