Best Start To The Year For Real Estate Market Since 2010

6 February 2015 – El Economista

Investment activity in the non-residential real estate sector in Spain has started the year with the same strength with which it closed 2014. In just one month, investment has risen to almost €1,100 million, approximately equal to the total amount recorded during the first quarter last year, according to data published by Savills, the international real estate consultancy.

This has been the best start to the year for the real estate market since 2010 in terms of transaction volumes. Nevertheless, in terms of the number of transactions, the level has not been particularly noteworthy compared with other periods – as of yesterday, only nine deals had been closed.

“In January and February, we tend to see transactions left over from before the holidays being closed, however, the pipeline of investment transactions in retail and offices currently exceeds €2,000 million. We expect investment volumes to be similar to or even exceed those recorded in 2014”, said Luis Espadas, Director of Capital Markets for Savills España.

Two transactions have accounted for almost 80% of the total investment in 2015. Firstly, the sale of Gran Vía 32, which was acquired by Pontegadea for around €400 million, according to market sources and secondly, the Puerto Venecia shopping centre, which was sold for €451 million – the deal was announced at the end of the year, but was actually closed in January.

“Both transactions not only support the rising trend in mega-deals (those exceeding €100 million), which accounted for 2.5% of all transactions in 2011 and for 9% last year, they also far outweigh the size of the largest operations recorded in 2014. Moreover, Savills highlights that in each case, the transactions involved a single building, rather than portfolios (of buildings) like in 2014 (when the Junta de Andalucía sold 70 buildings for €300 million and Carrefour sold a portfolio for €350 million).

Success in the office market

Amongst other transactions, interest for the office segment in Madrid stands out once again. It broke records in 2014 for the highest number of transactions ever recorded, with 71 transactions; and which has started 2015 on the right foot. Five buildings were sold in two weeks, almost all located within the M-30.

“The shortage of high quality properties for sale in the business district and other urban areas diverted the search for opportunities towards well-established business centres outside of the M-30, although 75% of investment last year was located inside the periphery” explained Espadas.

Nevertheless, there is an increasing drive towards refurbishment “to add value to office blocks, particularly those that are well located, which are being used either as offices or for conversion into hotels and shops”, added Espadas.

Meanwhile, yesterday, the consultancy firm Irea published its report about investment in the real estate sector in 2014, a year in which direct transactions in real estate assets tripled. Such investments accounted for €9,660 million worth of transactions, out of a total investment volume in the sector of €23,028 million, compared with €5,344 million in 2013.

Original story: El Economista (by A. Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake