6 July 2015 – Expansión
Five star hotels, commercial premises on the country’s most iconic streets, large shopping centres and office buildings. All of these assets have changed hands in recent months in the Spanish real estate market, which has been extremely active in recent months.
Between January and June, real estate investment (which includes offices, shopping centres and retail premises, logistics warehouses, hotels and residential assets) amounted to €5,264 million, according to the consultancy CBRE. That figure soars to €8,434 million if we include the purchase of the real estate company Testa by the Socimi Merlin Properties.
The amount represents an increase of 51% compared with the first half of 2014, a figure that itself represented a two-fold increase with respect the previous year. Thus, total investment during the first half of the year increased from €697 million in 2012 to €1,455 million in 2013, to €3,475 million last year and to more than €5,200 million in 2015, according to CBRE. (…).
By quarter, the volume invested in the second quarter (from April to June) was slightly lower than during the first quarter: €2,337 million compared with €2,928 million. “The decrease in the second quarter was due to the fact that some transactions were delayed and also because some very large deals were closed during the first quarter, including Gran Vía 32 and Plenilunio”, explains Paloma Relinque, Investment Director at CBRE.
By asset type, offices and retail assets (both large shopping centres, as well as shops on the main streets of Madrid and Barcelona) have featured in the largest deals. In the case of offices, highlights include the sale of Ahorro Corporación and Sareb’s headquarters on Castellana 89 (Madrid) to the March family for €147 million. In terms of retail premises, in April, the insurance company Axa paid €308 million to the Socimi Uro Property for 400 Banco Santander branches.
There have also been important transactions in the hotel sector, including the sale of the Hotel Ritz, which was transferred for €130 million. (…).
Types of investors
Although the investment growth trend seen in 2014 was repeated during the first half of 2015, there was a change in the mix of investors by nationality. Whilst at the beginning of last year, the more opportunistic US funds accounted for 53% of transactions, compared with British and German funds, which accounted for 5% and 1% of deal respectively; during the first half of 2015, US funds accounted for just 21% of total volumes, whilst investors from the UK accounted for 22% of deals, followed by Canadian funds (9%) and German funds (6%), according to CBRE.
Moreover, the Socimis Lar España, Merlin Properties, Hispania and Axiare are still the major players in the market for real estate investment. “The Socimis are performing very well, which is great for the sector because they purchase office buildings, for example, to refurbish them and add value, which improves the real estate stock”, says Lola Martínez, Director of Analysis and Investment Strategies at CBRE.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake