David Martínez: “Aedas Has Land on which to Build Homes for the next 4 Years”

8 September 2018 – Expansión

Aedas, the property developer in which the US fund Castlelake holds a stake, is continuing to push ahead and take on new challenges. As the first anniversary of its debut on the stock market approaches and with its business plan on track, the company is considering starting to buy plots of land that still require urban planning approval to anticipate possible price rises and improve margins, as well as to launch projects to sell to specialists companies in the rental sector, such as Socimis.

“We have a land bank spanning more than 1.5 million m2, which will allow us to build more than 14,000 homes. That gives us four years of visibility with respect to our business plan”, explains David Martínez, CEO of the company.

Aedas became the second largest property developer, after Neinor, to make its debut on the stock market after ten years of drought following the burst of the real estate bubble. It was followed shortly after by Metrovacesa, and several other companies are lining up to take the plunge, including Vía Célere and Aelca.

Aedas is sticking to the objectives announced in the listing brochure and unlike its rivals is not contemplating a reduction in its initial forecasts. “Our objective is to hand over more than 200 homes this year, more than 1,000 homes in 2019 and to exceed 2,000 homes in 2020. In total, by the end of 2020, we will have handed over more than 3,200 homes and we already have 114 developments underway, with more than 4,000 homes in different phases of development, which gives us a great deal of visibility over the objectives. We designed a realistic business plan and we will fulfil the forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020”, said the director.

Investment in land

The CEO of Aedas explains that during the first half of 2018, Aedas invested almost €100 million and purchased land for 1,905 homes, almost doubling the planned investment figure for the entire year. In addition, the company signed a corporate financing line for €150 million to continue expanding its land bank.

“We have detected interesting opportunities that fit with our investment criteria that are not going to be available in six months time. For that reason, we decided to bring forward our investment plan. Recently, we formalised a loan amounting to €150 million to provide us with sufficient financial resources to continue bringing forward the purchases planned in the business plan between now and 2023”, he explained.

At this point, Martínez opened the door to the possibility of purchasing non-finalist land. “There is a lot of land classified as “urbanisable” that still requires urban planning. Given that we now have land to cover our requirements for the next four years and we are not in any hurry, nor do we need to buy finalist land, we are considering land in areas with demand that has the partial plans approved but that still require some urban planning management”, he revealed.

Martínez highlighted that a significant percentage of the €150 million resulting from the loan formalised a few weeks ago will be used to buy non-finalist land. “With the economic recovery, new property developers are emerging who need to buy finalist land to get to work. For this reason, in some places, the prices of some plots of finalist land now exceed our expectations. We want to take advantage to buy land at more affordable prices even if that requires more management subsequently (…).

Rental

Similarly, the property developer is exploring other business opportunities, such as the sale of homes to Socimis and other vehicles specialising in the rental market. “One of the challenges involves supplying homes to young people. Aedas is exploring formulae that allow the construction of homes for rent, basically developing projects that we can sell to companies that specialise in rental. We have a very extensive and urban land bank”.

The director anticipates a “long” upwards cycle. “We are at the beginning of a cycle and notwithstanding the fact that we may see some adjustments in prices in certain specific towns, in general, it is going to last”, he predicted.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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