23 November 2017 – Expansión
Shopping centres have reached their cruising speed. After breaking all records last year, with a transaction volume of €3.769 billion, investment in the sector is maintaining its strong dynamism and could reach €3.046 billion by year-end. That would represent the second highest annual figure for a decade, according to research by Deloitte for The Shopping Centre Handbook.
So far this year, investment in shopping centres has amounted to €2.296 billion, which represents 30% of the total volume invested in the non-residential real estate market in Spain. Moreover, the remaining weeks of the year are expected to be particularly busy, which should allow the figure to exceed the €3 billion threshold in 2017.
Historical operations, such as the purchase of Xanadú (Arroyomolinos, Madrid) by the British fund Intu Properties for €520 million and the subsequent sale of 50% of that asset to TH Real Estate for €264 million; and the acquisition by Klépierre of Nueva Condomina, in Murcia, for €230 million, have catapulted investment this year despite the fact that, if the outstanding operations in the pipeline materialise, the total volume will be 19% lower than in 2016.
Compared with other countries in Europe, Spain is consolidating its position as the third largest market in terms of investment, accounting for 16% of total volume. In this sense, the purchase of Xanadú leads the ranking of the largest operations transacted in Europe this year. Nueva Condomina also features in the list of top 5 deals, together with the purchase of Rathaus Galerie Leverkusen, (Germany) and Le Befane Shopping Centre (Italy), both of which were acquired by Union Investment, for €220 million and €244 million, respectively.
“Investors in shopping centres in Spain believe that the strong macroeconomic outlook will continue to boost household consumption and with that, the valuation of retail assets”, said the Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, Javier García-Mateo.
In terms of the investor profile, García-Mateo explains that this year, “the stage has been shared by Spanish Socimis, which have seen their stake of total investment fall to 16%, to the benefit of international funds, which are looking to build large multi-country platforms”.
The Director of Financial Advisory at Deloitte, Ana Granado, also points out that this year, financing for shopping centres amounting to between €1.2 billion and €1.5 billion has been closed. “The traditional banks are being joined by a select group of alternative providers of capital, which are willing to finance the development of land and projects in the transformation and renovation phase”, she said.
Regarding the supply, currently, the average commercial density of shopping centres in Spain amounts to 285 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants. By province, Zaragoza (with 638 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants) and Las Palmas (with 641 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants) are the Spanish provinces with the highest commercial density. At the other end of the spectrum are Lérida, with 40 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants and Gerona, with 65 m2 for every 1,000 inhabitants.
In terms of the commercial park, José María Espejo, Senior Manager at Deloitte Financial Advisory, indicates that 45% of the current supply of shopping centres is showing signs of significant technical obsolescence. “Any renovation processes will have to go hand in hand with some major capex investment”, he said.
According to Deloitte’s calculations, the amount of investment required to reposition the obsolete assets amounts to around €1.08 billion.
By way of example of some of the shopping centres that have been repositioned in recent years, La Moraleja Green, in Madrid stands out, with an investment of €10 million. That shopping centre, located in Alcobendas and inaugurated in 1995 is owned by Kennedy Wilson, which bought it from ING Real Estate in December 2015 for €71 million. Meanwhile, Unibail Rodamco, has invested €148 million in the repositioning of the Glòries shopping centre in Barcelona and Intu has spent €12 million on improvements at its shopping centre in Asturias.
In terms of challenges for the future, commercial spaces are going to have to adapt to cater for the new habits of consumers and to make e-commerce an ally.
According to the report, shopping centres are at very preliminary levels of evolution and only the most advanced have online shopping platforms, mobile applications and loyalty programs for their clients.
Specifically, the level of omnichannel use of shopping centres in Spain amounts to 33%. By category, retail outlets achieve the highest degree of omnichannel use, whilst shopping centres bring up the rear in terms of their degree of digitalisation.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake