27 December 2017 – Expansión
An increase in property prices has led to a 22% reduction in the purchase of non-residential assets in 2017 with respect to 2016.
The boom that has marked the real estate investment sector in Spain since 2014 is starting to show signs of slowing. That is according to the most recent non-residential investment figures, which, with just a few days to go before year-end, are reflecting a decrease of 22% with respect to 2016.
According to a market study performed by Deloitte Real Estate, investors spent €9.7 billion this year on tertiary properties (offices, hotels, commercial and logistics assets) compared with €12.4 billion in 2016 and €11.8 billion in 2015.
“With just a few operations still left to close before 31 December, which will amount to between €0.5 billion and €0.6 billion, tertiary investment has fallen by 22%. This decrease in activity is a sign that we have crossed the equator of the bullish cycle and that we are possibly starting a period of greater stability”, explained Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte.
The 22% decrease is due to a weaker second half of the year in terms of the rate of investment (…). During the third quarter, investment fell from €6.6 billion in 2016 to €1.6 billion this year, says Deloitte in its report. During the fourth quarter, the difference was a decrease of 42% (€2.8 billion compared with €1.8 billion). The decrease is more pronounced in the property segments that tend to lead absolute investment, namely, offices and retail assets. In the case of the former, investors have spent €2.3 billion in 2017, less than half the amount recorded in 2016 (€4.9 billion) and 2015 (€5.3 billion) (…). “Offices tends to be the segment that traditionally leads investment, but this year it has decreased by 55%. This is not due to a lack of supply, but rather the gap between the expectations of sellers and the offers from buyers. Moreover, some operations have been abandoned, such as the sale of Hispania’s portfolio”, said García-Mateo.
In this way, unlike in previous years, where large operations were closed during the final quarter of the year, such as Torre Foster – sold for €490 million at the end of 2016-, Torre Espacio – sold in November 2015 for €550 million – and Torre Picasso – sold for €400 million in December 2011 – this year, the most significant operation has been the sale of 50% of Torre Caleido on Paseo de la Castellana, for around €150 million, closed during the first quarter of the year.
In the case of retail assets, investment in shopping centres fell by 29% to €2.7 billion, despite record operations such as the one involving Xanadú, whilst the purchase of shops fell by 36% to €421 million.
“After 4 years of increases in valuations and the consequent decrease in yields, investment in offices and retail property is significantly less attractive than in the hotel and logistics segments, where there are up to 3 points of differential per year”, say the sources at Deloitte. The large hotel operations this year have included the purchase of Edificio España by the Riu Group and the sale of HI Partners, along with its 14 establishments, by Banco Sabadell to Blackstone for €630.73 million.
The 22% decrease comes at a time that is being characterised by the independentist challenge in Cataluña, although the uncertainty being generated in that region does not seem to have had an impact on real estate investment, at least not yet, according to García-Mateo. “In Cataluña, the absorption of office space has fallen and sales in shopping centres have also decreased, by around 10% with respect to Q4 2016, but investment has not been hit, as evidenced by Meridia Capital’s recent purchase of the Barnasud shopping centre and Invesco’s acquisition of the Mango facilities in Palau de Plegamans (Barcelona)”, he added.
In this way, the experts justify that the decrease in investment is due to a change in the cycle, following four years of rapid growth (…).
Nevertheless, the €9.7 billion spent during 2017 represents the fourth-highest figure in the historical series (dating back 13 years).
It was only in the last two years, as well as in the record year for the sector (2007), when investment amounted to €12.6 billion, that investment in non-residential assets exceeded the €10 billion threshold, according to Deloitte.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake