9 June 2015 – El Confidencial
Land is no longer the most toxic asset in the market, rather it has become one of the most sought after by investors. Although, not all plots or all locations are of interest, it is clear that the number of transactions, especially in Madrid, has reached “cruising speed” during the last few months. But, what are investment funds and property developers looking for exactly?
“Land has to be ready to build on (‘suelo finalista’); it is imperative that we can begin to build on it within a period of six months”, says Roberto Roca, Investment Director, Head of Spain at Orion Capital Managers, a fund that has closed two of the largest shopping centre transactions centres in Spain in the last year: the sale of Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza), the largest shopping centre in Europe, for €451 million and the sale of Plenilunio (Madrid), for a record figure of €375 million.
The market for land in Madrid is in full swing, to the extent that some experts agree that there is “overheating” in certain specific areas.
“Most activity is concentrated within the M-30 and on buildable land. Also, outside of the M-30, to the North of Madrid, from the A-6 to the A-1, i.e. the area comprising the urban developments of Arroyo del Fresno, Sanchinarro, Montecarmelo and Las Tablas”, says Ernesto Tarazona, Director of Residential Property and Land at Knight Frank.
However, in the South of Madrid, “despite the decreases, prices have not dropped enough…to reflect the real demand in the area”, concludes Tarazona.
One of the most active players in the market is Neinor Homes – the result of Lone Star’s purchase of the real estate arm of Kutxabank – which has €1,000 million to spend on land in Spain, and which regards Madrid as one of its main targets. The company led by Juan Velayos has just bought four plots in Alcobendas and another one in San Sebastián de los Reyes – both towns to the North of Madrid – for almost €65 million. This has been the largest land transaction so far in 2015, both in terms of square metres acquired, as well as surface area purchased. The plots are completely established and ready for construction, with a total surface area of 70,000 m2 and a buildable area for the construction of almost 600 (unsubsidised) homes. The vendor was a private group, i.e. the land did not used to belong to the Public Administration.
This transaction comes after the recent purchase of three other plots of land, one in Madrid and two in País Vasco for €22 million. According to a statement from BNP Paribas Real Estate, which advised on the deal, the first plot – with a buildable area of 6,400 m2 – is in the Legazpi neighbourhood and has been granted a special plan, approved by Madrid’s Local Council, to build a 20-storey tower block. The other two plots are located in Gexto and Urduliz.
Meanwhile, the cooperative manager Ibosa is finalising an agreement with an investment fund, which will allow it to pay €70 million to buy 40,000 m2 of land from the Valdebebas Compensation Board, which will allow the construction of 1,000 homes (of which 100 will be social housing).
Nevertheless, the largest land-related deal in Madrid is undoubtedly the possible future auction – maybe after the summer – of the Ministry of Finance’s plot of land on Calle Padre Damián, which already has 4,000 individuals calling at its door.
Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)
Translation: Carmel Drake