JLL: Real Estate Investment Rose by 45% in 2017 to €14bn

11 January 2018 – El País

The volume of real estate investment in Spain broke records once again in 2017, closing the year at €13.989 billion, up by 45% compared to 2016, according to data from the international real estate consultancy JLL. And investors were not averse to any of the market segments, although two really stood out in 2017. On the one hand, the retail sector (stores and shopping centres), which saw investment of €3.909 billion, up by 31% compared to 2016 – that represents a historical figure thanks to the 35 operations that were closed during the year. And on the other hand, investment in hotels, which increased by 75% with respect to 2016.

Not even the political crisis in Cataluña deterred hotel investment from beating its own record by the end of 2017, with investment of €3.907 billion, representing an increase of 79% with respect to 2016 and comfortably exceeding the historical record set in 2015, when investment amounted to €2.614 billion, according to the study of this market conducted by the consultancy firm Irea. And that despite the slowdown in Cataluña, where no transactions have been closed since the referendum was held on 1 October. Nevertheless, “the impact of the uncertainty in Cataluña will make it hard for the investment data seen in 2017 to be repeated”, says Miguel Vázquez, Partner in the firm’s Hotels division.

For the time being, the incessant arrival of tourists in Spain (the country welcomed more than 82 million foreign visitors in 2017, almost 10% more than in 2016) is continuing to spark investor interest. In fact, in 2017, investment in holiday hotels comfortably exceeded financing in the urban segment (69% vs 31%), rebalancing the trend seen in 2014 and 2015.

Moreover, destinations that had remained quiet following the crisis were revived. Málaga rejoined the list of investors’ preferred destinations, accounting for 15% of total investment with 18 transactions amounting to €516 million. The Canary Islands retained its position as the favourite investment destination, accounting for €939 million of investment, representing 27% of the total volume. Madrid was the main destination for urban investment once again, with €637 million (including existing hotels and the acquisition of properties to convert them into hotels), ahead of Barcelona, which recorded €422 million.

Last year in Spain, 182 hotels were sold, containing 28,813 rooms, compared with 147 hotels and 21,646 rooms in 2016. That represented an increase not only in terms of the number of assets but also in the average price paid per room, which amounted to around €119,000, approximately 30% higher than the average price paid in 2016. In 2017, conversion projects and transactions involving land for the construction of hotels recorded a combined investment volume of €478 million, representing an increase of 139.8% compared to 2016, according to Vázquez.

Offices and residential assets

Offices were the third favourite assets for investors, accounting for investment worth €2.210 billion. Nevertheless, it was the only segment that recorded a decrease in absolute terms with respect to the prior year, with investment in this asset class falling by 20%. That reduction was driven by data in Madrid, given that investment in the Spanish capital fell by 38% with respect to the previous year – €1.374 billion – whilst in Barcelona, the investment volume amounted to €835 million, equivalent to an increase of 60%. Nevertheless, according to Borja Ortega, Director of Capital Markets at JLL, “that decrease was not due to a decline in investor interest, but rather a lack of product on the market and the fact that the previous two years saw record-breaking figures”.

Investment in land also stands out, since it amounted to a record volume of €109 million in Barcelona and €193 million in Madrid; moreover, that trend is expected to continue in 2018.

But it was investment in the residential sector – the purchase of entire buildings and land – that really soared in 2017. It amounted to €2.082 billion, which represented an increase of 160% with respect to the €802 million recorded in 2016. In Cataluña, residential investment amounted to 145% to reach €444 million.

Original story: El País (by S. L. L.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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