20 April 2015 – Expansión
Q1 2015 / Major international investors and Socimis purchased more non-residential property in Spain during the first quarter of 2015 than during the whole of 2012.
The investor frenzy that began in the Spanish real estate sector at the end of 2013 and intensified last year is on track to smash all historic records (this year), including the peak levels of the boom years. Between January and March, large international funds, companies from Spain and the rest of Europe and new listed real estate real estate investment companies (Socimis) made purchases worth €2,463 million, according to the consultancy firm C&W, i.e. three times the volume recorded during the same period last year.
This figure exceeds the total volume of investment made during 2012 in its entirety, when the global crisis really hit the Spanish real estate sector and only €2,087 million was invested in the market, according to Deloitte Real Estate. Having been boosted by domestic and international purchasers who spent more than €8,500 million in 2014, the start of this year reflects a “unique” time in the sector for various reasons, according to market experts.
On the one hand, the Spanish economy is recovering well, which is resulting in higher consumption and more recruitment, which is in turn influencing commercial and office buildings.
On the other hand, the decrease in prices, of up to 40% in the case of assets, has meant that many opportunities exist in terms of price in the Spanish market, in contrast to what is happening in other European countries. “The low profitability of fixed income assets has turned real estate into an important sector in terms of investment portfolios. Furthermore, prices are stabilising, access to credit is opening up and the economy is growing”, say sources at Aguirre Newman. The confluence of these elements has led all of the players in the real estate sector to show their support Spain: from the most opportunistic funds seeking properties with significant discounts to more institutional investors, such as sovereign and pension funds, and including Spanish and foreign real estate companies.
Battle for assets
All of this has led to a real war for the best assets (known in real estate jargon as trophy buildings), which means that this year looks set to be a record year in terms of purchases. “We expect to see great figures in 2015, approaching €7,000 million in terms of direct non-residential investment”, explain sources at JLL España.
“If the level of interest in Spanish real estate assets from major global investors continues for the rest of the year, then we could see historic record figures in 2015, even higher than the peak recorded in 2007, when transactions with a total value exceeding €12,000 million were closed”, add C&W.
Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake