30 April 2017 – El Confidencial
Neinor is the new kid on the block. Cataluña has traditionally been a territory reserved for local, family-owned property developers. However, the crisis of 2009 left a large gap in the market: it swept aside groups such as Promociones Habitat (Figueras) and Espais. And it reduced companies such as Vertix to their knees. Only Núñez i Navarro and, to a lesser extent, La Llave de Oró (Marsá) were able to resist the onslaught. But now, Neinor has arrived. And it not only occupies the podium, its property developments and investments to date already make it the largest property developer in Cataluña. (…).
Neinor has 28 plots of land in Cataluña and has already started construction work on 17 of them, with a corresponding investment of €400 million. These figures place it way ahead of all of the local developers. Sources in the real estate sector indicate that Neinor plans to construct more than 400 homes per year in Cataluña. No other developer will even come close to that pace. Nor did Núñez i Navarro, ever, even at the height of its reign.
Neinor Homes debuted on the stock market in March, with plans to grow a purely residential property development business – a very different initiative from the proposals made by the Socimis. The stock market listing has created a group worth more than €1,300 million, in which the major shareholder is the fund Lone Star, with a 39.5% stake. Moreover, other international funds such as Fidelity, FMR and Invesco have stakes ranging between 3% and 5%. Anglo-Saxon capitalism pure and simple, the complete opposite of the approach adopted by the traditional Catalan property developers, which were always wary of the stock market and its pitfalls.
Now, Neinor forecasts that Cataluña will account for a quarter of its property development activity in Spain. When the 28 developments are underway, Neinor will be building 1,951 units in total in the Catalan market alone.
Of the 880 units up for sale, 668 homes have already been purchased off-plan. In practice, that represents 76% of the total, a very high percentage for the sector, which demonstrates the buyer pressure at a time when demand is a lot higher than supply in Cataluña. According to Tinsa, new house prices rose by 8.2% in the Catalan market during 2016.
Barcelona – unfinished business
Despite this start, the city of Barcelona, with its endemic shortage of land, represents Neinor’s unfinished business. The firm has just one development in the Catalan capital, almost all of which has been sold and completed. (…).
Nevertheless, Neinor is trying to consolidate its position in the city and is currently evaluating several purchases, according to sources at the company.
Given its lack of presence in Barcelona, Neinor is pushing ahead with projects in nearby cities such as Sitges and Sant Cugat. Its most important project is in Plaza Europa, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Cataluña’s second largest city), where it is planning to build two blocks of flats. Like in the case of its other developments, one of those towers has already been sold off-plan.
Neinor is also planning to build second homes in Cataluña, like it is already doing in other markets, such as in Málaga. Nevertheless, it wants to limit those projects to 20% of the total volume that it builds in the Catalan market. (…).
Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos Lamelas)
Translation: Carmel Drake