Political Uncertainty In Cataluña Scares Off Investors

17 September 2015 – Expansión

The political uncertainty (in Cataluña) is deterring large real estate investors. “It is not because they are left wing or right wing”, but rather because “they need to know what to expect”, and in the meantime they are having to wait and see (which is not good). Those were the views of Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, Project Director at the consultancy RR de Acuña y Asociados.

The major international funds are waiting for the general election and are therefore postponing their operations. “The capital is waiting for the results (of the general election) because a political change would cause them to delay their investments”, added Rodríguez de Acuña.

The change in government at the Town Halls in Madrid and Barcelona, following the 24 May elections, has already generated considerable fear amongst the large investment firms. However, this slowdown is being felt mainly in the non-residential real estate market, since the housing sector is enjoying a bullish period in the large capital cities.

In Barcelona, the uncertainty surrounding Catalunya’s sovereign process and Ada Colau’s hotel moratorium have generated the perfect storm to scare away investors from the hotel sector. The founding partners of the consultancy Magma HC, Albert Grau and Bruno Hallé, said that “hotel investments have come to a complete standstill” and they acknowledge that some projects “have already been diverted to other destinations”. Hallé specified that “they are not only worried about the lack of legal certainty”, in the case of the Barcelona market, they are also concerned by the uncertainty about “whether we will continue to remain in the euro or not”.

Yesterday, at a debate organised by Magma HC, the Head of Innovat Hoteles, Ignasi Uñó, acknowledged that his chain had been affected by Colau’s moratorium; he also said that it had been “impossible” for them to make contact with the Town Hall. Two days ago, the Head of the Mobile World Conference (MWC), John Hoffman, asked hoteliers in Barcelona whether the moratorium risked leaving the mobile telephone conference, which gets bigger each year, without enough beds.

And in Madrid? “A handful of funds have decided to retreat, but right now there is a considerable degree of calm in Madrid”, explains Carlos Smerdou, CEO of Foro Consultores.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés and Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake