RE Experts: Spain’s RE Sector Is Back In Fashion

22 October 2015 – Cinco Días

A wave of optimism is in the air at the Barcelona Meeting Point trade fair.

Senior executives from Colonial, Merlin Properties and Grupo Lar appeared optimistic on Wednesday, regarding the growth of the real estate sector in Spain, based on the comments they made during a session entitled ‘Spain: Back in fashion’ at the real estate trade fair Barcelona Meeting Point (BMP), which is being held until Sunday at the Montjuïc de Fira centre in Barcelona.

The President of Grupo Lar, Luis Pereda and the founding partner of Merlin Properties, Ismael Clemente, were in agreement that prices in Spain are starting to increase, but that they are still below the levels seen in other European countries, which is attracting international investors.

The CEO of Colonial, Pere Viñolas, spoke about the “positive outlook” for an increase in yields associated with these price increases, although he qualified this by saying that the results of the operations that we are now beginning to see will not have an impact on income statements until 2016.

Pereda said that the decrease in rental prices in Spain has been more marked than in other countries, but that the recovery will be too, because rental contracts are shorter term here (around three or four years).

Clemente confirmed that Spain is now in a very promising phase of the real estate cycle. “We have five to seven strong years ahead of us”, although there will be risks, such as the evolution of world (economic) growth and political influences. (…).

During the event to open the trade fair, which this year brings together 280 companies from fifteen countries and almost 40 international investment funds, the Secretary of State for the Economy, Álvaro Nadal, warned that “political uncertainty” may scare off investors from Spain. (…).

With just two months to go until the general election and with the Catalan sovereign debate still raging, the Government’s representative for the Economy said that, if we can guarantee that the improvement in competitiveness, economic growth, creation of employment and consolidation of the public accounts are all going to continue in Spain “without any disruptions” then we “will be reasonably certain that investors” will continue to support the country.

By contrast, added Nadal, “if the future looks like it holds other things, then they are less likely to want to invest”.

That was the message that Nadal wanted to send to the business people in the real estate sector, who are convinced that, for the time being at least, the political tension is not affecting business and that national and international investors are clear in their desire to back Spanish real estate.

“In Barcelona, half of our buyers are from overseas and we have not detected even the slightest interest from them in political matters. It seems that people are either certain that nothing is going to happen or that whatever happens, it will not impact their investment”, explained the CEO of the Catalan property developer Vertix, Elena Massot. (…).

Other participants of BMP also agreed that the expansion of the sector is now a reality, after several years of severe crisis, but that the recovery is going to be slow and uneven. (…).

This recovery will be more intense in the major capitals, where the prices of some properties have already started to rise, but it could still take a while to reach areas where there is less demand, which means a Spanish real estate market that is moving at “two speeds”.

The Property Developers’ Association of Barcelona (APCE) estimates that construction will begin on between 6,000 and 6,500 new homes in Cataluña in 2015. That figure is notably higher than those recorded seen in recent years, but it is still a long way off the data for 2006.

The turning point happened in 2013, when construction began on just 3,036 homes across the whole autonomous region. In 2006, the peak year for construction, construction began on a whopping 126,000 homes. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake