15 June 2016 – El Mundo
The Chairman of Sareb estimates that the company sold 25 real estate assets per day during the first half of 2016, a pace that he considers “normal”, albeit below the historical average of 27 properties per day for the last 3years, since the so-called bad bank was created.
“At Sareb, we are constantly pedalling hard. We can’t stop”, said Jaime Echegoyen, who also pointed out that the company has debt to pay off. In this regard, he estimated that Sareb has already paid €3,100 million in interest.
He also admitted that the banks’ efforts to clean up their balance sheets by selling off real estate assets is affecting Sareb’s rate of property sales, due to increased competition. Nevertheless, he said that Sareb will benefit from the trump card in that it has on its side, namely, time.
“Sareb is not in any rush (to sell)”, he said at a summer course organised by the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP) and the Asociación de Periodistas de Información Económica (APIE).
No plans to demolish any properties
The Chairman of Sareb reaffirmed an earlier prediction that the company will stop losing money in 2017 and he confirmed that the bad bank does not expect to undertake any demolitions, despite the fact that some of the assets on Sareb’s balance sheet may take years to sell or “may never be sold”. “Would it be better to knock them down than hold onto them? Perhaps, at first”, he reflected, before adding: “But we are not thinking about demolition, because you need money for that”.
Echegoyen stated that the revenues that the bad bank is generating are mostly being used to pay off debt. In a summary of Sareb’s first three years of life, Echegoyen said that the company has sold 35,200 properties and generated revenues of €12,800 million. In addition, the so-called bad bank has reduced its portfolio by €7,800 million and has repaid €7,700 million (of debt).
On the other hand, Echegoyen stated that the real estate sector “has woken up with clarity” and is enjoying a really “sweet moment”, judging by the recovery in the number of construction permits for new homes and the “stability” that demand for real estate is showing.
Homes as a haven
The Chairman of Sareb emphasised that the improvements in real estate indicators have not only been observed in the large (regional) capital cities; and he pointed out that, at a time of significant volatility on the stock market, properties represent a haven for “Spaniards”.
Finally, the Chairman highlighted the change that is happening in terms of the (property) investment (market), from sale to rental, which is leading to an increase in prices in that segment.
Original story: El Mundo
Translation: Carmel Drake