Spain’s Largest Banks Compete to Grant Property Developer Loans in Benidorm & Dénia

26 November 2017 – El Confidencial

The appearance of new housing developments in areas of high demand, as well as those targeting a premium public, has opened a battle between the large Spanish banks to position themselves as lenders once again. CaixaBank, Santander, Sabadell and BBVA have gone from recoiling at the mere sight of real estate projects unrelated to their own portfolios and stocks, to fighting it out with each other to grant loans to private property developers for certain initiatives linked to luxury and super-luxury projects.

That is what El Confidencial has been able to confirm with financial sources from two of the most powerful property developers that have fired the starting gun on the Alicante Costa Blanca, namely, the Delfin Tower in Benidorm and Amare in Dénia. The former is a 22-storey luxury skyscraper, measuring 100 m tall, on one of a handful of beachfront plots in the well-known mecca of Spanish tourism. It boasts location, high quality, architectural design and environmental sustainability. So much so that the prices of its apartments range from €700,000 to €1.56 million.

The money to carry out this project will not come from international entities or investors. CaixaBank, Sabadell and BBVA have taken a step forward and entered the final round in the process to negotiate the financing. The process is being led by independent consultants and the entity led by Jordi Gual (CaixaBank) is leading the race in an operation that will exceed €30 million.

The same level of competition, or more, and with the same players, has happened in the case of the Amare development in Dénia. The real estate project is backed by a company called AB Living, owned by the founder of SHA Wellness Clinic, Alfredo Bataller (…).

The businessman, originally from Argentina, who has lived in Altea since 1989, is known together with his wife, Graciela Pineda, for his hotel activity, but he has also launched himself into luxury real estate development. He manages properties on the Costa Blanca, is building an events space in the heart of Madrid’s Salamanca neighbourhood (SHA Loft) and has just put on the market the largest luxury beachfront development in Dénia, where very few free undeveloped plots remain. The residential project comprises 68 homes with terraces, infinity pools and more than 5,000 m2 of gardens, plus swimming pools, a children’s club, gym and events room. Prices per apartment range between €350,000 and €500,000.

Bateller purchased the plot several years ago. The project is being marketed by Olivares Consultores and has already been granted the corresponding licences by the Town Hall of Dénia, and so the construction work could start shortly. With almost 30% of the properties reserved, AB Living has started negotiations to obtain the bank financing it needs to carry out the construction work. And it has no shortage of offers. According to market sources, CaixaBank, Santander, Sabadell and Bankinter have all entered the bidding and are fighting to grant Amare’s property developer loan. That operation will amount to around €25 million.

According to sources in the sector, the premium nature of these kinds of developments allows them to demand additional guarantees from their buyers in the pre-sales contracts (…). And with those conditions, the financial entities are drooling over the prospect of becoming the lender to enable the execution of the building work. Moreover, their loans may subsequently be subrogated to the individual homeowners, normally wealthy people and families, who automatically become clients (…). The bank financing will cover around 60%-70% of the cost of the building work. The property developer contributes its own funds and the pre-sales contracts.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Víctor Romero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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