1 March 2018 – Expansión
The residential sector is on a roll. After years of significant declines in property development activity in Spain, the housing industry recorded its best year since the crisis in 2017, with a total of 500,000 transactions, of which almost 85,000 involved new homes, although the evolution of house sales is still light years away from the levels seen in 2007.
In this context, prices also recovered, recording an increase of 6.6% between 2014 and the third quarter of 2017, albeit with significant differences by province. This recovery in prices came after a cumulative decrease of 27.3% between 2008 and 2014, according to data reflected by Deloitte in its report The Residential Development Handbook. According to that analysis, there are currently 2,150 developments underway, with 114,000 homes being built. Of the total new developments, almost 80% are located in just 10 provinces.
This recovery is happening in the context of a favourable macroeconomic evolution with GDP growth of 3.1% in 2017, a reduction in unemployment and a favourable demographic makeup: Spain has 21 million citizens aged between 25 and 55 years, who may become potential buyers.
Moreover, financing is working in favour of house sales as the banks have opened the credit tap once again, although with greater demands on borrowers and more rigorous controls.
Alberto Valls, Partner responsible for Real Estate at Deloitte, explains that there is “growing unmet demand, which extends beyond the 10 main provinces”. In this sense, sources at the Deloitte have identified 272 hotspots where both demand and prices are growing, unemployment is decreasing and the market dynamics are favourable. “One third of those hotspots are not being covered by any property developers”, explains Gonzalo Gallego, Partner at Deloitte in the Financial Advisory Real Estate team.
These hotspots are located in 158 areas of the country. Specifically, Madrid and Barcelona account for more than 35% of them. In this context, funds such as Castlelake, Cerberus, Blackstone and Värde saw an opportunity in the wake of the recovery and have set up shop in the country. Others, such as Lone Star, have already completed their cycles, and with the sale of its entire stake in Neinor, which has been listed for less than a year, has collected its gains.
For Valls, the Spanish market continues to offer opportunities for investors to create value. “They are continuing to invest through alternative structures: alliances in projects, purchases of property developers and development of platforms for their subsequent debuts on the stock market”, he says.
The Partner responsible for Real Estate at Deloitte also recalls that, despite the creation of new players, the residential market in Spain is “highly fragmented”. And he predicts: “The market for real estate property developers is going to become more concentrated”.
Specifically, the five largest property developers in Spain account for just 6% of the market in terms of units handed over and 12% of the units under development. If we compare those figures with other more mature markets, the Top 5 British property developers account for 39% of the total units handed over, whilst the top five French developers account for 42%, according to data from Deloitte.
Large listed companies
Placing the focus on the large listed property developers, Metrovacesa, Aedas and Neinor, which have a combined stock market capitalisation of €5.2 billion, together, they own a portfolio of land with capacity for the development of 61,500 homes. Their French counterparts Nexity and Kaufman Broad, which have a combined market value of €3.3 billion, own land for the development of 72,100 homes. Meanwhile, the eight largest property developers in the UK, including Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt, which have a combined market capitalisation of €37 billion, have potential land for around 300,000 homes.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake