Barcino Acquires c. 20 Assets in Barcelona for €2.15M

16 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The Socimis are continuing to party in Spain. Although the experts said that 2018 would be a year for portfolio management, the fact is that many of these companies are continuing to add new assets to their portfolios. The latest is Barcino Properties, which is continuing to specialise in the residential sector with the purchase of a package of 20 assets in Barcelona for more than €2 million, according to a statement issued by the group.

Barcino, which signed the purchased deed on 14 May, has acquired the property at number 18 Calle Olivera for €2.15 million. The asset comprises two commercial premises and 14 homes, and the current occupancy rate stands at 79%. To finance this purchase, the company has signed a mortgage loan with Bankinter for €1 million.

The Socimi debuted on the MAB last December with a share price of €1.33 and a market value of €19.1 million. Specialising in real estate investment and management, the Catalan entity has eight properties in its portfolio, all of which are located in the Barcelona metropolitan area. Most of its assets are rental homes, although it also owns some office buildings and commercial premises. Currently, the Socimi is controlled by Barcino Management (50.01%) and managed by a related party company Vistalegre Property Management.

The company’s most recent purchases include a residential building in Barcelona, which it bought just 48 hours after making its stock market debut. In that case, the company executed a €1.2 million purchase option that it had signed over the property, located at number 92 Calle Girona, after paying €493,000 euros in November for the rights to acquire the asset.

That building contains two commercial premises and seven homes in total, all of which are currently occupied. For the operation, the company made use of its own available funds, without having to resort to additional leverage.

Created in 2015 

Barcino defines itself as a company whose main activity is the “acquisition and renovation of urban assets for their subsequent rental”. The company primarily invests in central locations in the Barcelona metropolitan area. In terms of the characteristics of its desirable assets, the company must be able to purchase the entire building and subject it to a comprehensive renovation.

The group was constituted in January 2015 and since February 2016 it has been registered as a Socimi. The company is chaired by Mateu Turró, who is also an honorary director of the European Investment Bank (EIB), where he worked from 1988 until 2009 (…).

Turró is accompanied in the management of Barcino by Francesc Ventura, an architect who has held roles as director and secretary of the management board and executive committee of APCE (Association of Property Developers of Barcelona) and as CEO of La Caixa de Pensions de Barcelona.

Moreover, the company is also led by Ralph Weichelt, Investment Director at Triple Point Social Housing, a public company listed on the main London Stock Exchange, which operates in the social housing sector in the United Kingdom. The executive has also served as the director of several companies including BNP Paribas Real Estate and JLL.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The RE Kings Are Building Thousands Of Homes In Spain

18 September 2017 – El País

The house building sector in Spain is back after a decade adrift during which many of the large firms went to the wall (…).

But the same crisis (that harmed so many) has also given rise to a new, more institutionalised house building sector, which claims to have learnt from the mistakes of its predecessors (…).

In this new industry, there are some familiar faces, such as Realia, Quabit, Amenabar, Pryconsa, Ferrocarril, and ACR, amongst others (…). But the market now is dominated by new firms. They are the new generation of property developers, or rather, they are real estate giants, and their names include Neinor Homes, Vía Célere, Aelca, Aedas Homes and Kronos, poised to ride the new wave in the residential sector. Ahead, they face some major challenges, such as facilitating housing for young people, cutting costs, the industrialisation of the sector, putting clients first to avoid the errors of the past, and improving the image of the sector by being intolerant to all forms of corruption.

At the helm of these giants are overseas investment funds, which have chosen to back the Spanish residential market, with the economic cycle in full swing – new build permits rose by 29% in 2016. These foreign players are investing thousands of millions of euros in the purchase of large portfolios of land, at still low prices, in strategic locations and they are benefitting from low construction costs, at least for the time being. In this way, the funds have engaged managers with extensive experience in the traditional property developers to lead these firms, such as Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado (Vía Célere) and David Martínez (Aedas Homes), amongst others (…).

The firms themselves talk about reaching a cruising speed of between 3,000 and 4,000 new homes per year (per firm) over the next three years (…). The largest 50 property developers and managers by volume of homes sold (based on completions due from 2018) “plan to build around 45,000 homes over the next three years”, according to Raúl Templado, at Alimarket Construcción. This figure is low if we consider that various trade associations, such as APCE and CEOE, calculate that Spain needs 150,000 new homes per year to ensure a healthy residential market.

That is why international funds are so interested in doing business in a sector that, despite its sharp decline – the number of housing permits represents less than 10% of the level in 2007 – “continues to carry significant weight: 15% of domestic GDP” (…).

Foreign capital

The arrival of foreign funds, such as Värde Partners, Lone Star and Castlelake, has been like a breath of fresh air. “They have provided strategic vision and they made the decision to invest when we were still in a bearish cycle, identifying opportunities and giving credibility to a sector that was and still is attractive for investment, when nobody else was interested. On the other hand, their way of working with a more financial vision has resulted in structural and organisational changes that before were not considered”, says Gómez-Pintado (…).

The result is a sector in full transformation, where movements are happening non-stop, and so it is hard to know who is leading the market. The Institute of Governance and Applied Economics, an independent research centre, calculates that the largest 20 property developers in the country will build 80,000 homes between now and 2020. Their ranking is led by Metrovacesa, Neinor Homes and Aedas Homes, although family groups, local businesses and cooperative managers also feature (…).

Original story: El País (by Sandra López Letón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Property Developers Expect The Housing Sector To Normalise By 2019

31 August 2017 – El Mundo

Spain’s real estate developers estimate that this year will close with the construction of around 85,000 new homes and that the “normalisation” of the sector will happen at the beginning of 2019, when new home output will cover demand (between 120,000 and 130,000 units).

That is according to the General Secretary of the Spanish Association of Property Developers (APCE), Daniel Cuervo, who said that the data regarding the evolution of the real estate market is “reasonable” and in line with expectations, both in terms of transactions and prices.

According to the latest statistics from the College of Registrars, house prices in Spain rose by 4.4% during the second quarter of 2017 and 119,408 transactions were recorded (up by 10.7%). In a statement to Servimedia, Cuervo explained that this evolution is “what was expected”, and he added that 2017 would close with 500,000 house sales, mainly (between 80% and 85%) second-hand homes.

Although the weight of new build homes is lower than that of second-hand homes, the General Secretary of the APCE said that the evolution in terms of new builds is “positive” and that production will grow by around 15,000 properties this year, up from just over 60,000 in 2016 to around 85,000 in 2017.

In any case, Cuervo said that there is still a gap with respect to demand, given that the planned creation of new homes, estimated to amount to between 120,000 and 130,000 per year, exceeds production. Therefore, “there is still scope to continue building”.

The real estate world “has learnt its lesson”

The General Secretary of the trade association believes that the “normalisation” of the market, with similar levels of supply and demand, will be reached within two years, by the beginning of 2019.

Cuervo highlighted the need to achieve and maintain a “reasonable” output of housing, understood as a “sustainable” increase that may be “assumed” by demand and that “goes hand in hand with the growth in people’s wealth”.

In this sense, he says that the sector “has learnt its lesson” and is not planning to build homes that it cannot sell, and that the industry has to adjust to demand to “avoid generating stock that nobody wants”.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

House Prices Forecast To Rise By 5% In 2017

6 June 2017 – Expansión

Growth / The sharp fall in house prices during the crisis years, combined with the pent-up demand, the reactivation of mortgage lending and the recovery of the Spanish economy means that property developers, appraisal companies, real estate companies, funds and consultants alike are all predicting fresh rises in house prices this year. Nevertheless, the professionals stress that the growth in prices will vary by area, with Madrid and Barcelona leading the recovery.

In 2016, house prices rose by 4.7% in Spain on average, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). That growth rate was the highest since the burst of the real estate bubble, a decade ago. And the experts believe that that figure will not only be repeated in 2017, it will actually be bettered. “According to CBRE’s Trend Barometer which reflects the views of the 100 most senior directors in the real estate sector, one out of every two surveyed believe that house prices will grow by between 3% and 6% in 2017 at the national level, whereas only 21% shared that optimism in 2016. It is the first time since the start of the crisis that the experts are forecasting a general rise in house prices in Spain”, explained Adolfo Ramírez Escudero, President, CBRE Spain. (…).

According to the majority of the experts, the increase will amount to around 5% this year…(…).

Although all of the experts are optimistic about the overall trend in prices, several are quick to point out that this increase will vary by region. “The recovery in prices is proving selective and heterogeneous. Although prices are soaring in certain places, they have still not bottomed out in other markets”, said Pedro Soria, at Tinsa.

“Salaries have not risen to a level that makes us think that prices are going to soar, although there are some exceptions in specific areas of the large regional capitals where we have detected strong demand”, said David Martínez, CEO at Aedas Homes.

By area, Madrid and Barcelona account for the best forecasts in terms of price rises. (…).

Similarly, in addition to the two major cities, the positive outlook is starting to spread to new areas. “Prices are on the rise primarily in the major capitals and on the islands”, said Sandra Daza, at Gesvalt.

The improvements in the macroeconomic variables mean that the good feelings about the housing market this year are also expected to have an impact over the coming years. “House prices are going to continue to rise over the next few years. This year, we expect to see an average rise of around 5%, but the shortage of buildable land in those areas where demand exists means that we can expect to see higher rates of growth in the future”, said Javier de Oro, at Aliseda, the real estate arm of Banco Popular.

In this sense, and despite the price rises that have been seen in recent quarters, the experts point out that we are still a long way from the figures seen before the burst of the bubble. “We are entering a period of growth, which may last three or four years. It is true that there are cycles, but I don’t think that we’ll ever see the price decreases of the past again”, said Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, President of the property developer Vía Célere and of the sector organisations Asprima and APCE. (…).

Whilst in the case of new homes, the upward trend in prices seems clear, in the case of second-hand properties, a recovery is also being seen but at a slower pace. “So far this year, our real estate index has been registering very slight YoY decreases, of just a few tenths of a percentage point, which shows us that second-hand house prices in Spain are stabilising”, said Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Núñez i Navarro Invests €45M To Build 166 New Homes

3 May 2017 – Expansión

Núñez I Navarro (NiN) has started its largest real estate development since before the crisis. The development in question is known as the Nou Can Gambús urbanisation, close to Sabadell (Barcelona), and its first phase has a surface area of 23,336 m2. The company is planning to construct 66 family homes and four residential blocks containing 100 flats in total.

During this first phase, the company will spend €45 million, excluding the price of the plots of land. The company, which is owned by the family of FC Barcelona’s former president, Josep Lluís Núñez, acquired the estate years ago in a deal completed in equal part with Anova. During the recession, the property developer took ownership of 100% of the site.

Several months ago, NiN completed the construction of the first row of homes, comprising eight houses, and it has already agreed their sale or rental. Now, NiN has started to build the second row of houses, comprising 16 units in total. The deadline for their completion is the second quarter 2018. The property developer expects to begin construction of the first two residential blocks around that date.

Low level of debt

NiN is one of the largest Catalan property developers and also one of the entities that is best avoiding the economic crisis thanks to its very restrictive indebtedness policy, with debt amounting to zero in the case of some of its developments. The property developer has strengthened its refurbishment business, although it has not stopped building at any time.

The main business of the family company is the real estate sector, comprising homes, commercial premises, warehouses and offices. Its area of influence is Barcelona, although its presence extends across the whole of Cataluña. It also has some parking and hotel businesses.

The market for new homes in the autonomous region is recovering, although more slowly than the sector had expected. The Association of Property Developers of Cataluña (APCE) states that last year construction of 8,313 homes was started. That figure represents a 34% increase compared to 2015 but is 18% lower than the 10,000 new homes that were planned.

Original story: Expansión (Gabriel Trindade)

Translation: Carmel Drake

APCE: We May Have To Demolish Some Of The Pre-Crisis New Home Stock

7 December 2016 – El Economista

Some of the stock of new homes that were left unsold when the real estate bubble burst and the crisis began in 2008 will have to be demolished, given that they cannot be absorbed into the market, as they do not fulfil the criteria that house buyers now look for.

That is according to the President of the Property Developers’ Association, APCE, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, who, nevertheless, thinks that the market may still be able to take on some of that housing stock.

“Some of the stock may be absorbed, but in other cases, properties will have to be demolished because people prefer new developments, with environmental features, that are constructed with other materials and that are planned in a different way to how things were done ten years ago”, said the President of the Property Developers’ Association.

According to Gómez-Pintado, the stock is being sold in “certain geographic regions, but not in others” and he claims that the situation in terms of housing developments “was planned by bodies who should not be involved in planning, namely,  Town Halls”.

“Autonomous regions should be the ones to plan where and how they want to grow their cities and towns”, said the President of the APCE  in an interview with the College of Registrars.

According to data from Servihabitat, by the end of 2016, the stock of unsold homes left over from the beginning of the crisis will amount to around 388,000 homes, however that figure will decrease by 20% in 2017, to 315,000 units. (…).

Analysis performed by the company shows considerable variations in the distribution of these left over homes across the different regions in Spain, in such a way that there is hardly any stock left in Madrid, whereas in the Community of Valenca, there are 228 unsold new homes for every 10,000 inhabitants.

“A before and after” in the sector

During the interview, the President of the APCE highlighted the “before and after” experienced by the construction sector and house sales, which account for 6% of domestic GDP, as a result of the crisis. “The sector is trying to do this differently to how it did it in the past. The practices of the past were not widespread, but they no longer play any role at all”, he said.

Nevertheless, Gómez-Pintado considers that Spain’s real estate companies are still facing three challenges: to grow in size; to introduce changes in terms of construction; and to become more environmentally aware and energy efficient.

In terms of the evolution of the market, the main aim is for young people to be able to afford to buy their first home, given that, currently, the sector “nourishes” the so-called “demand to reposition” from those people who bought a home fifteen or twenty years ago and are now looking to upsize.

In terms of their relationship with the Public Administration, the Property Developers’ Association has just one request – a “stable legal and fiscal framework”. “We do not want PIVE plans, subsidies or aid, we just want legal certainty – clear, concise and transparent rules for everyone”, said the President of the APCE, who drew comparisons with the automobile sector to illustrate his point.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Accounts For 70% Of All New Housing Permits

10 October 2016 – Inmodiario

The Community of Madrid has been boasting to property developers that it represents the real driver of the growth currently being seen in the real estate sector in Spain.

In this way, at the opening of the National Real Estate Conference, the Director of Transport, Housing and Infrastructure, Pedro Rollán, commented on the statistics and highlighted that licences for new residential construction projects in the region increased by 66% during the first five months of 2016, well above the national average increase of 27%.

During his presentation at the conference, organised by the Association of Property Developers and Construction Companies in Spain (APCE), under the title “From recovery to innovation”, Rollán commented that real estate is a strategic sector, whose contribution to GDP is essential for economic growth.

And, to this end, he stated that the sector’s reactivation is necessary to consolidate and strengthen the (overall) recovery. He emphasised the importance of the need to continue working and adapting the (RE) sector to new times, and of innovating to achieve the most accessible, comfortable and least contaminated spaces.

In this sense, the regional Government is managing aid, which will serve to encourage the renovation of homes and the regeneration and refurbishment of urban spaces, thanks to the agreement signed with the Ministry of Development under the framework of the State Housing Plan.

Thus, this year, €14.4 million will be allocated to subsidies for building renovations and €29.8 million will be spent on aid for urban regeneration and renovation.

In the same way, the regional Government is working to create a Single Integrated Assessment Report Register for buildings in the Community of Madrid, which will contain all of the assessment reports relating to more than 40,000 buildings per year.

This register will enable the data obtained to be used to identify weaknesses and deficiencies in the building stock and will help to improve their quality and sustainability, as well as to obtain extensive information to allow policies to be directed appropriately in terms of architecture and housing. All types of buildings may be registered, regardless of their purpose (use) along with the mandatory registration of all buildings that are more than 30 years old.

Moreover, assessments of the degree of conservation of buildings (ITE) are going to be unified into a single document to ensure the safety of all of the buildings in the region; their basic conditions in terms of universal access, to encourage reasonable modifications in this regard; and energy efficiency certifications (CEE) to help achieve the commitment made in terms of energy savings and building sustainability.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gómez-Pintado: House Building Up By 15% In 2016

6 October 2016 – Expansión

Yesterday, the Chairman of the property developers association APCE, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, opened the association’s National Conference with moderate optimism. “We have not recovered completely”, he said, but he highlighted that his forecasts point to “a 15% increase in house construction” in 2016, “with signs of continued increases in 2017 and 2018”.

Gómez-Pintado highlighted that the major problem in the sector is the large latent demand for housing from young people who find themselves dissatisfied. For this reason, he asked the public administrations “to address” this debate. We need “stability regardless of whoever is in Government”, he said. He also urged property developers to “reduce production costs by focusing on innovation”.

“We face a significant challenge, to facilitate access to housing for young people (…). If not, the current improvement will be a new mirage”, added the Chairman of the association of property developers.

The Secretary of State for Finance, Miguel Ferre, did not take the hint and refused to discuss the possibility of any incentive plans for the sector. In his opinion, the fact that VAT has not been increased for property renovations and that a very favourable fiscal framework has been created for the Socimis are “measures that already carry weight” in the residential sector.

Ferre highlighted that the Socimis – listed real estate investment vehicles – already hold more than €9,300 million in assets and have a stock market value of more than €5,000 million. “It is one of the things that this minister is most proud of”, he said, referring to Cristóbal Montoro, who he stood in for at the conference. There are currently 30 Socimis in Spain, and 25 of them are listed on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB).

On the other hand, Ferre emphasised that, thanks to the fact that work to repair and renovate homes still carries a reduced VAT levy, of 10%, means that “the turnover of repair and renovation companies has increased by 13%”. The European Commission has mobilised €4,200 million of investment for potential low-carbon economy projects and “those funds should be redirected to building sustainability”, he added. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Demand For Off-Plan Homes Returns As Stock Runs Out

6 June 2016 – El Economista

The purchase of off-plan homes has returned to the stage after years of lethargy, driven by: the absorption of residential stock in many areas of Spain; the need for new homes; the improvement in the economy and in future employment; and the clear recovery of the real estate sector.

According to the President of the property developers’ association APCE, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, the “stock” of homes, which has weighed down (on the sector) since the crisis, has been gradually absorbed and in certain areas, such as Madrid, Barcelona and the Costa del Sol, it is practically non-existent. (…).

The market, in general, has a view that residential stock has disappeared in many areas, leading to the activation of prices and the construction of new homes, said the CEO of Quabit, Javier M. Prieta. He added that housing permits soared by 42.5% in 2015, whereby confirming the need for new homes.

Exponential growth

Since 2013, the number of off-plan purchases has grown exponentially, especially in the medium-high and high end residential segment, according to the Director of the Development at Gilmar, Óscar Ochoa, who highlighted that after many years of crisis, there is a latent demand for newly built homes.

At present, buyers are looking to purchase homes to reposition themselves, say sources at Tinsa, who consider that one of the major challenges in the residential market will be to achieve the recovery of the employment market and the conditions that allow for that pent-up demand to become solvent.

Sources at Neinor Homes have also observed a significant revitalisation of the market in the last year and assure that off-plan buyers are looking for a type of home that has not been built yet or that was hard to find until now. Clients are very demanding and well-informed about what their homes should be like.

The property developer Vía Célere has also detected a substantial increase in off-plan sales, both in Madrid, where 90% of Residencial Célere Adelgas II has been sold with still a year to go before it is completed, and in Barcelona, where half of Residencial Célere Magoria, which was launched at the end of 2015, has already been sold.

These are clients who do not need a home in the short term and who are able to invest more in exchange for a new home in which they will not have to invest anything over the long term, said the Director of Gilmar. (…).

Clients who buy off-plan should always verify that the project has a building licence, that the contract includes a delivery date and that the amounts paid during the construction process are guaranteed by some kind of insurance policy or aval, say sources at APCE.

In terms of the benefits of buying off-plan, price is a fundamental aspect, as well as the possibility of customising the home, say sources in the sector.

Sources at Tinsa, APCE, Quabit, Gilmar, Vía Célere and Neinor all agree that off-plan buyers should only purchase from transparent and solvent firms with experience in the sector, and they recommend steering clear of apparent bargains. Off-plan buyers should also check that the property developer in question already owns the land on which the property is going to be built or that an aval has been constituted for the entire development.

Off-plan buyers should also demand a guaranteed individual aval to allow them to recover monies paid in the event that their homes are not handed over in the end.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Developers & Funds Team Up To Construct Homes

7 March 2016 – Finanzas

The crisis that has affected the real estate sector since 2007 has given rise to new alliances between the main players in the market, such as the unions between international funds and domestic property developers that have proliferated, particularly in last two years.

With the return of credit to the real estate sector….alliances have started form between international funds who want to expand beyond the tertiary sector and move their money into the segment for residential development, in the hope that the economic recovery will consolidate and demand will increase, and traditional developers, which have the know-how about the residential sector.

The President of the trade association for construction developers in Spain (APCE), Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, admits that the information available about these alliances is vague because the sector is still “not very transparent” and figures are scarce.

Data from the Ministry of Development indicates that the number of permits requested for the construction of new homes shot up by 42.5% last year, to reach 49,695 certificates in November. Nevertheless, although the data from 2015 is the best figure in the last five year, it still falls well short of the maximum reached in 2006, when 865,561 permits were requested.

In the midst of this opacity, Gómez-Pintado explains that all of this began when the funds, which manage “a lot money but have few employees”, decided to construct homes and “sought out developers with extensive knowledge of the area where they wanted to invest and with sophisticated (internal) structures”, to allow them to report on the status of expense accounts and construction work on a weekly basis and, above all, to work with players that display good practices and regulatory compliance.

Medium-sized and large developers

Thus, Gómez-Pintado says that the funds are interested in medium-sized and large development companies, whilst the CEO of Aelca, José Juan Martín, says that they are also keeping their eyes on those developers that have knowledge of micro-markets.

When it comes to launching an operation, the funds prefer to invest in new developments with their partner, right from the start. Again, the aversion to risk is there and so they prefer to team up with a developer from the get-go, i.e. to buy the plot of land. (…).

In terms of location, Mikel Echavarren, CEO of the financial consulting firm Irea, points to destinations such as Madrid, the Costa del Sol and the city of Málaga, the Balearic Islands, Barcelona and the surrounding area, and the Mediterranean Coast, as the most attractive areas for this type of partnership.

Great opportunity

The sources consulted agree that these partnerships represent a good opportunity for developers, especially those players that decreased in size during the crisis and now want to grow again.

To this end, the President of APCE believes that this is “a model that is here to stay”. “The funds have a time horizon of 5 to 7 years, over which they have to recover their investment, and if things go well then they will stay”, he adds.

In Martín’s opinion, “there are no long-term relationships at the moment, but that is something that is improving every day” because “bank financing is continuing to provide support, but there is an initial investment for projects that the banks will never finance”.

Henceforth, the CEO of Aleca believes that “long-lasting relationships” will also arise between property developers and funds, but he thinks that they will only happen in the case of those developers that have a vision of all or almost all of the domestic market. (…).

Original story: Finanzas

Translation: Carmel Drake