Investments in the Build-to-Rent Sector Skyrocket in 2019

21 November 2019 – Investment funds and socimis active in the Spanish real estate market are increasingly investing in the residential build-to-rent sector. The constrained supply of rental housing and growing prices have led to funds and socimis like Ares, Vivenio, Azora and others to pile into the growing market.

Direct investment in the year to September reached €1.8 billion and are forecast to total €2.5 billion by the end of the year. In 2018, investment for the year as a whole reached just 900 million euros.

Funds and Socimis Invest in New Developments

The of the larger operations this year include a partnership between Aedas and Ares to sell four turn-key developments, with a total of 500 homes, in Torrejón de Ardoz, Alcalá de Henares and El Cañaveral (Madrid). Ares also recently acquired a portfolio of 400 homes to the east of Madrid. Stoneweg, for its part, will transfer a 300-flat development in Tetuán, Madrid, to M&G, while Vivenio is investing in a 340-home project in the growing area of Mahou-Calderón.

At the same time, Vivenio and Azora have joined forces with Áurea to develop projects in Móstoles and Cañaveral. Acciona, meanwhile, has finalised a deal to build 135 homes with Axa in Méndez Álvaro. Lastly, TPG is investing in a 391-home development called the Sardes project.

Financing for the developments usually takes the form of either forward funding or forward purchases. The former, which is used by investors looking for higher returns, and risk, usually involves an investor acquiring land from a developer subject to a pre-let but where the development has not been carried out. The developer will construct development paid for by the fund with an additional, profit-related, payment to the developer at completion. Forward purchases, which are considered more conservative, have the developer assume all costs until delivery.

Original Story: Expansión – Rebeca Arroyo

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

AXA Negotiates with ACS to Build 2 Office Blocks on Paseo de la Dirección in Madrid

29 May 2019 – Eje Prime

The insurance company AXA is holding negotiations with the construction company ACS to build two office buildings on plots that it owns on Paseo de la Dirección in Madrid.

The towers would be similar in height to the residential skyscrapers that Stoneweg is planning to build on the same street. They would include restaurants and shops, which would serve to regenerate activity in the Tetuán neighbourhood.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Axa Puts Up For Sale 8 Buildings Acquired from La Generalitat in 2013

1 May 2019 – Eje Prime

The French insurance company Axa has put up for sale 8 of the 13 office buildings that it purchased from the Generalitat de Catalunya in 2013 for €172 million.

The assets are classified as large offices located in the centre of Barcelona and may have doubled in value in the last six years. The Generalitat de Catalunya still has long-term rental contracts for all of the properties.

Axa has engaged Savills Aguirre Newman to handle the sales process.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

JLL: 47 Halls of Residence for Students are Under Construction in Spain

24 April 2019 – El Confidencial

The student hall sector is on a roll. With almost fifty projects underway (47) and 17,500 new beds to be added to the existing portfolio by 2022, experts forecast total investment of €1 billion in the sector over the next 4 years.

In 2017, investment in the sector amounted to €560 million, ten times higher than the figure recorded in 2016 (€50 million). Last year, the number dropped to €141 million, but according to Nick Wride, Director of Living and Alternatives at JLL Spain, that was “due to a lack of residences in operation available for sale”. Moreover, it was still the highest figure ever recorded excluding corporate transactions – the data in 2017 was impacted by the completion of 2 large corporate deals.

Last year, 18 operations were closed involving the purchase of land or buildings for conversion. 55% of the investment was undertaken in Madrid and Barcelona, with the remaining 45% made in the main regional cities, such as Málaga, Sevilla and Granada. The operators behind the new beds under construction include Nexo, Resa, WPCarey, Invesco, CBRE GI, Axa and GSA, amongst others.

Student halls offer some of the highest yields in the sector: 5.5% in the secondary cities and 5% in Madrid and Barcelona, in line with those generated by nursing homes (5.5%) and logistics assets (5%), but well above those seen in other segments such as retail premises (3.15%), offices (3.50%), residential (3.50%) and hotels (4%).

The reason is the enormous demand that exists for these types of assets. In Spain, almost half a million students need accommodation, but there are currently just 91,000 student beds. The gap is clear, and growing, boosted by an increase in the number of domestic and international students travelling away from home to study. Those not finding student accommodation have to rent in the private market – an informal, heterogeneous, inflexible and potentially expensive option (particularly in Madrid and Barcelona where prices are soaring).

All this makes the market for student accommodation extremely attractive.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

C&W: Investors Spent €300M on Student Halls in Spain in 2018

25 March 2019 – Eje Prime

Investors galore have set their sights on the market for student halls in Spain. Three major institutional investors, Axa, Invesco and Nuveen, have launched themselves into the construction and management of these types of properties, which they consider are reliable bets that generate high returns.

According to Cushman & Wakefield, investment in student halls in Spain amounted to almost €300 million in 2018. And the consultancy firm expects that figure to be exceeded in 2019.

Spain currently has 1.6 million students, of whom around 15% are potential users of student halls. Nevertheless, the accommodation stock comprises just 95,000 beds, which represents 6% of all matriculated students. As such, there is a lot of potential in the market.

In summary, demand is growing, supply is limited and returns are high, currently averaging 5.25% in Spain. As such, the market has captured the attention of global investors.

Indeed, investors in Spain generally fall into one of two categories: institutional investors with an international profile, such as the three players mentioned above; and European investors specialising in student halls, particularly those from the North of Europe, such as the British firms GSA and Collegiate, the Dutch firm The Student Hotel and the German company Corestate.

Meanwhile, the consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman calculates that around twenty major operations could be closed in this segment in 2019, which could result in investment of more than €2 billion over the next few years.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Roger Arnau)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Acciona Sells a 135-Home Development in Madrid to Axa

20 March 2019 – Idealista

Acciona has completed the sale of a residential development in the Méndez Álvaro area of Madrid to the insurance company Axa. The project, which is going to be constructed under the ‘build to rent’ formula, will comprise 135 rental homes distributed over ten floors.

The property will have a swimming pool, gym and terrace, as well as one parking space and one storeroom per home. The construction work is expected to be completed in December 2020.

Original story: Idealista 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Asian Funds Seek Local Allies to Enter Spanish Real Estate Sector

19 January 2019 – Expansión

Asian investors are joining forces with firms such as UBS, AXA and Savills IM to gain weight in the office, logistics and retail segments, where they still have a limited presence.

Spain has become a key destination for international investors interested in real estate assets, and Asian capital is no stranger to this buying fever that has boosted the sector in the country over the last five years. These investors, who are used to large volume operations, are now trying to gain a foothold in Spain through alliances with large European managers, such as UBS, Rockspring, AXA and Savills Investment Management, which will allow them to participate in smaller-sized operations and enter other sectors such as the office, logistics and retail segments.

The incorporation of new investors, capital funds and Chinese, Japanese and Korean family offices, amongst others, at the hand of the large European managers that are already present in Spain and know the local market well, offers them the possibility of arriving in the country by assuming less risk.

One of the most recent examples is that of the Korean fund manager Igis Asset Management, which, through Savills Investment Management, closed the purchase of Nestlé’s headquarters in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona) last October for €87 million. That operation followed others such as the purchase of the Madrilenian Zielo Shopping Pozuelo and that of the office building located at number 2 Calle Santa Bárbara, both through funds managed by UBS, in turn, financed by Asian capital, amongst others.

Indirect investment

(…). These alliances followed the trickle of mega-operations undertaken in Spain in recent years. The most significant include the deal involving the Philippine group Emperador, which purchased the Torre Espacio building in Madrid, one of the skyscrapers that forms part of the Cuatro Torres complex, from Villar Mir, for €558 million.

Another operation that revolutionised the market involved the Chinese holding company Wanda, albeit ephemerally, as it had to abandon the project just three years later. The group purchased Edificio España (Madrid) from Banco Santander in 2014 for €265 million and sold it in the summer of 2017 to RIU, its current owner (…).

Those two Asian investors were joined by the sovereign fund of Singapore GIC, which, through the Socimi P3 Logistics Parks, acquired a foothold in the logistics market in Spain, one of the segments with the most potential.

Investors from Asia are therefore one group of overseas players who are committed to the country, but they are not the only ones. According to a report compiled by Savills Aguirre Newman, international capital was the major star in 2018, accounting for 70% of the €10.8 billion transacted, the largest percentage since the start of the market recovery five years ago (…).

By origin, investors from Europe and the USA account for almost 57% of the domestic and international investment total and 85% of the volume of operations from overseas. Asia is ranked in third place (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

GreenOak Acquires Office Complex in Madrid

30 August 2018

Axa placed the asset, located at 34 Calle Albarracín, on sale for 25 million euros last March. The transaction’s final price was not disclosed.

GreenOak is expanding its real estate portfolio in Spain. The US fund just completed its acquisition of an office complex in Madrid. The asset, located at 34 Calle Albarracín, has an area of ​​9,800 square meters. The price paid by GreenOak was not disclosed.

Axa initially announced its intention to sell the property for 25 million euros, last March, hoping to take advantage of the growth of the office market in Madrid. The building, which houses the headquarters of the Euromaster tire group and the CTO Group, was completely rehabilitated in 2016. Clifford Chance and Arcadis acted as advisers to GreenOak, and Savills Aguirre Newman advised the seller.

The complex has a 92% occupancy rate and both Euromaster and CTO have long-term leases. In addition to the three offices, the asset also has 194 parking spaces.

GreenOak is present in almost every sector of the Spanish real estate market. One of its principal assets is the Las Mercedes Business Park, one of the largest business parks in Madrid.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

 

TH Real Estate Changes its Focus in Spain to Purchase Logistics Properties, Offices & Alternative Assets

11 June 2018 – Eje Prime

After ten years in Spain, TH Real Estate is changing its focus in terms of acquisitions. The company, which has historically purchased retail assets in the country, is going to change strategy to strengthen its portfolio with logistics properties, office buildings and alternative assets, such as halls of residence for students. That is according to Marta Cladera (pictured below), Director General of TH Real Estate Iberia, talking to Eje Prime in an interview.

“Traditionally, and due to the type of active funds, we have been very focused on the purchase of retail products” – said Cladera – “Now, we want to nurture our portfolio with logistics buildings, offices and alternative assets, such as halls of residence”. “We are analysing the market, we have a good track record in other types of assets, and so we will be able to create a portfolio with new types of assets and we will begin this year”, she added.

TH Real Estate will carry out these purchases through its fund European City Fund, which is one of the most active at the moment in terms of acquisitions and which has sufficient resources to undertake new purchases. By type of asset, the plans in terms of alternative assets involve not only the purchase of properties but also “teaming up with other operators, which may be from other parts of Europe”. In this way, TH Real Estate will follow in the footsteps of other funds such as CBRE GI and Axa, which, in their strategy to enter the hall of residence business, purchased Resa, the largest student hall company in Continental Europe.

In terms of the office sector, Cladera assures that “the competition is fierce” and the supply “is scarce”. “We are looking for buildings costing upwards of €50 million, but the supply that we are finding is not prime and those that are prime due to their location need a lot of renovation work, and that is something that holds us back, given that the numbers have to make sense for us to proceed and we have to focus on returns”, said the director.

Currently, TH Real Estate manages a portfolio worth €103 billion around the world, although Spain represents a small proportion of that, accounting for just 2% of its total business. In the Spanish market, the company owns assets worth €2 billion. “Although it is small compared to other markets, you have to look at the evolution: when we arrived in 2007, the portfolio was worth €200 million, as such, the growth over the last ten years has been significant”, she said. TH Real Estate’s team in Spain comprises nine people.

Socimi: under consideration 

Although this move is still in an embryonic phase, TH Real Estate does not rule out joining the Socimi party that is raging in Spain with some of its assets (…).

Currently, TH Real Estate owns fifteen assets across the Iberian Peninsula, of which fourteen are located in Spain and one in Portugal. Of those, two are logistics assets (acquired in 2017), and the rest are retail properties. One of the formulae that the group has used in the country has been to create joint ventures with different players for the acquisition of assets. Such was the case of the purchase of 50% of Xanadú from Intu for €264.4 million, for example (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Everis & AXA Sign The Largest Office Rental in Madrid Since 2013

17 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Everis and AXA have signed the largest office rental contract in Madrid since 2013. AXA’s real estate manager is going to lease almost all of Edificio Novus, located in the north of the Spanish capital, to the consultancy firm, which will occupy 37,800 m2, according to a statement issued by the insurance group.

Located close to Barajas airport, the building has six floors and spans a total surface area of 42,000 m2. It is also home to Hilti, the company that supplies technology to the construction sector. Everis is going to employ up to 4,000 people on the site, whereby centralising its workers in the capital into one building.

The asset has been owned by AXA Real Assets since 2015. Over the last three years, that group has renovated the common areas and has promoted the name Novus, the building’s new brand name since it passed into the hands of the multinational.

In addition to this contract, Everis already closed a rental contract with GMP for more than 5,000 m2 of space in the building at number 77 Paseo de la Castellana. A priori, the headquarters of the consultancy in Spain will be located there, with offices for directors and the most corporate areas of the company (…).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake