FAI: More than 8,000 Mortgages Paralysed by Supreme Court Ruling

26 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Real estate companies are warning of the impact of the legal battle over mortgages. The Federation of Real Estate Associations (FAI) estimates that more than 8,000 mortgage operations have been paralysed across Spain as a result of the decision taken by the Supreme Court that it should be the banks that pay the Documentation Registration Tax (AJD).

Similarly, the body has warned of the consequences generated by the delays and has asked entities to act “responsibly” towards their clients, given that “they may incur breaches in any “contratos de arras” they have already signed because of the delays in the signing of the mortgage loans”, according to Europa Press.

In this sense, the President of the FAI, Nora García Donet, stated that in light of the “uncertainty” generated, “the banks have delayed more than one third of the signings planned for the coming days”.

The FAI, constituted in March 2013, comprises twenty regional and local real estate associations from all over Spain. Currently, the entity groups together more than 850 real estate agencies and 3,730 professionals.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are Spain’s Largest Residential Landlords?

11 October 2018 – El País

Every month, they receive rent from thousands of tenants who live in the thousands of flats that they own. They are the large landlords of Spain, although it is worth noting one important point: even though between them, they own more than 120,000 residential rental assets, that figure accounts for just 5% of all of the homes on the rental market. In Spain, the stock of rental housing – which exceeds 2.3 million properties, according to calculations from the Ministry of Development – is still dominated by individuals above all. At the other end of the spectrum, that of companies, it is not easy to draw a clear map of who’s who in the Spanish market. There are banks, investment funds, Socimis, real estate companies, servicers, managers…the difference is substantial: some are owners of houses whilst others specialise only in administering the properties.

The properties intersect between these two larges groups. The homes of a bank may belong to a real estate company owned by the entity itself and be administrated by its manager, which in turn, may be responsible for the houses of other companies. Or a fund may own several servicers, the name given to the platforms that, since the crisis, have absorbed a large proportion of the toxic assets (both properties and mortgages) owned by the banks, and that in turn, may be entrusted with the administration of some of the homes by the banks. The examples are simpler if we look at specific cases. What follows is a portrait of the main protagonists of the residential rental market in Spain. Seven companies that control portfolios that come close to or exceed 10,000 assets each, according to figures facilitated by them and by other sources in the sector.

Blackstone. This real estate investment fund is well on its way to becoming the largest owner of rental housing in Spain. It entered the market in 2013 with the purchase of a portfolio of social housing properties that the Town Hall of Madrid, led at the time by Ana Botella, put up for sale. Those 1,860 homes were just the start of a portfolio that now contains around 32,000 properties. Since then, Blackstone has acquired thousands of toxic assets from entities such as Banco Popular and Catalunya Caixa. From the real estate arm of the latter, CX Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of the US fund emerged, which is now responsible for managing most of its rental homes. Anticipa is a specialist servicer in what is known as “fragmented management”. Its 15,000 homes do not form part of blocks of buildings, but rather they are scattered all over the country. In addition to that portfolio, Fidere manages 6,200 properties. That Socimi (…) was created specifically after the operation was closed with the Town Hall of Madrid and then continued to add other residential assets to its portfolio, which unlike Anticipa’s form part of blocks and urbanisations. The latest blow, in terms of the effect on the market, came last month, with Blackstone’s agreement to purchase 70.01% of Testa. With the control of that Socimi – which until then belonged to Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin – around 32,000 rental assets are now under the orbit of the US fund, making it the largest landlord in Spain.

CaixaBank. Until recently, the Catalan entity was the largest owner of rental homes and it is still in the top three. Unlike the other banks, which succumbed to the pressure to sell to interested investors, the former Caixa owns 27,557 residential rental assets through its real estate arm Building Center. The entity’s own manager, Servihabitat, is responsible for managing those assets, and its portfolio also includes assets entrusted by other owners, taking its total to 42,163 assets. Of those 28,549 are homes (and the remainder are storerooms and parking spaces).

Banco Sabadell. A very similar example to CaixaBank. In this case, the entity’s own servicer, Solvia, is responsible for managing its residential rental assets. Its rental portfolio comprises around 32,000 residential assets and, of those, 74% belong to Sabadell, making it the third largest landlord in Spain with around 23,600 assets.

Haya. In fourth place on the list is the servicer owned by Cerberus. The investment fund created it after acquiring some of Bankia’s real estate portfolio. Then it increased it with purchases from other banks such as Santander. At the end of 2017, based on the most recent data provided by the company, it managed around 14,100 assets.

Azora. This manager administers around 11,000 homes on behalf of other companies and Socimis. Its main clients include Lazora, a company recently recapitalised by CBRE GIP and Madison, which owns 6,800 assets, and Encasa Cibeles, which has 2,500 assets and is owned by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Sareb. The (…) bad bank concentrated more than €50 billion in toxic assets during the crisis, including both mortgages and properties. Its objective was, and still is, to divest them, but in the meantime, it has been capitalising what it can. One of the ways is placing some of its properties up for rent. It has more than 10,000 in its portfolio, but it does not manage them directly: it has distributed the management of 5,223 units between Altamira, Haya, Servihabitat and Solvia. The 1,383 that form part of Témpore, a Socimi owned by Sareb, are administered by Azora. Finally, it has around 4,000 that it is reserving for social housing rentals and that it is handing over on a piecemeal basis as one-off agreements are reached with autonomous regions and large town Halls.

Altamira. Another servicer, which belongs to Apollo and Banco Santander. Its rental portfolio comprises 12,500 properties including tertiary assets. Most, around 9,700, are residential assets and belong to Santander or Sareb.

Original story: El País (by José Luis Aranda)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankia Begins its Spring Cleaning in Earnest, Selling off Real Estate Assets

31 August 2018

The financial institution has so far lagged behind the other banks’ efforts to unload their portfolios of foreclosed real estate properties.

Since the end of 2014, after having transferred the worst of its assets to Sareb, Bankia has sold €4.2 billion defaulted loans to institutional investors. According to Moody’s, it is the banking institution which has sold off the most assets since then. However, the sales of much of the property inherited by many of Spain’s largest banks to investment funds has left Bankia behind in the clean-up process. The bank still has properties valued at €4.761 billion and another €10.809 billion euros in NPLs (developers and non-developers).

These assets account for roughly 8% of Bankia’s total assets. This percentage contrasts with BBVA, CaixaBank and Sabadell, whose sales have left their exposure at 4% or less, a level considered acceptable by the major rating agencies. They will lower their exposure to that of Bankinter’s in just a few months, which barely financed any developers during the credit boom.

Changed dynamics

BBVA sold a portfolio of 78,000 flats, stores and garages to Cerberus and €1 billion in delinquent loans to a Canadian fund this year. CaixaBank transferred its entire real estate portfolio to Lone Star -leaving out the Banco de Valencia – just holding on to its delinquent loans. Finally, Sabadell’s exposure will fall to just one billion euros of foreclosed properties.

Santander was the institution that began the change, with its sale last summer of most of the assets it inherited from Popular, within a few weeks of acquiring the bank.

Publicly, Bankia’s management has indicated that they will maintain their policy regarding sales of medium-sized portfolios (up to 500 million euros) so as not to generate losses for the bank. This way it may avoid the discounts of between 60% and 80% that the funds have been achieving when acquiring the large portfolios of real estate assets.

So far this year, Bankia sold a €290-million portfolio to Golden Tree, with two more in preparation, one worth €450 million and another €400 million. The merger with BMN added even more toxic assets to the bank’s balance sheet. 71% of the buildings are finished homes, which are more easily sold. Haya Real Estate (Cerberus) is in charge of marketing, with which the bank just renegotiated its contract after the merger with BMN. So far this year, the group has sold apartments and stores worth 309 million euros. The percentage of land in the portfolio is small, at 6.7%. “We were the first to sell portfolios. For the type of asset we have, we believe that the placement of medium-sized portfolios is what gives us the best result in terms of price, because that is where we find more interest and competition from interested buyers,” the CEO of Bankia explained.

As a result, in 2012, Bankia transferred its worst assets (in large part, delinquent loans to developers) to Sareb, the bad bank. It transferred assets worth €22.317 billion, of which €2.850 billion came from its parent BFA. For its part, BMN transferred assets valued at €5.819 billion to the public vehicle.

Sareb applied a 45% discount to the loans to developers, 63% to ongoing developments and 79.5% to land.

The flats and NPLs only generate expenses – payments of local taxes – and no income, therefore decreasing the banks’ profitability. That is why it is so important for the banks to get rid of the real estate as quickly as possible. In the case of BBVA, the bank could double its level of profitability in two years, according to Alantra. Something similar could occur with CaixaBank and Sabadell.

Bankinter’s healthy balance sheet is the reason why it has an ROE ratio (13%) that is much higher than that of its competitors.

An eventual sale of Bankia’s real estate holdings could also help boost its stock market price, to reduce the possible need for public aid, according to analysts.

The firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods believes that Bankia will continue to have the second-worst ratio of unprofitable assets of Spain’s listed banks in 2019 and 2020, only behind Liberbank.

Santander Spain is in the middle of the group because while it cleaned up Popular, it has yet to follow through on Santander’s own, original exposure.

Original Story: ProOrbyt Expansión – R. Lander

Translation: Richard Turner

 

Sabadell to Sell Solvia As It Unloads Real Estate Assets

30 August 2018

Banc Sabadell is taking offers for Solvia after ruling out placing it together with portfolios of real estate assets.

Unlike Santander and Caixabank, which unloaded most of their real estate assets when they transferred their portfolios of properties to investment funds, Banc Sabadell kept Solvia out of its sale of assets to Cerberus, which was concluded in July. Now, however, the Catalan bank is taking offers for its subsidiary, with an eye on wrapping up the sale within a few months.

Sources in the financial industry told Economia Digital that Sabadell, which is chaired by Josep Oliu, has decided to finalise the sale of its real estate assets through a partial or total sale of its servicer, Solvia. Although it has not yet initiated a formal sales process, the bank reportedly hopes to finalise the deal during the last four months of 2018.

“We are not a property firm, it is not our line of business,” Jaume Guardiola, CEO of Sabadell, has stated on several occasions when asked about the future of the bank’s real estate assets and its property firm, Solvia. Market sources had speculated that Solvia would be sold off together with the bank’s portfoli0 of property, land and related loans. However, Solvia remained in the bank’s hands.

Sabadell decided to leave the property firm out of its sale of the bank’s three property portfolios, worth 11 billion euros. Two of the three were eventually acquired by the venture capital fund Cerberus. The bank held on for a higher price for the servicer and hopes that the asset will help in the sale of the portfolio of properties that it still possesses, which is worth about another €2 billion.

That decision was made just over a month ago, but Guardiola’s position seems to have won, and the bank has put the sale of its property firm on the table again. The idea is that the company will be sold without any included assets, and the sale will be restricted to Solvia’s network and operations, in addition to its roughly 800 employees.

Sabadell has not yet received any formal offers, although Solvia is expected to draw some interest, considering that it is one of Spain’s biggest servicers. Several investment funds are investing in the country’s property market and could be interested in acquiring a servicer.

Solvia, in the hands of a fund?

All the large funds that have acquired real estate assets in Spain already have subsidiary property firms. Cerberus, which bought assets from BBVA and Sabadell, has Haya Real Estate. Apollo, which acquired Santander’s assets, owns Altamira. Lone Star owned Neinor, though it subsequently sold it, it will also acquire Servihabitat when it completes its purchase of 80% of Caixabank real estate assets. Lastly, Blackstone owns Anticipa.

However, other funds are making smaller purchases and could be interested in a property firm such as Solvia to help unload their property holdings in the future. Oaktree, which has acquired several buildings, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Bain Capital are all possible buyers.

Sabadell waves goodbye to its real estate business

This summer, Banc Sabadell sold a good part of its real estate assets. Of the three large portfolios it had on sale, two went to Cerberus and the third to Deutsche Bank. The assets sold to the investment fund were valued at 9.1 billion euros, while the portfolio that Sabadell sold to the German bank had assets worth €2.4 billion.

Sabadell applied a 57% write-off on the sales, a figure below previous large sales by BBVA and Santander, where the discount exceeded 60%. The banks that waited most, such as Caixabank and Sabadell itself, benefited from the growing interest of investors in Spanish property to sell their holdings at a higher price.

Original Story: Economia Digital – Xavier Alegret

Translation: Richard Turner

 

Apollo, CPPIB & ADIA Are Open to Offers for Altamira

12 July 2018 – Voz Pópuli

The ownership of the real estate company Altamira may change hands over the coming months. The company controlled by the fund Apollo has hung up the “For Sale” sign after the refinancing and restructuring of its contract with Santander, signed just a few days ago, according to financial sources consulted by Voz Pópuli.

At least 85% of the real estate firm will go on the market. The servicer currently manages assets worth €54 billion. The US fund Apollo is the entity that controls the majority stake, whilst its ownership is shared equally with two other partners: the largest Canadian fund, CPPIB (Canada Pension Plan Investment Board); and the main Abu Dhabi investment fund, the ADIA (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) sovereign fund.

Each of them controls 28.3% of Altamira, just like Apollo, although it is the latter who leads the real estate company and chairs its Board.

Divestment

After four and a half years of investment, the main shareholders have decided that now is the right time to sell, given the strong performance of the real estate market and the appetite from large investors to enter the business.

In fact, sources consulted indicate that several international and Spanish investors have already approached Altamira. One of the candidates is Haya Real Estate, a similar platform, owned by Cerberus, which is interested in growing its business ahead of a potential stock market debut.

Another possibility being rumoured in the market is that CPPIB itself may purchase the 56% stake in Altamira currently owned by Apollo and the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund. The Canadian fund entered the market for the acquisition of toxic asset portfolios from the banks last year with a bang, by closing an operation with Sabadell; and this year, it has signed another deal with BBVA.

The possible sale of Altamira comes after the refinancing of the real estate firm agreed with the banks and the renegotiation of the contract with Santander. Thanks to this operation, the shareholders of Altamira are now going to share out a €200 million dividend, according to El Confidencial, which means that the numbers already add up for the funds.

The relationship between Apollo and Santander

Apollo and its two partners already tried to exit Altamira two years ago but failed to reach an agreement with Santander, which made a low offer that was not accepted. Since then, the real estate firm has pushed ahead with its own internationalisation by branching out into Portugal and Cyprus.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Set to Sell €120bn+ in Problem Assets This Year

4 July 2018 – Cinco Días

Spain’s banks are stepping down on the accelerator to put an end to the property hangover, although it will still take another two or three years for them to get rid of all of the excesses left over from the financial crisis. And that is not so much due to the leftover real estate portfolios but more because of the portfolios of non-performing loans, a caption that is continuing to augment the balance sheets of financial institutions.

In this way, the experts hope that this year will see a new record in terms of the sale of portfolios, for an approximate total of €120 billion, including the macro-operations from Santander and BBVA, announced last year but completed this year. Without them, the figure could amount to more than €51 billion, slightly higher than in 2017, which would increase to €80 billion if Sareb manages to sell a €30 billion portfolio.

Pressure from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Spain, as well as that exerted by the market itself, is causing financial institutions to opt to sell their portfolios of problem assets in single operations wherever possible, rather than selling them off in a piecemeal fashion, in light of the prospects of rising prices.

Interest from opportunistic funds to invest in Spain and, also forecasts for even greater price rises for real estate assets in the future, are leading the banks to take advantage of the opportunity to clean-up their balance sheets between this year and next, just 10 years after the start of the crisis, explain several experts.

“The funds have large amounts of liquidity. Moreover, interest rates are still at historical minimums (still negative) and so financing can be obtained at very low prices, hence their interest in buying large portfolios of assets linked to property. They want to take advantage of the current climate”, explains Íñigo Laspiur, Director of Corporate Finance CBRE España.

All of the experts agree that the sale by Santander of Popular’s property to Blackstone, an operation announced last year, but ratified at the beginning of this year, for a gross amount of around €30 billion, was the trigger that caused the banks to decide to divest their portfolios on a mass scale.

Since that operation was ratified at the beginning of this year, to date, the banks have divested more than €62 billion in problem assets. That amount includes BBVA’s operation with Cerberus, the fund to which it sold €13 billion. Nevertheless, that operation is still pending approval from the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD) since some of it forms part of the Asset Protection Scheme (EPA), having proceeded from the former savings bank Unnim.

Financial sources maintain that there are currently operations underway amounting to another €21 billion, plus an addition €8 billion that may be closed over the coming months. The largest include the sale of around €11 billion in assets from Sabadell (of which €900 million has already been sold to Axactor), whose sale is scheduled for this month.

To these figures another €30 billion gross may be added from the sale of a Sareb portfolio this year if Pedro Sánchez’s Government approves that potential operation in the end. Santander has also put up for sale another €6 billion.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Ángeles Gonzalo Alconada)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Are Queueing Up to Finance Rental Housing

4 July 2018 – El Economista

One of the major challenges facing Spain in the residential market is the organisation of the rental home segment in light of the fragmentation that exists and the boom that is currently underway. There is currently a great deal of demand, but there is also a distinct lack of supply, and the new Housing Plan approved by the Government is not proving sufficient to incentivise the supply with the granting of aid to property developers that build rental housing. In light of this situation, we ask ourselves whether the opportunity that currently exists in Spain to organise the rental market is being taken advantage of?

“I think that the professionals and investors who have launched portfolios thanks to the creation of Socimis are taking good advantage of the opportunity, but I believe that some important players are simply not supporting the sector, such as the Public Administrations. Both nationally and locally, but above all locally, they are failing miserably and this is generating price tensions due to a lack of supply”, explains José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, Director General of the consultancy firm Chamberí Asset Management.

Along the same lines, José María Cervera, Corporate CEO of Renta Corporación agrees and states that the public sector has been left on the sidelines. “Private capital has taken the initiative in this new segment of the market because it has seen a business opportunity and is looking for returns. And the public sector is going to have to enter, but now the arbitrage and those who are institutionalising it are in the private sector, and so they are going to place more rental properties on the market”.

For all of these reasons, during 2018, we are observing the creation of a new industry. Given that in Spain there are 18.5 million households, according to the latest figure from the Active Population Survey (EPA), and of those, 22% are rental homes, there are 4.7 million rental homes in total. Of that portfolio, only 5% are owned by institutional companies; the remaining 95% are owned by individuals.

“The Public Administration has done something important, which is to reorganise the real estate sector and separate property promotion and development activities, by creating Socimis that operate under a special framework. That has brought us closer to a situation that is more similar to those seen in other European countries. Now, we will have to see how the different players that are emerging in this market position themselves, and in two or three years, we will see the consolidation of this sector, which means that the Public Administrations will have to continue refining their regulations so that the sector can develop and be brought into line with those of other European countries”, says Nicolás Díaz-Saldaña, CEO at Témpore (Socimi of Sareb).

Nevertheless, not all of the experts in the sector concur. David Botín, Director of Real Estate Development at the ACR Group, says that this opportunity is not being leveraged. “It is possible that we are seeing the beginnings of a new rental market, but to date, just 22% of our households are renting and that supply is being provided almost exclusively by individuals. As such, it is very hard to fathom how we will reach the percentages seen in other countries such as Germany, where rental properties account for 48.3% of the market or the United Kingdom (36.6%). It is really hard to increase the stock in Spain because there are 19 million homes, and so a 1% increase means placing 190,000 more homes on the rental market, and that would take between three and four years (…). At that rate, nothing is going to happen quickly. No market works if there is no equilibrium between supply and demand. We need a large and varied supply for this market to work effectively”, he adds.

It is true that, historically, Spain has been a country of property owners, but the cultural and socio-economic changes that have been happening in recent years are drawing some new business lines, where the rental market is taking centre stage and is starting to become institutionalised. The new players in this market are: on the one hand, the Socimis, which are listed companies that serve as investment vehicles with tax benefits. The largest of them is Testa, which will debut on the stock market soon and which is owned by Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin Properties. There are also others such as Azora, Vivenio (Renta Corporación), Témpore (Sareb) and Fidere, amongst the largest. Within this market, we can also include the servicers, which although they do not own properties, manage them, such as Solvia (Sabadell), Anticipa (Blackstone), Haya (Cerberus), Altamira (Apollo and Santander). And then, there are companies owned by the banks, such as Building Center (Caixabank) and other types of companies such as Alquiler Seguro, family offices, etc.

Therefore, now that the new players required to institutionalise this market are starting to be created, the next step is to develop a portfolio of assets. “We are going to need to reach agreements with property developers to build homes for rental (…), and at Sareb, we are going to use some of the land that we have for the co-development of rental homes (…)”, says Nicolás Saldaña.

That is a formula that is starting to spark interest. According to the experts, property developers have always been reluctant to enter the rental market, because they didn’t see it as their business, but in the end, the market trend has changed and whilst the sale and purchase segment will continue to exist, so too will the rental sector and property developers will have to participate (…).

The rental segment is a market that has always existed in the hands of individuals, but now, it is being professionalised, thanks to the arrival of overseas capital. “Investors have contributed many things, besides capital. They have contributed methodologies, rigour, professionalism (…). The banks were not open to this business before, they only financed promotion, but that has changed. For six months now, everyone has been wanting a piece of the pie and now there is a queue of financial institutions wanting to finance this type of business (…)”. Says José María Cervera (…).

Investing in residential properties is profitable. The gross return from investing in rental homes has increased to 7.3% from 6.3% a year ago, due to the strength of demand for rental properties, according to the real estate portfolio Idealista (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Luzmelia Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Race Against the Clock to Sell Off Their Problem RE Assets

28 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The banks are facing a new record. The entities have cut their problem assets almost in half over the last four years, but now they are trying to get rid of thousands of properties in record time to keep the supervisor happy, along with investors. The Bank of Spain warned just this week that the volume of impaired assets continues to be high, given that foreclosed assets amount to €58 billion and doubtful loans still amount to almost €100 billion, something that concerns the ECB and penalises the sector on the stock market.

Specifically, Spanish banks’ problem assets amounted to €152 billion at the end of 2017, a very high volume, but 46% lower than the €280 billion registered as at December 2013.

In addition to the cost that maintaining these assets on the balance sheet has for entities, they also prevent them from allocating resources to other activities more in keeping with the banking sector that would generate higher returns, which worsens the problems of returns in the sector especially at a time of very low interest rates.

In 2017, in the face of clear pressure on the banks to significantly reduce their problem assets, the Spanish market resurfaced to account for approximately 50% of the European market for the sale of problem assets, recall the experts.

The announcement by Cerberus of its purchase of 80% of BBVA’s problem assets and the acquisition by Blackstone of 51% of Aliseda and of Popular’s non-performing assets clearly marked a turning point.

And currently, taking into account the portfolios that are up for sale and the forecasts for the reduction in non-performing assets in the plans of many Spanish banks, a high volume of transactions is also expected in 2018.

The entities are on the case

Sabadell is planning to decrease its non-performing assets by €2 billion per year until 2020, although, depending on investor appetite and the agreements with the Deposit Guarantee Fund (FGD), that figure may rise considerably in 2018, explain sources at Funcas.

Meanwhile, in its strategic plan for 2018-2020, Bankia is forecasting the sale of €2.9 billion problem assets per year, even though the entity got rid of much of its real estate hangover with the creation of Sareb, the bad bank.

The placement on the market of this significant volume of assets is not only limited to the large entities; it is also involving smaller firms such as Ibercaja and Liberbank, which are also planning to divest assets.

In the case of the former, its plans involve cutting its problem assets in half between now and 2020, which translates into a decrease of around €600 million per year, whilst Liberbank is looking at reductions of €900 million per year until 2020.

For 2018, Santander has set itself the objective of €6 billion, whilst Sareb is aiming for €3 billion, which shows the real commitment that the entities have to cleaning up their balance sheets and to keeping the supervisor, and the markets, happy. Now they just need to deliver.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa & Sociedad de Tasación are the Banks’ Preferred Appraisal Companies

17 May 2018 – Expansión

Last year, the banks commissioned appraisals for properties worth €200 billion. The valuation of these assets was performed by a well-nourished group of entities that have been authorised by the Bank of Spain to undertake these types of operations.

Tinsa and Sociedad de Tasación swept the board in this sector, with market shares of 28.7% and 13.9%, respectively, according to the total revenues for the sector for 2017, which amounted to €284 million, according to data from AEV, the main trade association.

The appraisal sector was particularly badly hit by the consequences of the real estate crisis, given that their valuations, which in some cases did not reflect the reality, contributed to the inflation of the real estate bubble which then burst.

The appraisals performed last year represent one third of those recorded in 2007 when the figure reached €600 billion according to data from the Bank of Spain.

There was also a lack of professionalism in this sector, on which the Bank of Spain has imposed several sanctions in recent years, in some cases on firms that have now disappeared.

More control

Following the crisis, the banks also liquidated their own appraisal companies and, since then, independence and professionalism have reigned.

“The Bank of Spain has increased its control over the sector in the last three years, something that is good news and that works in our favour”, says Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, CEO at Sociedad de Tasación. By way of example, he comments that the supervisor now “requires us to provide 350 information fields for every appraisal”. (…).

In another change, Santander commissioned its appraisals from half a dozen different companies last year, namely: Tinsa, Eurovaloraciones, Ibertasa, Tasaciones Hipotecarias, Krata and Hispania de Tasaciones.

The group explains in its accounts for last year that its strategy, when it comes to choosing these entities, is governed by “the requirements of independence, neutrality and credibility to not undermine the reliability of their valuations” (…).

BBVA works with fifteen appraisal companies including Tinsa and Sociedad de Tasación. The bank confirms that it engages these entities due to “their reputation, independence and recognition in the market, given that they are capable of providing valuations that most appropriately reflect the reality of the market in each region” (…).

Bankia is the entity that engaged the fewest appraisal companies in 2017. It hired Tinsa, Gesvalt, Tecnitasa, UVE and Arco Valoraciones. Sabadell, by contrast, reports in its accounts for last year that it worked with around 30 firms.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Azora Will Make its Stock Market Debut in May With a €700M Capital Increase

5 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Azora has come back from the Easter holidays with lots of issues to resolve. The company founded by Concha Osácar and Fernando Gumuzio is accumulating work: following the takeover bid launched by Blackstone for Hispania, one of the Socimis that the firm manages, and which yesterday approved the sale of its office portfolio for €600 million, the company owned by Osácar and Gumuzio is now planning a €700 million capital increase to list the company on the stock market in May.

The conversion of the firm into a listed company will be carried out by the manager through a public offering of its securities (OPS). The announcement was made on Wednesday by the President of Hispania, Rafael Miranda, who underlined the confidence that his Socimi has in Azora. “The Management team’s commitment to leadership and dedication remains intact”, said Miranda, whose General Shareholders’ Meeting met yesterday to approve that Osácar and Gumuzio’s company should continue as its manager.

Azora has two lines of business: its own portfolio of rental homes and the management of portfolios for other companies, like in the case of Hispania and Témpore (Sareb’s Socimi). The company is working with the banks Goldman Sachs and UBS to assess the feasibility of the company ringing the bell (making its stock market debut) before the summer.

Azora’s stock market debut would follow those carried out recently by other real estate players such as Neinor Homes, Aedas Homes, and the return of Metrovacesa, as well as the debut on the stock market this week of Témpore on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB). Similarly, other companies in the Spanish real estate sector are expected to make their debuts this year including Testa Residencial, Vía Célere and the Cerberus’s servicer, Haya Real Estate.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake