Sareb to Sell Portfolio of 140 Flats in Catalonia

5 January 2020 Sareb announced that it would sell 140 flats, plus another thirty parking spaces and storerooms, in Catalonia. Many of the flats are currently occupied illegally by squatters and may now have to deal with a possible new owner, likely vulture fund. The sale follows a similar divestment of 400 properties late last year.

The bad bank has already evaluated the squatters using local social services and determined that they must be evicted.  In cases where the people living in the flats are determined to be vulnerable families, Sareb looks to arrange alternate living quarters. That was not considered to be the case in these circumstances.

Investment funds generally acquire portfolios such as this with significant discounts of up to 70-80% on the initial value. The new owners will have to incur legal expenses to remove any occupants and to subsequently renovate the homes, which are generally in rather poor condition.

The regional government of Catalonia, for its part, has the right of first refusal for all properties sold in portfolios, by banks or by Sareb.

En español

Sareb anunció que venderá 140 pisos, más otros treinta estacionamientos y almacenes. Muchos de los pisos están ocupados ilegalmente y ahora pueden tener que tratar con un posible nuevo propietario, probablemente un fondo de buitres. La venta sigue a una desinversión similar de 400 propiedades a fines del año pasado.

El banco malo ya evaluó a los ocupantes ilegales utilizando los servicios sociales locales y determinó que deben ser desalojados. En los casos en que se determina que las personas que viven en los apartamentos son familias vulnerables, Sareb busca organizar viviendas alternativas. Ese no fue el caso en estas circunstancias.

Los fondos de inversión generalmente adquieren carteras como esta con descuentos de hasta 70-80% sobre el valor inicial. Los nuevos propietarios tendrán que incurrir en gastos legales para desalojar a los ocupantes y posteriormente renovar las viviendas, que generalmente están en malas condiciones.

La Generalitat de Cataluña, por su parte, tiene el derecho un derecho de tanteo para todos inmuebles que vendan a través de carteras, bancos y Sareb.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Jorge Zuloaga

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Catalonia’s Regional Government Boosts Social Housing

4 January 2020 The Catalonian regional government approved a decree at the end of 2019 that will oblige people and companies which own more than fifteen properties to offer social housing to groups considered vulnerable. Those groups may include families in eviction proceedings and people who have illegally occupied properties for at least six months since the decree’s approval.

The government will also extend compulsory social rental contracts from three to five or seven years, depending on whether a person or a company owns the property. Additionally, the government will implement a measure whereby buildings with unfinished works will be considered unoccupied after a specific period and liable to coercive fines and the possibility of expropriation.

La Generalitat de Cataluña aprobó un decreto a fines de 2019 que obligará a las personas y empresas que poseen más de quince propiedades a ofrecer viviendas sociales a grupos considerados vulnerables. Esos grupos pueden incluir familias en procesos de desalojo y personas que han ocupado propiedades ilegalmente durante al menos seis meses desde la aprobación del decreto.

El gobierno también extenderá los contratos obligatorios de alquiler social de tres a cinco o siete años, dependiendo de si la propriedad es de una persona o una empresa. Además, la Generalitat implementará una medida por la cual los edificios con obras inacabadas se considerarán desocupadas después de un período específico y susceptibles de multas coercitivas y la posibilidad de expropiación.

Original Story: El Confidencial

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Fidere Looks to Sell Off Assets in Catalonia

19 November 2019 – Fidere, the subsidiary of Blackstone, is looking to sell off some of its holdings in the Spanish province of Catalonia. The socimi will begin by selling the Isla del Cielo building in Barcelona, located in the Parque Diagonal Mar.

On the other hand, Fidere has opted not to sell off its holdings in the Community of Madrid. The rental properties, including the Sanchinarro, San Sebastian Reyes, Majadahonda and Hispanidad buildings, are squarely aimed at premium buyers and currently have an occupancy rate of 50%. Fidere assumed the management of these assets at the beginning of the year.

The Isla del Cielo building is currently listed on several real estate sites. The residential complex consists of two apartment blocks with a constructed area of ​​approximately 38,000 m2.

Original Story: OK Diário – Lorena Torío

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Montepino Snaps Up Two Plots of Land for Logistics Platforms in Castellbisbal

28 October 2019 – Montepino, a developer controlled by the Europroyev Group, has acquired two plots of land destined for logistics platforms in Castellbisbal, Barcelona. The consultancy CBRE advised Montepino on the transaction.

With this acquisition, the firm now has a total of 85,000 square meters of land in Catalonia, with the capacity to build two logistics platforms measuring 13,000 and 16,000 square meters, respectively.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Málaga: One of Spain’s Top Cities for Hotel Investment Again in 2018

11 January 2019 – La Opinión de Málaga

Málaga has consolidated its position as one of the tourist areas with the highest volume of hotel investment in recent years, even though the data for 2018 was somewhat lower than that registered in 2017, which was an “extraordinary” year, according to a report presented yesterday by the consultancy firm Colliers International Spain. In this way, Málaga recorded a total investment of €215 million in 2018, which represented 5% of the national total, estimated at €4.81 billion. The study includes investments in existing hotels (improvements and sales/purchases) as well as those dedicated to land and non-hotel properties (for their conversion to hotel use).

The consultancy firm explained that hotel investment at the national level increased by 23.1% in 2018 with respect to the previous year, to achieve a “new historical maximum”. Nevertheless, in the case of Málaga, investment decreased by 50%, motivated by the high levels reached in the area in recent times, with a “very vertical” investment, which has made investors “more cautious” following an “extraordinary” 2017 (…), according to the Partner and Director for Hotels at the consultancy, Miguel Vázquez.

In 2018, ten hotel transactions were closed in Málaga (two in the capital and eight in the rest of the province). The most important deal was the purchase of a hotel by the Greek hotel group Ikos Resorts. In the capital, the purchases corresponded to NH Málaga and Vincci Málaga – in both cases, the ownership changed hands but the hotel management remained the same.

Two buildings were also purchased for hotel use, both in the capital: the Equitativa (acquired by the Didra investor group) and another on Calle Puerta del Mar, where the chain Catalonia is going to open a hotel. On the other hand, there were two land operations, also in the capital, by Room Mate and Well&Come.

The Canary Islands was ranked ahead of Málaga as the region that accounted for the most investment in 2018 (€1.63 billion), which represented 35% of the total, followed by the Balearic Islands, with €944 million (21%). Madrid accounted for another 13% of hotel investment (€601 million) whilst Barcelona recorded €244 million (5%), very similar figures to Málaga. The Catalan capital also saw its investment volume decrease by 50% in 2018, according to data from Colliers International Spain (…).

The strength of the holiday sector

Based on the figures for 2018, Spain was ranked in second place for hotel investment in Europe, behind the United Kingdom, according to data recorded to September 2018, with a market share of 24% of the total for the region, which amounted to €21.6 billion. In total, 273 hotels were purchased, containing 36,189 rooms, 91 more than during the previous year, when 182 establishments changed hands involving 28,813 rooms (…).

Original story: La Opinión de Málaga (by José Vicente Rodríguez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotelier Catalonia Leads Ranking of Spain’s Top 15 Tourism Companies by Gross Margin

24 November 2017 – Preferente

Catalonia, the hotel chain based in Barcelona and owned by the Vallet family, leads the first ranking compiled by of the Top 15 Spanish tourism companies by gross margin in 2016, with a 30.2% gross profit on its sales. It is followed by large hotel chains such as the Ibiza-based Palladium, and the Mallorcan-based Grupo Piñero and Riu, which all generated gross margins of more than 20% during the last financial year.

The chain owned by the Matutes family is the second in the ranking after obtaining an estimated gross margin of 28.6% on its sales in 2016; it is followed by the group owned by the Piñero family, which includes the Bahía Príncipe and Soltour businesses, with a gross margin of 24.2%; and the chain owned by the Riu family, with a gross margin of 23.8% and the leader of the ranking by EBITDA.

Completing the Top 5 is another large chain and another Catalan firm: H10, which recorded a gross profit on its sales of 19.8% in 2016, followed by Grupo Barceló, with a gross margin of 14.2%, which would have been greater if it did not include in its sales the intermediation activity of Ávoris, which generates higher volumes but lower margins.

After Group Barceló in the ranking comes Grupo Iberostar, which comprises Almundo and World2Meet; and then the hotel groups NH and Meliá, which all exceeded or equalled a gross profit of 10% of sales in 2016. After those companies come the Canarian firm Lopesan and the Catalan firm Hotusa, which groups together Keytel and Restel, with similar gross margins of around 9% over sales.

A vertically integrated tourism group: an airline, a travel agency and a bed bank follow them in the ranking. At number 12 is Globalia, the parent company of Air Europa and Halcón Viajes, with a gross margin of 3.8% of sales, followed very closely by Iberia (3.7%) and Viajes El Corte Inglés (2.4%). The B2B firm Hotelbeds appears in fifteenth place with an estimated gross margin of 2% in 2016, a year when it had not yet completed the purchase of Tourico and GTA, the first of which generates significant EBITDA.

In this way, according to the ranking prepared by the leading tourism website, the chains with the greatest presence in the Caribbean and those dedicated exclusively to resorts are those that generate the greatest gains with respect to their revenues. Meanwhile, the conglomerates that also include intermediaries would have higher gross margin figures if they only reflected their hotel businesses, given that although they invoice less, they are more profitable.

Original story: Preferente (by Andrea Bulla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinor Homes Loses €6.1m up to September and Recomposes its Board with Talent from BDO

31 October 2017

The group also announced the departure of Dominique Cressot, proprietary director for Lone Star, from the board, and the appointment of Alberto Prieto, general director of BDO Real Estate, as the new independent director.

The real estate developer Neinor Homes ended the first nine months of the year with losses and a change in its board. The company reported losses of €6.1 million to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). In addition, the group has also announced the departure of Dominique Cressot, proprietary director for Lone Star, from the board, and the appointment of Alberto Prieto, general director of BDO Real Estate, as the new independent director.

However, although the group has not yet turned a profit, it achieved a positive gross operating result (EBITDA) of €0.5 million. The real estate investment company’s income stood at €169.4 million for the first nine months of the year. Neinor does not compare the results of this year with those of the same period of 2016 because it was first listed in March. The company highlighted that “the accounts of the first nine months are in line with the business plan presented on the occasion of its listing.”

The company currently has 71 planned developments, totalling about 5,500 homes, of which more than 2,000 are already under construction, according to Neinor, which also has pre-sales amounting to almost 700 million euros from last year (2,100 homes).

So far this year, the firm has purchased land valued at €275 million, which would have already covered 100% of the 2017 goals and 42% of those set for 2018, Velayos explained, who stressed that now that they have no “corporate distractions” and are entirely focused on their business. Neinor has accumulated enough land to build 12,000 homes, which is nearly the largest land bank in Spain, second only to Metrovacesa.

Of those 12,000 homes, 16% (1,900) are in Catalonia, which in value concentrates 22% of Neinor’s portfolio, whose strategy established that Madrid and Catalonia should contribute 50% of business with the remaining 50% spread over the rest of Spain.

Regarding the situation of the company in Catalonia, Velayos has ensured that they are on the lookout in case there are good opportunities to purchase land in the area, where some operators may want to reduce their exposure, and advised that the company could close an operation before the end of the year. Of the 1,900 homes to be built in Catalonia, Neinor already has 1,500 in production and, of these, 1,200 are pre-sold.

However, given the possibility that the political instability in Catalonia may continue, Neinor is considering entering new markets, among which Velayos has highlighted Lisbon (Portugal), where they are analysing whether there is available land with attractive margins.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

Neinor Invests €275 Million Up to September and Accelerates the Pace of Development

31 October 2017

The company has available land valued at 1.4 billion euros, enough to build 12,000 homes.

Neinor Homes accelerated the pace of its investments and pre-sales in the third quarter of 2017. In the first nine months of the year, the developer acquired 24 plots of land to develop more than 3,000 homes for 275 million euros, of which 103 million euros were invested just in the third quarter.

The company, which went public on March 29, finalised sales worth 169.4 million euros, in line with forecasts, and closed September with a net loss  of 6.1 million euros and a positive gross operating profit of five hundred thousand euros.

So far this year, Neinor has delivered five developments with a total of 185 homes, which has allowed it to generate revenues of 39 million euros. The rest of the proceeds came from its servicing business (21 million euros), through a contract that it has with Kutxabank for the management of the bank’s real estate assets, and especially the legacy assets, for 109 million, through the divestment of assets acquired as part of the agreement reached in 2014 with the financial entity.

The developer, led by Juan Velayos, has 71 developments in production, including some 5,500 homes, of which 2,000 units are in the construction phase, and will not reach cruising speed before 2020 when it expects to deliver between 3,500 and 4,000 homes annually.

Neinor executed pre-sales for 370 homes in the third quarter, totalling 1,080 pre-sold homes for the year, worth 368 million euros. The company’s total accumulated pre-sales reached €697 million with 2,101 homes.

Arrival in Portugal

The CEO of Neinor, Juan Velayos, explained that with the last quarter’s investments, the company had completed 100% of the purchases projected in its strategic plan for the whole of this year and 42% of its objectives for 2018. The company continues to analyse opportunities and has a pipeline worth 300 million euros.

Velayos announced that the company is studying investments in new markets such as, among others, Portugal. “The Portuguese market fits in with our strategy, the macroeconomic environment is propitious, there is limited supply and real demand, and the next step is to identify if land is available that can be bought at the prices we want, without forgetting the time factor. Licensing takes more time in Portugal than it does in Spain. ”

Taking advantage of opportunities in Catalonia

As for Catalonia, Velayos has indicated that Neinor’s exposure in the region is limited. Thus, although 16% of its total number of homes – some 30 developments and 1,900 homes – are in this area, of which, 1,500 homes are already in production, and more than 900 have been pre-sold.

In this way, only 4% of the value of its assets in Catalonia have not been taken up. “Catalonia has been a good play during these last two years even though there was already some political uncertainty; I am much more optimistic than just a few weeks ago. I think that common sense in Catalonia is going to recover,” he added.

Regarding the purchase of land in Catalonia to launch new developments, the CEO of Neinor explained that the firm is studying some operations in the region and that if they fit with their strategy, they will take advantage of them. “If windows of opportunity are opened, we are going to take advantage of them, Catalonia is an engine of the Spanish economy, and it continues to be so despite the circumstances,” he assured.

New board member

The company has altered the composition of its board of directors after the reduction in Lone Star’s participation, which sold 27% of the developer promoter in an accelerated operation, last September.

Thus, Neinor has announced the departure of proprietary director Dominique Cressot, Lone Star’s representative, and the appointment of Alberto Prieto as independent director. Thus, the number of independent directors now amounts to four out of a total of seven.

Prieto is currently Managing Director for Real Estate at BDO Spain and has extensive experience in the residential land market developed over more than 20 years at Knight Frank, of which he was CEO, and at BDO.

Original Story: Expansión – Rebeca Arroyo

Translation: Richard Turner

The Sale Of Homes Soars By 11.1% In 2015 On The Second-Hand Market

10 February 2016 – El Economista (Europa Press)

Second-hand home transactions increase by 37.2% in the year, reaching their highest level since 2007.

Home sales increased by 11.1% in 2015 with respect to the previous year, up to a total of 354,132 transactions, its highest level since 2011, the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported last Wednesday.

The second-hand market has been the driving force behind this annual growth, the second one produced after the home sales increase by 2% in 2014.

In the period of crisis, the worst year for housing transactions were 2009 and 2008, in which these transactions plummeted by 25.1% and 28.8%, respectively. In 2012 and 2011, double-digit declines were still taking place (-11.5% and -18.1%), while in 2013 the decline slowed to 1.9% due to the end of tax benefits for housing purchase.

Home sales hit the accelerator in 2015 in a context of low prices, although experts believe that the correction reached its lowest level last year and will moderately rise.

The recovery in home sales in 2015 was due to the growth experienced in second-hand home transactions, which rocketed by 37.2%, reaching 276,300 transactions, the highest figure since 2007. By contrast, transactions on new homes fell 33.7% last year, reaching just 77,865, the lowest volume of the series.

89.8% of homes transferred by merchanting last year were non-subsidized and 10.2% were subsidized. In total, the sale of non-subsidized homes increased by 11.1% in 2015, while subsidized home transactions increased by 10.8% reaching 36,077 transactions, after several years of decline.

Andalucía, ahead of housing sales

In 2015, the highest number of home sales per 100,000 inhabitants took place in Valencia (1,322) and the Balearic Islands (1,177).

Andalusia was the region performing the highest number of transactions during last year reaching 70,739, followed by Catalonia (54,571), Region of Valencia (51,788) and Madrid (50,373).

The regions that performed a lower number of sales were La Rioja (2,561), Castilla y León (4,298 transactions) and Navarra (4,313).

In relative values, home sales rose in all regions in 2015, except for Navarra, where they decreased by 1.7%. The regions where these transactions increased the most were the Basque Country (+ 17.2%) and Aragón (+ 16.6%).

Total properties transferred in 2015 increase by 4.6%

Adding the urban and rural properties (homes and other urban nature properties), the properties transferred in 2015 reached 1,634,670, an increase of 4.6% over the previous year, thus returning to positive figures after having fallen by 4.5% in 2014.

Properties transferred by merchanting increased by 8.1% with respect to 2014, while donations increased by 2%, exchange transactions fell by 9.2%, and those transmitted by inheritance advanced by 6.6%.

According to the INE, the number of rural property sales increased by 6.5% in 2015, reaching a total of 126,470 transactions, thus adding its fifth consecutive year of increase, while urban property sales increased by 8.4%, reaching 627,128 transactions.

In the last month of 2015, home sales increased by 6.8% with reference to December 2014, reaching 27,625 transactions and lowering by nearly seven points the 13.7% year-on-year increase registered in November. With the rise in December, home sales accumulates 16 consecutive months of year-on-year increases.

In month-on-month rates (December 2015 compared to November of the same year), home sales fell by 3.9%, compared with increases of 1.6% and 2.4% recorded in December 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Original story: El Economista (Europa Press)

Translation: Aura Ree

Real Estate Funds Warn About Their Immediate Retreat In Case Of Secession

10 September 2015 – Expansión

Risk-averse/FEARING THE RISK / International investors warn that the uncertainty and the country risk the independence process of Catalonia would mean, will automatically alienate them from the region and some of them have already reflected this in their statutes.

That money is a coward is not new. The international investment funds require legal security and political stability to invest in a country and Catalonia may lose both if the pro-independence parties win a majority in the elections of 27-S. Currently all funds continue studying the real estate market in Barcelona because they think there is no risk of achieving independence, but also ensure that should it occur, they would leave the Catalan capital immediately.

Enrique Lacalle, president of the real estate Barcelona Meeting Point (BMP), which every year brings together leading governmental, private and institutional investment vehicles worldwide, states that “many presidents of major funds have told us that if the international investor is not sure of a place/location, he will invest in another.” The capital “does not like uncertainties, therefore it is not invested in conflict zones, and Catalonia has raised many questions in recent times, which can increase depending on the outcome of these regional elections”.

The president of BMP recalls that three years ago, international investment has returned “massively” to Madrid and Barcelona for two reasons: their confidence in the reforms Spain has carried out and improving economy, which currently registers the highest growth in Europe. “Many job positions depend on this sector, so the consequences are not good for Catalonia”, notes Lacalle.

Veto in the statutes

Some of the funds specify in their statutes the impossibility of investing in a country outside the European Union. Fernando Conde, the president of the company for managing real estate and hotel assets, Newland, explains that he is currently advising a London-based fund management company investing capital from US, to reassess its operations based on the outcome of the 27-S. “I have been told explicitly that their statutes forbid them to continue investing in Catalonia if it separates from Spain,” says Conde. He adds that “they continue to study the market because they don’t believe it is going to happen, but in their contract there is a specific clause stating that if independence is achieved negotiations will be aborted.” On the other hand, although they are still here, they do complain that there are very few explanations about how the process will be carried and claim that some serious questions, of a concern to investors, such as in what way Catalonia will get in debt, have not been cleared yet”.

The director of investment department of Aguirre Newman consultancy in Barcelona, Hipolito Sanchez, notes that the funds he works with also expressed some doubts. Investors buy buildings based on profitability the rent will bring” explains the consultant, “and the urban leases act, for example, is a state law that in case of a hypothetical independence would mean dependency on the new jurisdiction.” This is the kind of legal uncertainty that could restrain investors, says Sanchez.


In his opinion, the independence process would result in the same consequences for investment as the country risk in 2008: “Cessation of investments awaiting improvement, the classic English ‘wait and see’,” he says.

The vice president of CBRE in Spain, Enrique Martinez-Laguna, thinks the same, adding that this hypothetical timeout the process will cause until the situation in Catalonia normalizes, would halt the investment. “An illiquid market not only implies a slowdown in the arrival of new projects, but also means that those already there can not rotate their assets as they would like.” “I do not want to predict whether it will be positive or negative for Catalonia, but no sector dependent on foreign investment likes uncertainty,” concludes Martinez-Laguna.

Many funds have told us that they do not invest in areas of conflict and would prefer somewhere else. “

“Some are prohibited in their statutes from investing in Catalonia if it secedes from Spain”

“Neither family nor conventional tourism want a destination conveying an image of conflict and aggression “

“The separation of Catalonia from Spain would greatly affect the congress and convention sector”

“The waiting period for the investors a hypothetical secession would cause, would leave the market without liquidity”

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Lee La