Spain’s Developers Increasingly Look for Alternative Financing

6 January 2020 Alternative financing is taking on an ever more visible role in the Spanish real estate market. Several groups beyond the traditional banking institutions are playing an active role. Although alternative financing didn’t even exist just four years ago, now such lending already accounts for 20% of the total loans to developers.

Fund managers such as Colliers International, Ibero Capital and Alantra, among others, are financing an increasing amount of loans, while crowdfunding platforms are increasingly providing yet another alternative.

Developers generally look to raise 65% of the financing from banks, while using equity to pay for the rest. There are currently about 200,000 new homes under construction, and the existing financing arrangements will only pay for a quarter of the total. The rest, which will require approximately €15 billion in financing, will need to come from somewhere else.

La financiación alternativa está asumiendo un papel cada vez más visible en el mercado inmobiliario español. Aunque el financiamiento alternativo ni siquiera existía hace solo cuatro años, ahora esos préstamos ya representan el 20% del total de préstamos a inmobiliarias.

Los administradores de fondos como Colliers International, Ibero Capital y Alantra, entre otros, están financiando una cantidad cada vez mayor de préstamos, mientras que las plataformas de crowdfunding ofrecen cada vez más otra alternativa.

Las inmobiliarias generalmente buscan recaudar el 65% del financiamiento de los bancos, mientras usan el capital para pagar el resto. Actualmente hay alrededor de 200,000 casas nuevas en construcción, y los arreglos de financiamiento existentes solo pagarán una cuarta parte del total. El resto, que requerirá aproximadamente € 15 mil millones en financiamiento, deberá provenir de otro lugar.

Original Story: El Economista – Luzmelia Torres

Translation/Summary: Richard D. Turner

Invesco Real Estate Acquires Casa Oller in Barcelona

14 October 2019 Invesco Real Estate has acquired the building at Gran Vía 658, in Barcelona. The real estate investment management company will convert the modernist property, known as Casa Oller, into luxury flats.

The firm intends to build a total of eleven two- to three-bedrooms flats, including a penthouse, with surface areas exceeding 150 m2. The development will include common areas with an outdoor pool, gym and spa. The flats, which will be ready in 2020, are already on sale by Colliers International, with prices starting at €1.5 million.

Original Story: Idealista

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Azora & Oquendo Capital Join Forces to Finance the Real Estate Sector with €300M

November 2018 – El Confidencial

The fund manager Azora, created by Fernando Gumucio and Concha Osácar, and Oquendo Capital, the Spanish private debt fund manager led by Daniel Herrero and Alfonso Erhardt, are joining forces to facilitate access to alternative financing for companies in the real estate sector. The alliance is creating a “direct lending” real estate platform, which is going to launch its first fund with €300 million destined to financing debt and all types of operations related to real estate, as well as to direct management mandates for individual operations based on their characteristics.

That is according to confirmation provided by sources close to the agreement speaking to El Confidencial. They indicate that any project worth more than €4-5 million will be considered, in both Spain and Portugal, ranging from the purchase of land and logistics warehouses, to the repositioning of hotel assets and subordinated debt, an area in which Oquendo Capital has a lot of experience, given that it already has three funds dedicated specifically to financing corporate debt.

The main objective of the platform promoted by Azora and Oquendo Capital is to cover a market segment that is looking for alternatives to debt to complement traditional bank financing, given that in the midst of the real estate recovery, access to financing to launch real estate project is continuing to represent a real handicap for many companies in the sector.

According to the sources consulted, the investment strategy that the platform proposes will focus on offering flexible financing solutions for small and medium-sized real estate operations, with a moderate risk profile, accessing those transactions in a unique way based on the combination of the successful trajectories of Azora and Oquendo in the real estate and alternative financing markets.

Alternative financing is taking off

With this fund, three vehicles have now been created in the last three months to facilitate access to financing in the Spanish real estate sector. The first to leap to the fore was Ibero Capital, a platform launched by two former directors of Sareb, Walter de Luna and Luis Moreno, with €400 million on the table. A few days ago, that firm closed a €35 million financing arrangement with a property developer in Málaga. The money will serve to pay for three plots in Mijas for the construction of 147 homes, as well as to repay part of its bank debt and finance some of the construction. The remuneration of this operation involves a fixed cost component plus a variable element, depending on the final result of the project.

Behind that fund is Oak Hill Advisors, one of the largest investment funds in the world, with more than USD 30 billion in assets under management, and which has invested more than €1 billion in Spain since 2005, primarily in real estate projects. According to the founders of Ibero Capital, that operation in Málaga will be followed by three or four more operations over the next few months.

Also, three months ago, Colliers International received the exclusive mandate from MCAP Global Finance, the London subsidiary of the manager New York Marathon Asset Management, to manage €200 million dedicated to the financing of buildable land purchases. The firm led by Mikel Echavarren is finalising its first financing deal amounting to €3 million. In its case, unlike with Ibero Capital, the financing will be restricted to land purchases only.

The financing of real estate projects by non-banking entities is an established market in countries such as the US, the UK and France, but not in Spain, where it is still in the development phase. Investment in these types of projects is characterised by its attractive profitability/risk profile with a focus on capital preservation and regular distributions in the form of interest (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Dragados is Asking for c. €180M for 88,000 m2 Buildable Plot in Tetuán (Madrid)

6 August 2018 – El Confidencial

A new and powerful land operation is taking shape in the centre of the Spanish capital. The star is Dragados, one of the heavyweights in the construction sector in Spain. The subsidiary of ACS has been trying to sell several plots, which together span a buildable surface area of just over 80,000 m2, on Paseo de la Dirección in the Tetuán district in the north of Madrid and just 2 km from the Cuatro Torres, for almost a year. And this area has just received the green light from the Town Hall of Madrid, which approved a Partial Plan on Tuesday that will undoubtedly favour land transactions since it means the urban planning risk has disappeared.

According to the sources consulted, the plots have been on the market for a year, but the high price expectations of Dragados – which amount to around €180 million – have prevented the sale from being closed, until now. Large property developers, investment funds and family offices have all expressed their interest. The construction company is being advised by Colliers International, which declined to comment on the deal.

On the table is a real gem, given that the plots are all finalist, in other words, ready to be built on. Such assets are in very short supply inside the M-30. Specifically, the site comprises two plots for the construction of private housing and two other plots for the construction of social housing properties (VPPL) and mixed-use assets (offices and tertiary).

For the former, which have a buildability of around 40,000 m2, Dragados is asking for around €2,500/m2 (…), in other words, around €100 million, which would make it one of the largest land operations in the capital in recent months. “That price would mean selling the future homes at prices of around €5,000/m2, which is way above current market prices in the area”, say the same sources. House prices in the area amount to around €2,400/m2 – €3,000/m2, depending on the types of homes.

For the plots to be used for social housing and offices – which also have a buildability of approximately 40,000 0m2 – the vendor’s price expectations amount to around €80 million. Despite the boom in the capital, these figures exceed the prices that the potentially interested parties are willing to pay.

Ten years in the making

With the approval this Tuesday from the Town Hall of the new planning order for the area, it seems that finally, and after more than a decade, work is going to begin on this ambitious urban remodelling project. It will involve the construction of around 2,000 new homes, most of which will be protected in some way (VPPB and VPPL), including two rehousing buildings and several 25-storey towers. To put that into context, the Cuatro Torres have between 45 and 58 floors (…).

Historically, Paseo de la Dirección has been a downtrodden area in the north of Madrid with numerous substandard homes that would benefit greatly from the definitive launch of Madrid Nuevo Norte – formerly Operación Chamartín – just 2km away. What’s more, the site is very close to the capital’s financial district par excellence, Azca, as well as to Plaza Castilla, the hub for much of Madrid’s land transport network (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz & R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena to Outlaw 95% of Madrid’s Tourist Apartments

27 July 2018 – Expansión

The days are numbered for tourist apartments in the centre of Madrid. Yesterday, the Town Hall of Madrid gave the green light to legislation that will put a limit on holiday rentals: 90 days or three months, is the maximum term that a person may rent their home for those purposes. From day 91 onwards, owners will need to have a commercial lodging licence, just like hotels.

Yesterday, the Spanish capital’s Governing Body approved the Special Plan for the Regulation of the Use of Lodgings, which will apply to the city’s most central neighbourhoods. The plan is expected to enter into force at the beginning of 2019, after being approved by the plenary session in October.

The Town Hall led by the mayor Manuela Carmena is also going to prohibit the operation of all homes destined to tourist rental that do not have an independent entrance, like in the case of hotels. According to the Town Hall, with that requirement, “95% of homes that operate as tourist apartments will no longer be able to do so”.

“Specifically, the affected radius will span 52.7 km, distributed in three concentric rings, depending on the massification of the ads. According to the Town Hall, in the rest of the municipality, “the existing legislation will be maintained”. Madrid is, in fact, the European capital where the number of adverts on these platforms has grown by the most, up by 67% in 2017 with respect to 2016, according to a report from Colliers International.

With this legislation, Madrid’s Town Hall is opening a new chapter in the fight between public administrations and tourist apartments. Its intention is to outlaw almost all of the tourist apartments that are advertised on platforms such as Airbnb in the centre of the city.

The prohibition is tacit. The trick is that 95% of the homes advertised on these platforms in the capital do not have an independent entrance. That limitation will only exist in the case of homes that are leased for more than three months. The 90-day limit draws a line between what is considered a home for tourist use and a property in the collaborative economy.

Obtaining a licence is not going to be easy. It will be subject to zoning, following in the footsteps of cities such as Barcelona. Once the Special Plan comes into force, it will not be possible to change the use of a home located within the inner two rings from residential to tertiary, given that those properties account for the majority of the regulated and unregulated tourist supply. Together with this new plan, the Town Hall has approved a moratorium that prohibits the granting of tourist licences of any kind for one year.

Putting a cap on rents

The objective of the plan is to preserve residential use in the central areas of the city that, with the tourist boom and rise of online platforms, are seeing rising rental prices.

In this vein, the Town Hall wants to establish maximum rental prices. To that end, and as it already did in the case of the request for the tourist tax, the delegate for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, yesterday asked Sanchez’s Governments for the necessary powers.

Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Property Developer Impulsa Buys Land in Madrid for €130M

18 May 2018 – Expansión

The property developer group Impulsa Proyectos Inmobiliarios has purchased the last portfolio of buildable land available in Las Colinas de Rivas Vaciamadrid for €130 million. Specifically, the group has completed the purchase of four residential use plots with a buildable surface area of 55,000 m2 where it plans to build 375 detached family homes distributed over four developments.

The first development, which will contain 137 three- and four-bedroom units, is already on the market. Construction on the project, which is being financed by Banco Santander, is expected to begin imminently. The sales process has been managed by Colliers International, as the financial advisor, and Ashurst, as the legal advisor.

“Whilst Madrid is experiencing a period of paralysis due to the scarcity of residential land, the south-east of the capital is establishing itself”, he explained.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colliers International Acquires Spanish RE Consultancy Irea

27 February 2018 – El Confidencial

There’s a new marriage in the market for real estate consultancy firms. Colliers International Group has acquired the independent Spanish firm Irea. This move comes just a few months after Savills purchased Aguirre Newman, a firm that Colliers also expressed its interest in.

Following this integration, the new company will have a team comprising more than 100 professionals, with offices in Madrid and Barcelona, a turnover of €25 million, and will provide services in the following fields: advisory, capital markets, consulting, valuation, workplace solutions and project management. The objective of the new group is to be one of the top three firms in the sector within five years.

The operation has been structured through the purchase of the majority of Irea’s share capital by Colliers International, a listed company with a global turnover volume of €27 billion, a move that has been followed by a merger, whereby Irea has acquired the Spanish subsidiary of Colliers.

Mikel Echavarren, Founding Partner at Irea, is going to be the CEO of Colliers in Spain. Meanwhile, the rest of the management team is going to comprise: Ignacio M. Iturriaga, Joan García and Álvaro Alonso as the Heads of Corporate Finance; Neil Livingstone and Antonio Pan de Soraluce as the Heads of Capital Markets; and Miguel Vázquez and Laura Hernando, as the Heads of the specialist hotel services division.

In addition, in accordance with the model that characterises Colliers, which teams up with local partners, Echavarren, Livingstone and Pan de Soraluce will hold onto 20% of the share capital of the Spanish subsidiary.

“The Spanish real estate and hotel markets have experienced significant growth in recent years, and having the opportunity to expand our business with Irea’s excellent team of professionals is going to allow us to offer high added value services for our clients”, said Chris McLernon, CEO at Colliers International for the EMEA region.

“Our integration into Colliers represents a natural evolution for Irea, given that both companies share the same business culture and a strong commitment to excellence”, said Echavarren. “We consider that integrating ourselves into a global brand that has an unparalleled international platform is the key for strengthening our growth strategy and continuing to offer the best service possible to our clients, wherever they are in the world”, he added.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake