The Capriles Family will Set the Tone for Operación Calderón with Flats Priced from €5,700/m2

14 February 2019 – El Confidencial

It is a question of weeks. Gran Roque, the investment vehicle owned by the Venezuelans Miguel Ángel and Áxel Capriles, is going to start marketing homes in its most affordable development in Madrid within the next few weeks. The development comprises 105 homes and is located just 600 metres from the Vicente Calderón stadium. The properties are going to be put on the market for €5,700/m2. That price will, undoubtedly, serve as a reference for the potential buyers of the plots in the future Operación Mahou-Calderón, which is currently on standby until the plans for the urbanisation and Reparcelation of the area have been definitively approved.

As reported by El Confidencial, in October 2017, the Venezuelan clan purchased buildable land from Prosegur, just a few metres from where Operación Calderón is going to be built. For that plot, which has not required any type of urban development procedure and which is designated for residential use, as provided for in the General Urban Development Plan (PGOUM) for Madrid dated 1997, they paid around €25 million, approximately €2,900/m2. That price is close to those what is being considered for the plots owned by Atlético de Madrid.

According to explanations provided to El Confidencial by various sources, the development comprises five 5-storey buildings – except for one that has 4 storeys – and to optimise the price, Gran Roque has decided to start by marketing just two of the blocks, which contain 55 flats. In other words, like other property developers have been doing in Madrid, if the first homes maintain a high rate of sales, all indications are that the prices in the subsequent phases will be higher.

The construction permit will be ready by the end of April or the beginning of May, and so the marketing cannot officially begin until then. Nevertheless, 20% of the 55 units have already been reserved, according to assurances given by those same sources.

The project includes 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom homes, all of which have a parking space and storeroom included in the price. The smallest units will go on the market from €450,000 plus VAT; the 3-bedroom homes will start at €550,000; and the largest homes will cost more than €600,000. That equates to a price of €5,700/m2, which is very high for many Madrilenians, but well below the prices typically charged for luxury developments.

Located just a few metres from Madrid Río and the Río Manzanares, the development will contain two swimming pools (one for children and one for adults), a gym, a children’s play area, a bicycle room and 24-hour surveillance, amongst other features. In total, it will have 1,719 m2 of common space (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Altamira Sells One of the Best Available Plots in Valencia for a Record Price

13 March 2018 – Levante EMV

Altamira has sold one of the best free plots in Valencia for a record price. An investor group formed by entrepreneurs from Valencia and Madrid is going to build 26 luxury homes and 6 studios alongside the Mestalla football stadium. Altamira and the buyers declined to specify the purchase price, but market sources place it close to €1,200/m2. That price exceeds the €800/m2 that the US fund Harbert Management Corporation (HMC) and its local partner Momentum Real Estate Investment Management (REIM) paid a few weeks ago for some plots in Campanar and Alfahuir.

The investor group in this deal is led by the businessmen José Luis Basterra Leseduarte, Ignacio Polo Portilla and Mauro Sanchis Cabanes. Those investors have constituted the company Edificios Mestalla with a share capital of €3.3 million. The name refers to its first project on the plot purchased from Altamira, which is to be called Edificio Mestalla.

Sources at the company indicated that the construction permit has already been requested from the Town Hall of Valencia and that they expect to start the building work in eight months. The plot, which used to belong to Banco Santander, is located at the junction of Calle Antonio Suárez and Calle Chile. The plot is located close to Avenida de Aragón and the Valencia Club de Fútbol’s stadium. In recent months, several property developers have bid for the plots, but in the end, the investor group has acquired them. Market sources insisted that it is “a very good plot” thanks to its strategic location.

Altamira, which is a manager of real estate assets and which is owned by Apollo and other funds (85%) and Banco Santander (15%) says that the plot spans 397 m2 and is equipped for 32 homes spread over seven storeys. The intermediary declined to provide more details about the price of the transaction on the grounds of confidentiality.

The investor group indicated that the building will comprise luxury homes containing between one and three bedrooms. The one-bedroom flats will measure 40 m2 and the three-bedroom properties will span 150 m2. In addition to the 26 homes and 6 studios, the property will also have retail premises. Edificios Mestalla expects to start marketing the homes soon, although it does not have a deadline yet for starting reservations. Olivares Consultores is going to exclusively market the development, according to a statement issued by the firm this morning.

Guaranteed market

Sources in the sector highlight that these types of luxury housing developments have “a market” in Valencia. These types of projects, located close to the centre, are being drip fed onto the market because there are no available plots left (…).

Original story: Levante EMV (by Ramón Ferrando)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Top 4 Property Developers Will Hand Over Just 680 Homes This Year

24 November 2017 – Cinco Días

The four large property developers that aspire to lead the residential market in Spain are going to hand over only 680 homes in 2017. The group comprises, on the one hand, two companies that are already listed, namely, Neinor and Aedas, and on the other hand, two that are likely to make their stock market debuts in 2018, namely, Metrovacesa and Vía Célere.

The real estate sector already regards these four companies as the largest in the sector; and on the stock market, they will have access to resources that many others will not. But all of them are at the beginning of the development of their businesses, in a joint bid to reactivate the residential market in Spain.

That reactivation can be clearly shown in the forecast of home deliveries to clients, which will rise from 680 in 2017 to more than 2,000 next year, according to data provided by the companies themselves. Normally, the process to sell homes off-plan and build them takes more than 24 months. And so these companies, which started to back the property development sector within the last two years, are likely to hand over the greatest number of homes from 2019 onwards.

In parallel, the sales business of the new companies is also growing. The four companies expect to sell almost 10,000 homes in total in 2018.

Moreover, for the last few months, Neinor, Aedas, Vía Célere and Metrovacesa have been creating their own land banks, making investments amounting to hundreds of millions of euros to acquire plots of land in Madrid, Barcelona and other capitals. The four companies own land sufficient to build 76,400 homes (…).

This year, work has started on the construction of 73,000 homes (versus 92,000 last year) in Spain, according to the construction permit figures compiled by the Ministry of Development. They are very modest volumes, which are still much closer to the minimum recorded in 2013 (58,740 homes) than the maximum recorded in 2006 (865,560 units).

The leaders of these four companies, which aspire to lead the sector on the stock market, have indicated on several occasions that the rate of house sales by its companies will reach 4,000 units once they are at cruising speed. That means that each one of them will have a market share of no more than 4% or 5% of a market that will exceed 100,000 new homes per year. Even the companies themselves consider those figures to be conservative and sustainable over the long term.

Neinor Homes is the most advanced in its business plan. It was the first to debut on the stock market in this new bullish cycle, in March, and now has a market capitalisation of almost €1,450 million (…). The company led by Juan Velayos plans to hand over the keys to 300 homes this year. It owns land with capacity to build up to 12,000 units, although the company is continuing to buy up plots of land. The four largest real estate companies will build around 38,000 homes over the next three years.

The next firm to debut on the stock market was Aedas Homes, which did so last month. It also has an international fund as its backer, in its case, the US firm Castlelake, which sold more than 45% of the capital in the IPO. (…). The company does not plan to hand over any homes this year, but will complete 230 in 2018. It also forecasts sales of 2,050 homes next year.

The company that is likely to be the next to make its stock market debut is the historical firm Metrovacesa (…). It is currently controlled by Santander (60% stake), BBVA (30%) and Popular (10%) (…). This year, it will hand over 160 homes and next year another 620 units, when it will also sell another 3,500 properties. It is expected to be the largest firm on the stock market and in the sector, given that it owns plots on which to build 40,000 homes.

Finally, the fund Värde Partners is working on bringing Vía Célere to the stock market (…). That company has not provided information about its forecasts, but in its annual accounts for 2016, it forecast the hand over of 223 homes this year and 201 next year (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Grupo Amenabar Joins Forces With Sareb To Build 100 Homes In Sevilla

20 November 2017 – Eje Prime

Grupo Amenabar is finding new work for its property developer. The Basque company, whose main line of business is construction, has been awarded the project to build one hundred homes in Sevilla, which will boost the growth of its residential development area. The project has been awarded by Sareb, after it put a 4,373 m2 plot of land up for auction in the La Florida area of the Andalucian capital. The two companies will work together to build the complex.

The two entities are working against the clock to submit the basic design before 27 November, in order to obtain the construction permit from the Town Hall of Sevilla and thus be in a position to sign the contract, according to ABC.

The plot in La Florida used to be owned by the company Novaindes, until it filed for creditor bankruptcy and liquidated its company following the burst of the real estate bubble. Sareb took over the land in 2013 for €61 million.

Amenabar Promociones Residenciales is the property developer arm of the Basque group, whose turnover in 2016 amounted to €380 million. The property developer from San Sebastián has invested more than €200 million on the purchase of land over the last two years. Most of the land it has acquired is located in Madrid, País Vasco, Cataluña, Navarra and the Costa del Sol, but it is also considering investment opportunities in other provincial capitals.

The group currently has a land portfolio spanning more than half a million square metres, worth €900 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Servihabitat: House Sales Will Rise By 15.2% In 2017

12 July 2017 – Expansión

According to the “Residential Market in Spain” report compiled by Servihabitat Trends, the analysis platform backed by Servihabitat, house prices are forecast to rise by 4.1% on average this year and the number of sales operations is set to increase by 15.2%, to exceed 465,000.

In addition, the number of new house starts is expected to grow by 15.3% and the number of finished properties will increase by 20.2%, whilst the stock of new homes looks set to decrease by 17.8%.

According to the report, the residential market is showing clear signs of recovery this year.

The CEO at Servihabitat, Julián Cabanillas, has said that “all indicators show that the sector is enjoying sustained and established growth, albeit at different rates. The process of normalisation in the market, with an increase in pressure from demand and the consequent increase in prices, is not happening in a homogeneous way across the country”, he explained.

According to Servihabitat, demand is continuing to rise due to job stability, an increase in household incomes and an increase in the volume of loans granted.

Moreover, demand for investment is growing – it already accounts for between 20% (primary residences) and 22% (holiday homes) of all operations.

The volume of supply of new homes is also continuing its rising trend.

The number of new homes started will increase by 15.3% this year, to 75,500 and the number of finished homes will rise by 20.2% to 48,500.

In terms of construction permits, the figure is expected to amount to almost 116,000 this year, which will represent a rise of 25.9%.

The stock of new homes is set to decrease by 17.8% to amount to 324,000.

According to Cabanillas, the technical stock will amount to between 160,000 and 170,000 homes.

The pressure exerted on demand will drive up prices but in a moderate and non-homogenous way.

This year, the average value of a home is expected to rise by 4.1%.

Cabanillas rules out the possibility of a real estate bubble building in the short and medium term because “the fundamentals are nothing like those that existed before the crisis”.

In terms of the rental market, the report reveals that rental prices rose by between 4% and 5% during the first half of 2017.

Increases of between 2.5% and 5% are expected during the second half of the year, depending on the location of each property.

Servihabitat renders services for the integral management of financial and real estate assets.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Invesco Buys Property On c/Serrano 53 For €52M

14 December 2016 – Expansión

The German fun Invesco Real Estate is heading into the final stretch of the year as one of the most active funds in the Spanish real estate market, having invested more than €500 million in 2016. Its latest acquisition is Serrano 53. The building on the famous Madrilenian street was constructed in 1905. It is primarily a residential property, but it also houses a retail space, which has been vacant for some time. Its previous owners, a Spanish family office, searched for a tenant for several months following the departure of the accessories company Jota Ele. In the end, it sold the property to Invesco for €52 million.

The German fund will now be responsible for leasing the premises, along with the new homes. The latter represents a change in strategy for the fund. To this end, Invesco has engaged the firms Catella and Knight Frank, which will be responsible for searching for new tenants for the retail and residential premises, respectively, whilst Barba Grupo Inmobiliaria will lead the design of the new homes.

The German fund’s plans, which involve an investment of more than €3 million, will retain the nineteenth century character of the building, with a renovation that will allow the wrought-iron balconies to be conserved, along with the original entrance doorway and interior staircase. In total, Serrano 53 will contain nine homes measuring more than 200 m2. Invesco has already applied for the construction permit, with the aim of handing over the homes to their new owners in June 2018. Although the asking price for these properties has not been set yet, they are expected to fetch between €9,000/m2 and €10,000/m2.

Retail premises

The retail premises on Serrano 53 will be ready sooner. Just a few metres away from Chopard, Cartier and Gucci, this space is one of the largest premises available on the exclusive Madrilenian street. In total, it has a surface area of 1,800 m2 spread over three floors, which is unusual in an area characterised by much smaller stores. “This is a unique property due to its size, and because it shares its location with prestigious brands”, said Íñigo Gutiérrez, Senior Advisor at Catella. “The objective is to lease this store to a luxury brand”, he added.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Given Green Light To Build Skyscraper In Las Tablas

11 November 2016 – Cinco Días

The Socimi Merlin Properties has been given the green light to add an important office complex to its already gigantic portfolio of real estate assets. The company has just completed an operation to purchase the Adequa business park in Madrid, in a transaction agreed over the summer with the fund Lone Star, for which it will pay €380 million.

According to sources in the market, the one outstanding item on the Socimi’s to do list was to obtain a construction permit to allow it to build an office block, measuring more than 100m tall, in the Adequa business park, which currently comprises six buildings.

As soon as the Socimi led by Ismael Clemente (CEO) obtained the permit, it paid €310 million to the fund plus another €70 million to complete that milestone, explain sources in the sector.

The US fund Lone Star put the business park up for sale in the spring of 2016. It was awarded the asset after agreeing to take on the debt of the now inactive company Bami Newco. That real estate company, created by the late Joaquín Rivero, filed for liquidation last year after going bankrupt with debt amounting to €652 million.

The former property developer had already drawn up plans to build the tower, which will require an investment of between €70 million and €75 million from the Socimi. The skyscraper will add office space of around 29,000 m2 to the business park. In addition, another adjacent building will be built, with a surface area of around 15,000 m2. Construction work is expected to begin in 2018 and terminate at the end of 2019.

Adequa currently has a surface area of 121,000m2, spread over six office buildings, as well as a centre for services and commerce (5,000 m2), which houses a gym, restaurants, a nursery and three padel courts.

The business park is located on Avenida de Burgos, at the entrance to the Las Tablas neighbourhood and is very close to BBVA’s new headquarters. It is home to the offices of Renault España, Técnicas Reuidas and Costa Cruceros, amongst others.

This is the first major operation undertaken by Merlin Properties since it completed the absorption of the historical Metrovacesa last month. The Socimi, created in 2014, now owns assets worth €9,600 million, which make it one of the top 10 Socimis in Europe. (…).

Santander, which used to be the largest shareholder of the former Metrovacesa, now controls 22.3% of Merlin; meanwhile, BBVA owns a 6.4% stake. The Socimi’s original shareholders include the fund Principal Financial Group, which retains a 3% stake.

Merlin, which is now chaired by Rodrigo Echenique – Vice-President at Santander – is also working on the development of another office building in Madrid, on the so-called Isla Chamartín, very close to Adequa, by the junction of the A-1 and M-11 motorways.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Development: Housing Permits Rise By 37%

30 September 2016 – Expansión

The number of housing permits granted by the college of technical architects soared by 37% during the first seven months of the year, to reach 39,497, the best figure between January and July since 2011, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Development.

Despite the increase, residential construction permits are still a long way from the highs recorded in 2007, when at the height of the boom, 448,991 permits were granted between January and July, i.e. 91% more than have been issued so far this year.

The number of housing permits started the year (2016) with an increase of 44% to 4,943. In February, the YoY increase was 35%, as 5,663 permits were granted, whilst in March the figure doubled to 6,176. In April, the increase was more moderate, up by 6.5% to 4,795 permits and in May the number soared by 79% to 7,985. In June, the figure rose by just 0.6% and in July, double-digit growth returned with an increase of 21%.

The total number of permits granted for new builds, renovations and extensions during the seven months to July was 56,407, which represents an increase of 24.6% with respect to 2015.

By property type, the number of permits granted to construct block housing rose by 45.5%, to 29,362 licences, whilst the number granted for family homes grew by 17% to 10,129.

In terms of surface area, the average size of family homes amounted to 200 sqm, whilst the average size of apartments in block housing stood at 117 sqm.

Since the Ministry of Development began to prepare these statistics in 1991, the number of permits reached their historical monthly minimum in August 2013, when just 1,585 permits were granted. The historical monthly maximum was recorded in September 2006, when 126,753 permits were granted.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

International Funds Reactivate Residential Development Market

7 July 2016 – El Economista

After several years away, cranes are appearing on Spain’s landscape once again. Their return has come thanks to several large international funds, which have managed to reactivate the property developer market in record time and just at the right moment. Thanks to their presence, property developer activity in Spain grew by 30% last year, with 50,000 new construction permits; and the experts are certain that the residential business is now unstoppable.

The financial capacity of the new players is overwhelming in some cases. They have liquidity surpluses that the historical property developers would have envied, but, nevertheless, they do not know the ‘ins and outs’ of the local market, and their experience in terms of land is practically non-existent. For this reason, their entry into the Spanish market has been undertaken through the purchase of property developer platforms and through partnerships with local companies (…).

In light of the high profile partnerships that have been signed in the last two years, involving players such as Lone Star, Värde and Kennedy Wilson, the experts predict that the high level of activity will continue this year with the purchase of plots of land. In fact, they confirm that sales of non-developable land are starting to accelerate and that demand for land purchases will increase, especially those in the final stages of development, due to the high level of competition that has been generated between the key players in the sector – property developers, investment funds and cooperatives.

All of these players have realised that the opportunities that the residential development business is now offering “have yields that are considerably higher than those of other investments”, according to Solvia’s Market View report, which states that transactions have grown by 8.6% and prices have risen by around 4.5%. With these positive indicators, the development figures being talked about now include 150,000 new homes and 50,000 secondary residences per year until 2020.

Most of these homes will come onto the market thanks to Neinor Homes, which is looking to become the largest property developer in Spain. This company will be one of the most active over the next few years, given that according to its own forecasts, it expects to build between 2,500 and 3,000 homes per year. The firm, led by Juan Velayos – the former CEO of Renta Corporación – is the largest residential real estate company created in Spain following seven years of recession.

Its potential was proven last year, since between its creation, in May 2015, and the end of the year, it invested own funds amounting to €800 million on the purchase of land, on which it plans to construct 10,000 homes over the next few years, bringing together the largest bank of high-quality developable land in Spain (…).

But Lone Star is not the only fund that has made a long-term commitment to the Spanish residential market. The US fund has had a major competitor for several weeks now, in the form of Värde, which after acquiring 25% of the real estate arm of San José from Banco Popular, has now created a new property developer.

The company is called dospuntos and its Business Plan for 2016-2012 forecasts an investment of almost €2,000 million in the Spanish real estate market over the next six years, to complete the construction of 2,000 homes per year on average from 2019 onwards. For the time being, the group already owns a sizeable bank of land for the construction of more than 7,000 homes across Spain.

Inmobiliaria Habitat is another company with history in the sector, which in 2015, after finding itself in a very delicate financial situation and incapable of paying its debt, ended up in the hands of a group of funds – Bank of America Merril Lynch, SP101 Finance Ireland, Capstone and Goldman Sachs, amongst others. In this case, although the commitment by the funds has been key, it is nonetheless a temporary measure, given that they plan to exit the group within two or three years.

The latest residential report from the consultancy firm CBRE highlights other partnerships between international funds and domestic developers such as: Grupo Lar and Pimco; Renta Corporación and Kennedy Wilson; Momentum Real Estate and HMC; Aquila Capital and Inmoglaciar; Mina Inmobiliaria and Eurostone; Aelca and Värde; and Q21 Real Estate and Baupost. (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

As House Sales Rise & Stocks Fall, Should We Build More Homes?

3 June 2016 – Idealista

In 2016, the number of house sales is forecast to rise by 10% to 440,000 operations, almost 40,000 more than last year. This increase in the volume of transactions is also expected to result in a 25% reduction in the stock of unsold new homes, without exerting excessive pressure on house prices, which are predicted to rise by 3.8%. That is the outlook described by Servihabitat for the next few months. (…).

In this vein, the number of unsold new homes has been gradually decreasing in recent years. According to Servihabitat, the stock will decrease by 125,000 properties during 2016, to 367,500, which represents a decrease of 25% compared with 2015. By contrast, construction of 44,600 homes will be started this year and another 50,800 residential properties will be finished.

The statistics have opened a debate over whether the rate of residential construction should be increased or not. Like everything in this life, it depends. The post-crisis real estate market is moving at double speed and, whilst in some places everything that is being built is being sold; in other areas, there is barely any demand and there is a huge stock of homes constructed during the boom years, for which there are no buyers.

“The reduction in stock is not uniform across the country. The major cities have experienced a gradual reduction in the number of homes up for sale to reach the so-called technical stock”, explained Juan Carlos Álvarez, Director General of the Real Estate Business at Servihabitat.

That means that in the autonomous regions of Madrid and Cataluña, the difference between finished homes and new homes sold amounts to a balanced figure of 1,000 units. The forecasts show that the stock of new homes in Madrid will decrease by 64.2% this year, to 4,792 homes. In the case of Cataluña, the reduction will amount to 23.3%, leaving 10,553 recently constructed homes.

There is little doubt that in certain areas of the major capitals, everything that is being built is being sold. “Nevertheless, that is not happening in the metropolitan areas or peripheral towns. There is still an abundant stock in some areas that will be difficult to get rid of, given that current and potential demand is not looking for new homes in those areas”, says Álvarez.

For that reason, we need to differentiate between pre-crisis stock – which is generally poorly located, has little demand and is very difficult to sell – and the post-crisis stock, which is better placed and has better sales prospects. (…).

The problem of uncertainty

Although the data is positive and, according to Julián Cabanillas, “the current political uncertainty is not affecting the sector”, the CEO of Servihabitat identifies a problem that may weigh down on the good performance of the real estate market, “which is the sensitivity to the legal uncertainty that results from the lack of homogeneity in decision making by local and regional governments, which affects investors’ interest in real estate. (…).

Sources in the sector say that since the new government arrived in the Town Hall of Madrid, the time it takes to obtain the necessary permits to begin construction of housing developments has doubled “from four months to eight”, which represents a huge cost for property developers and which inevitably impacts the final price of homes.

Servihabitat is calling for the different authorities to employ “greater balance in the protection of the rights and duties of all agents in the market and a greater balance in terms of decision making”.

Original story: Idealista (by David Marrero)

Translation: Carmel Drake