19 December 2016 – La Vanguardia
The real estate market in Barcelona is on course to break records again this year. It is expected to end 2016 with total investment operations amounting to €2,500 million, compared with €1,978 million last year, according to data presented by the real estate consultant Aguirre Newman on Thursday.
2016 will also be a “historical” year for Spain as a whole, with investment figures once again exceeding the level recorded in 2007, the year before the outbreak of the crisis. Investment operations worth almost €14,000 million are forecast to be closed.
Cataluña accounts for 20% of Spain’s total investment in this sector, although that figure is set to increase to 25% in 2017, given the significant potential of Barcelona.
The Director General of Aguirre Newman in Barcelona, Anna Gener, explained that; demand in Barcelona is still very active; there is still a lack of available land for sale; international demand is very active; and the real estate market is regarded as an attractive sector for investment.
Of the total investment volume expected this year, €860 million correspond to offices, down by 2.8% compared to last year, given that 2015 was a year of “blossoming”, when several major corporate operations were recorded after years of crisis.
The residential market will reach €120 million this year, shopping centre investment will amount to €865 million, retail investment will reach €100 million and investment in the industrial sector will amount to €144.1 million, up by 61%, due to the scarcity of land.
Around 80% of the investment volume has been made by international buyers; and domestic investors “are back again” after years away, according to Hipólito Sánchez, Director of Investments.
57% of the investments were made by funds, 26% by Socimis, 10% by private equity firms, 3% by institutional investors and 2% by insurance companies.
The leasing of office space continues to be a very active market; the availability rate has been decreasing since 2012 and now stands at 9.9%.
Construction activity is continuing to recover, with a 40% increase in the number of new construction permits compared to 2016.
The average price of free (unsubsidised) housing increased by 9% in Barcelona this year and by 4.5% across Cataluña. There was also a great deal of interest in renovation projects and in changes of building use status towards high standing residential properties in the centre of Barcelona, where more than 60% of buyers are foreign. (…).
The retail sector has continued to receive interest from investment funds and private equity firms in the main areas of the centre of Barcelona.
La Diagonal has established itself as an area of expansion following its renovation, with a 30% increase in rental income in just two years and the opening of megastores by certain brands, such as Massimo Dutti, Zara, Uniqlo and H&M.
The most important operation in the shopping centre sector was the sale of Diagonal Mar to Deutsche Bank for €495 million.
Another sector that continued to attract investors was logistics, whose investment volume increased by 60% with respect to last year, due to the shortage of land. (…).
The hotel sector has also continued to perform very well, given that prices per room have increased, thanks in part to the fact that there are no new competitors.
The forecasts for 2017 indicate that the real estate sector will continue to attract international investors, demand will continue to be very active, and products will continue to be scarce, although prices are not predicted to rise by very much.
Original story: La Vanguardia
Translation: Carmel Drake