ACR: Residential Construction Costs Rose by 12.1% YoY in 2017

25 January 2018 – Cinco Días

The rate of inflation in the house building sector is causing concern. That has been reflected in recent months not only by the trade association but also by companies in the sector and other entities such as Sociedad de Tasación. On Thursday, some of the first data evidencing this phenomenon was published. Over the last year, to December 2017, the cost of residential construction rose by 12.1%. That is reflected in the recently created Index of Direct Construction Costs, prepared by the Navarran construction group ACR.

The index also shows that the increase has amounted to 17.5% over the last two years. The figure indicates that in 2017, these costs grew dramatically and that they accelerated. “Costs mainly grow for two reasons, a shortage of labour and a lack of manufacturing capacity in trades such as structures and façades”, said Michel Elizalde, CEO of the ACR Group.

The company has obtained this data from its construction sites in Madrid and is convinced that the inflationary figures can be extrapolated to other companies in the sector and to other regions such as Barcelona, Málaga, País Vasco and Zaragoza, where the housing market has reactivated.

Nevertheless, at the level of the general Spanish market, that rise is not being reflected in the most active areas. The statistics from the Ministry of Development indicate that in October 2017 (latest available figures), the cost of residential constructions had risen by 5.5 points since 2010. Sources at ACR report that the minimums were recorded in 2012 and 2013 after prices had been contained and have only been starting to rise since 2016.

“There is more tension when it comes to labour costs”, acknowledged Elizalde, basically due to the lack of qualified professionals in certain trades such as framers and rebar workers, according to ACR, as well as those involved with bricklaying, experts in partition walls, façades, flooring, tiling and carpenters. That causes teams and subcontractors to change construction site in the middle of house building projects if another company offers to pay them more.

“Contractors are suffering from this situation,” said the Head of ACR, given that property developers are contracting turnkey projects with fixed costs and the construction companies are, in turn, those who are suffering from a lack of professionals.

“There is a shortage of trained professionals because many of those who left during the crisis are not coming back or have now retired”, said the director.

In YoY terms, prices have increased by the most in glass making (25.2%), façades (15.4%), earth moving (15.6%) and structures (13.4%).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

In Tempo: Bankruptcy Administrator Rules In Favour Of Sareb

17 January 2017 – El Mundo

The bankruptcy administrator of Olga Urbana, the property developer of the In Tempo skyscraper in Benidorm, whose future is being decided by the courts, is clear in its findings: neither Abanca (previously Caixa Galicia) nor Sareb (the bad bank) were administrators of the bankrupt company and therefore, neither of them were responsible for the management that led the company to suspend its payments after it accumulated debt amounting to €137 million.

In this way, the position of the bankruptcy administrator, Antonia Magdaleno, who has presented her conclusions about the In Tempo case before the Mercantile Court of Alicante, which is instructing the process, represents a lifeline for the interests of Olga Urbana’s major creditors, above all for Sareb, which is hoping to repossess the property and subsequently sell it to recover some of its debt, which amounts to around €107 million.

Magdaleno considers…that Sareb’s debt should be ranked as special privilege, which would place it at the front of the queue when it comes to receiving proceeds once the building is sold. By contrast, the small creditors, who initiated this bankruptcy proceeding, maintain that Abanca and Sareb did act as administrators of In Tempo’s developer, and therefore that their loans should be considered as subordinated, which would force them to the back of the queue when it comes to receiving any proceeds, whereby allowing the other creditors to recover their loans first.

Magdaleno reminded the Court that construction of In Tempo, the tallest residential skyscraper in Spain, was suspended in 2010 by which point Olga Urbana had used up the entire loan – amounting to €90 million – granted to it by Abanca, something which the small creditors deny. This group of creditors (the construction company Kono, Isidro Bononat – a shareholder of Olga Urbana – and the architect Roberto Pérez Guerras) say that Magdaleno’s investigations have not been independent. (…).

Sareb, which took over the loan that Abanca had previously granted to Olga Urbana, maintains its claim against the Attorney General’s office in which it accuses Olga Urbana of “alleged diversion of funds and company links between owners and administrators of the company and some of their own contractors and suppliers”. The entity calculates that €23 million was diverted.

Similarly, the bankruptcy administrator argues that the fact that Sareb requested the necessary bankruptcy of Olga Urbana “does not represent another example of the bad bank’s involvement in the administration of the business, but rather represents a standard option open to all creditors when a Board of Directors is not fulfilling its duties”. Magdaleno is categorical in this respect. “There is no proof whatsoever that allows us to conclude that first Abanca and subsequently Sareb, carried out any functions akin to those of a real company administrator”. The judge will have the final word.

Original story: El Mundo (by F.D.G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake