Eurostat: House Prices Rose by 6.2% in Spain in 2017

11 July 2018 – Eje Prime

The acceleration of the housing market has placed Spain amongst the leading countries in Europe in terms of price rises. In fact, in just one year, the country has risen from 21st position, with an average increase of 4.6% in 2016, to 12th , with an average increase of 6.2% last year.

In 2016, Spain already exceeded the average rise for the European Union as a whole, which amounted to 4.6% at the time, but in 2017, it distanced itself further from the average, moving closer to the group of countries with the highest rises in prices: whilst in Spain, the increase amounted to 6.2% in 2017, the average rise for the European Union as a whole was 4.4%.

Spain outperformed Austria, where prices rose by 8.5% in 2016 (in 2017, they only increased by 5.3%); Norway, which went from an increase of 7.9% in 2016 to 5.4% in 2017; and the United Kingdom, where house prices increased by 7% in 2016 and by 4.5% in 2017.

Iceland, the Czech Republic and Ireland were, in that order, the three markets where house prices rose by the most in 2017, with rises of 19.5%, 11.7% and 10.9%, respectively. Iceland was the only country to feature in the top 3 in both years; in 2016, it was joined by Hungary and Sweden.

Several countries from Eastern Europe, such as Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary (with high volatilities in terms of the evolution of house prices) were amongst the most inflationary in terms of house prices in 2017, together with countries in Western Europe, such as Portugal, where prices rose by 9.2%; the Netherlands (7.5%) and Sweden (6.4%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the only European country where house prices decreased in 2017 was Italy, with a reduction of -0.8%. It was accompanied by moderate price increases in Finland (1.6%), Cyprus (2.2%), France (3.6%) and Croatia and Poland (both 3.8%).

The figures from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, include purchase prices of new and second-hand homes. According to the EU entity, these prices “have fluctuated significantly since 2006”. “The annual growth rate in the European Union as a whole was close to 8% in 2006 and 2007, followed by decreases of 4% as a result of the financial crisis”, it continued.

Prices started to increase in 2014, with an average cumulative rise across the whole of the European Union of 11% between 2010 and 2017, and of 6% in the Eurozone during the same period, according to Eurostat. In the case of Spain, despite the increases in recent years, the country has registered a cumulative decrease of 17% since the start of the century.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Christian de Angelis)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Large Investors Manage Only c. 3% of Spain’s Rental Homes

28 May 2018 – Cinco Días

In recent months, a new name has been added to the list of alleged culprits to blame for the fact that rental prices in large cities are rising at a dangerously accelerated pace – they increased by between 10% and 18% last year. They are what the experts call the large owners of rental home portfolios. And are otherwise known as Socimis, investment funds, servicers and, to a much lesser extent, public companies.

But, how many homes are we talking about (…)? And what percentage do they represent over the total stock of rental homes? Taking into account that no official figures are compiled for the number of rental homes in Spain, and that we only talk about percentages of the total number of households (…) the truth is that the task seems complicated.

Nevertheless, according to the calculations performed by Cinco Días and after having requested data from the large funds, the resulting figure is so small, both in absolute and relative terms, that it seems to have almost no or limited influence on the evolution of rental prices. The figures compiled by CBRE reveal a balance that ranges between 2% and 4% of the total stock of rental homes. “It is possible that they have an influence at the local level in areas where more homes managed by those kinds of companies are concentrated, but it is clear that they cannot be blamed for what is happening to rental prices”, explains Sandra Daza, Director General at Gesvalt.

Thus, the statistics compiled by the Government and Eurostat reveal that approximately 22% of Spanish households live in rental properties, a figure that has increased considerably from 15% before the outbreak of the crisis (…).

Multiple factors

In this way, if we take as the reference the most recent figure for the number of households during the first quarter of this year, according to the Active Population Survey (EPA), of the 18.55 million households in Spain, 4.07 million were rental homes.

Of that volume of household-homes, a total of 114,000 homes are in the hands of the 15 largest investors, which together account for just 2.8% of the total stock of rental homes (…).

As Samuel Población, the National Director of Residential and Land at CBRE, explains, the increase in this regime of tenure over buying is driven by several factors. The new labour market, with more instability and lower salaries, is forcing many households to rent, plus all the demand that was expelled from purchasing during the crisis (…).

This increase in demand has not been accompanied by a parallel rise in the supply to the same extent and that is what is causing most of the tension in terms of rental prices, together with the effect of tourist apartments in certain neighbourhoods of large cities and higher visitor numbers. Not even the fact that one out of every five homes purchased is destined for rent to make the investment profitable has managed to generate more homes for rent.

“The current rise is a consequence of the large gap between demand and supply”, says Wolfgang Beck, CEO of the Socimi Testa Residencial, one of the largest owners of this kind of asset (…).

“It does not make sense to attribute the rise in rental prices to the funds. They have a long-term focus and are actually responsible for increasing the stock of rental homes on the market”, says Javier Rodríguez Heredia, Head of the Residential team at the housing manager Azora.

“Establishing regulations that provide certainty for institutional investors to make it attractive for them to enter the sector would result in the creation of a rental home stock commensurate with the needs of the country”, he said (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro & Alfonso Simón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rents In Azca’s Towers Exceed Those In The Cuatro Torres

12 September 2017 – El Economista

The Cuatro Torres skyscrapers, to the north of Madrid, are no longer casting a shadow over Azca, which is establishing itself as the iconic business district in the city. With views overlooking the Paseo de la Castellana and just a stone’s throw from the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and the Nuevos Ministerios transport hub, this business centre has managed to renew itself, to avoid being left behind compared with other areas of Madrid. So much so, that the rents for its recently renovated skyscrapers are 16.6% higher per square metre than the most expensive space in the Cuatro Torres, to the north of the city.

Castellana 81, the historical headquarters of BBVA, leads the ranking in terms of rental prices in Madrid, given that its empty space is being marketed for between €27 and €35 per square metre per month. This tower, designed by the prestigious architect Sáenz de Oiza, has been subjected to a comprehensive renovation by its owner, the Socimi GMP, which spent €30 million renovating one of its most iconic properties in Azca and on Madrid’s skyline.

The asset, which became a multi-tenant property when it first came onto the market, has already managed to conquer new companies following the departure of the banking entity, which moved to its own financial city, in Las Tablas, to the north of Madrid. Thus, in the last few months, rental contracts have been signed with Teka and Hays.

At the forefront of design

Castellana 77, which is also owned by the Montoro family’s real estate company and the Singapore sovereign fund, GIC, has been the subject of another of the major renovation projects that has been carried out in Azca and which has positioned the business district at the forefront of design. Its façade is covered with slats that protect it from direct sunlight and which are lit up at night in a diverse range of colours.

The tenant that decides to lease the office space in this building, which spans 16,200 m2 over 18 floors, will be able to choose the colour of the tower, which has more than 200 parking spaces as well as charging points for electric cars. With these features, this property has the second highest rents in Azca, which range between €28 and €33 per square metre per month.

And it is followed closely by Torre Europa, which housed the headquarters of the professional services firm KPMG for many years. Following the move of that consultancy firm to the Cuatro Torres, the tower has been renovated to turn it into the first intelligent and connected office building in Spain. Infinorsa, the majority owner of this skyscraper, which overlooks the Santiago Bernabéu, has invested €20 million on a facelift of the façade, which had not been changed for 30 years, and above all, on the renovation of the interior, which has given a radical about-turn to the essence of this 121m-tall tower (…).

Rents in this tower now range between €27 and €32 per square metre per month. Its renovation has already captivated one of the large international law firms, Freshfields (…). The US firm AOL has also decided to move its Spanish corporate headquarters to Torre Europa, as well as a pharmaceutical company (…).

Torre Picasso, the tallest skyscraper in Azca, at 156m, has not undergone such a comprehensive renovation as its neighbours, but following the departure of the consultancy firm EY to Torre Titania, 15,000 m2 of space there was left vacant. Some of that space in the tower owned by Pontegadea – the investment arm of Amancio Ortega – will be leased to Deloitte, which will thereby become its largest tenant. After several improvements to the property, the highest floors are now being marketed for €31/m2/month (…).

Rents in the Cuatro Torres barely reach €30/m2/month

Nevertheless, in the new financial district located in the north of Madrid and known as Las Cuatro Torres, only one of the towers manages to charge a rent of €30/m2/month, even though the buildings are much younger, given that they were inaugurated between the years 2008 and 2009.

Office space in Torre Espacio ranges between €29 and €30 per square metre per month. The Philippine group Emperador, which owns this skyscraper (…) renewed the image of the tower at the end of last year and launched a new marketing plan with the aim of finding tenants for the 8,800 m2 that were vacant in the building at that time.

Next in the ranking is Torre Cepsa, for which Amancio Ortega (…) paid €490 million last year. It is occupied almost in its entirety by the oil and gas company whose name it bears; the cost of the 15,000 m2 of space that is available ranges between €23 and €28 per square metre per month.

Meanwhile, Torre de Cristal, the tallest skyscraper in Spain, at 210m, is the most affordable of its neighbours, since its available space is being marketed for between €25 and €27 per square metre per month. Last year, KPMG left the Azca area and moved to this property, where it leases around 23,000 m2 (…).

Next door is Torre PwC, leased to the consultancy firm whose name it bears and the five-star hotel Eurostars. Its owner is the Socimi Merlin Properties (…) and PwC reportedly pays €19/m2/month.

The Cuatro Torres complex is now getting ready to receive a fifth tower, Torre Caleido. That property, which is currently being constructed (…), will be leased to IE Business School and Grupo Quirón-Salud (…), who will reportedly pay between €15 and €18 per square metre per month (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake