Cerberus Extends €30.9-Million Loan to Optimum RE After Acquisition

24 September 2019 – The American private equity firm Cerberus, through its Irish subsidiary Promontoria Bravo, has granted a €30.9 million loan to the socimi Optimum RE. The unsecured loans were granted in two separate agreements worth 28.9 million euros and 1.9 million euros.

Optimum was able to substitute the new loans for a previous, secured loan worth 28.9 million euros. Promontoria Bravo acquired 99.4% of the socimi in September for €69 million.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Barings Lends Kronos €40 Million to Finance Construction of New Shopping Centre

6 August 2019

The Kronos Investment Group announced that it had arranged a €40-million loan with Barings to finance the construction of a new shopping centre in the town of Dos Hermanas, Seville. The investment manager has lent 40 million euros to the union between the developer and another company to build a commercial park of 48,646 square meters and 2,000 parking spaces.

The new complex will have 64 stores, 70% of which have already been pre-leased. Construction is set to begin shortly and the mall is slated to open by the summer of 2020.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

CaixaBank Creates a Subsidiary to Finance Loans to Property Developers

17 June 2019 – Eje Prime

CaixaBank has created a new subsidiary to finance loans to property developers. The entity will operate under the brand CaixaBank Real Estate&Homes and will seek stable agreements with established property developers such as Neinor, Aedas Homes and Vía Célere, amongst others.

In 2018, CaixaBank financed 581 real estate projects lending €2.6 billion in total, up by 13% YoY. Moreover, 84% of the developments financed by the bank last year corresponded to projects involving less than 50 homes.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Spain Needs 150,000 New Homes Per Year But the Market is Capable of Delivering Only 75,000

16 May 2019 – El Confidencial

According to the experts, on the basis of the rate of formation of new households and for a healthy residential market, Spain needs to produce between 120,000 and 150,000 new homes per year. Those figures are a far cry from the 650,000 units that were constructed in 2007, just before the outbreak of the real estate crisis. Nevertheless, the latest data reveals that even 150,000 homes is too ambitious a target, at least for the next few years.

That is according to the latest Real Estate Pulsometer, compiled by the Cátedra Inmobiliaria in collaboration with the University of Málaga, which estimates that 70,400 new homes will be finished by the end of this year and 77,100 by the end of next year. In other words, half the number needed. The reason? According to José Antonio Pérez, Director General of the Cátedra Inmobiliaria, “In simple terms, the sector does not have sufficient manpower to build that many homes. There are sufficient numbers of qualified people – such as architects and surveyors -, but there is a distinct lack of basic labour, such as workmen and builders”.

Tens of thousands of jobs were destroyed in the construction sector during the crisis. At the height of the boom, the sector and its related segments employed almost 2 million people, but by 2017 (latest available data), that figure barely exceeded 800,000. In other words, almost 60% of the workers had disappeared. Most have either left the country (many were foreigners) or reinvented themselves in other sectors and are reluctant to return to construction now.

Employment in the construction sector has recovered slightly over the last three years, with almost half a million people working in the sector. But that figure is not sufficient to build the homes that the country needs, which means delays and higher construction costs.

Lack of bank financing

The situation is compounded by the lack of available land and the shortage of bank financing to launch those 150,000 homes. The banks are willing to finance just 65,000 homes per year, according to Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, President of Asprima (the Association of Property Developers of Madrid). Several alternative financing funds are trying to cover the gap but they are not enough.

It is also true that stagnant salaries and problems of affordability for young people are other factors at play against the construction of so many homes.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

OHL Negotiates the Sale of Canalejas for €200M to Raise Liquidity

15 April 2019 – Expansión

The construction group OHL is considering selling its 50% stake in the Canalejas complex in order to raise cash. The other half was acquired by the PokerStars founder, Mark Scheinberg, in February 2017.

Canalejas, which is located in the centre of Madrid, just a stone’s throw from Puerta del Sol, and which is going to house Spain’s first Four Seasons hotel, with 200 rooms and a 15,000 m2 high-end shopping arcade, is one of the jewel’s in OHL’s crown. Nevertheless, the construction company chaired by Juan Villar-Mir de Fuentes, needs funding to undertake new projects and return to growth, and so it is considering selling its 50% stake in the complex.

Although no formal competitive process has been opened, sources report that preliminary conversations are being held with interested investors, including one international fund.

Canalejas spans a surface area of 50,000 m2 and its development has involved the investment of €525 million. The complex is due to open in the final quarter of this year.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo & C. Morán)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Bank of Spain Warns of Mismatch Between Housing Supply and Demand

11 April 2019 – El Confidencial

According to the Bank of Spain, there is a mismatch between the homes that buyers are demanding and those that are available for sale. Indeed, that is one of the main conclusions of the latest report published by the supervisory body entitled the “Recent evolution of the housing market in Spain”.

According to the report, one of the key characteristics of the Spanish property market is its high degree of heterogeneity by region, type of home (new and second-hand) and buyer nationality. “The characteristics of the homes demanded do not necessarily match with the available supply, in certain places, and may differ in terms of size, quality and location”.

In addition, the Bank of Spain warns about the difficulties that young people are facing when it comes to affording a home, as a result of their precarious working conditions. Their situation is further compounded by changes made in recent years regarding tax breaks (the removal of them) for buying a home and the growth of the rental sector.

The Bank’s analysis focuses on Madrid and Barcelona, which are both very close to the peaks of the boom in terms of rental prices. Meanwhile, house prices are currently around their 2006 levels.

Nevertheless, according to the report, it does now seem easier to obtain a mortgage or at least one with more favourable terms for the borrower. Interest rates have decreased and lending periods (mortgage terms) have increased. Approval criteria and general financing conditions have also been relaxed.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E.S.)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Quabit Issues 4-Year Bonds Amounting to €20M

29 March 2019 – Valencia Plaza

The property developer Quabit Inmobiliaria has issued bonds amounting to €20 million through its wholly owned subsidiary Quabit Finance. The bonds have a maturity of 4 years and a coupon of 8.25%, which will be paid annually.

The success of the placement represents a great boost to the company’s strategy and confirms investors’ confidence in its management capacity. The funds raised will be used to undertake new investments, finance new projects and whereby continue with the firm’s growth and expansion plan.

Original story: Valencia Plaza

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

VBare Earned €4.8M in 2018 & Plans to Raise More Financing in 2019

5 March 2019 – Eje Prime

The Socimi VBare, which specialises in the management of residential assets, generated a profit of €4.8 million in 2018, up by 100% compared to the previous year. That increase was driven by the strong performance of its rental income and an appreciation in the value of its portfolio.

In this context, the company is going to carry out another capital increase within the coming months to finance the acquisition of more properties and further fatten up its portfolio.

The company’s revenue also increased in 2018 to €1.4 million, up by 33% compared to 2017, when the Socimi generated sales from gross rental income of €1.07 million.

At the end of 2018, VBare’s assets were worth €50 million, up by 76% YoY and the occupancy rate of its portfolio amounted to 90% at year end (vs. 83% at the end of 2017).

Looking ahead, the Socimi plans to continue focusing its investments in Madrid. Already this year, it has purchased a building containing 27 homes and two premises on Calle Vallehermoso in the Spanish capital for €5.2 million. Following that operation, the company’s portfolio contains 301 units.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Roger Arnau)

Summary/Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: One Third of House Purchases in León in 2018 were Financed by Cash

2 March 2019 – Diario de León 

According to Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), 3,128 homes were sold in the province of León in 2018, of which one in three were paid for in cash. This is a growing trend in the real estate market, as savers look for investment alternatives in the face of instability in the financial markets and the high returns being offered by property, due to house price rises and rental price increases.

In the province of León, 2,024 mortgages were signed in 2018, up by 4% YoY, whereas 11% more house sales were recorded compared to 2017.

Original story: Diario de León (by María J. Muñiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Mortgage Lending Rose by 16.5% YoY to €42.7bn in 2018

27 February 2019 – La Vanguardia

Last year, 345,186 mortgages to purchase homes were signed in Spain, up by 10.3% compared to 2017, but the banks again refrained from fully opening the financing tap: the average loan amount increased by just 5.6% to €123,727, according to data presented on Wednesday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

The growth in the average amount is only slightly higher than the increase in house prices (which rose by 3.9% on average last year, according to data from the Ministry of Development, albeit by much more in the large cities and their metropolitan areas, where the bulk of demand is concentrated). “The banks are adopting a conservative strategy, that’s for sure”, said Oscar Gorgues, Manager of the Chamber of Urban Property in Barcelona – “because they are still very mindful of the excesses of the boom years. For that reason too, we can say that the real estate market is healthy and there is no risk of a bubble”.

The data from INE shows that after five years of recovery in the real estate sector, the number of mortgages granted is still 71% lower than the 1.24 million mortgages granted by the banks in 2007, the last year before the burst of the real estate bubble.

According to real estate firms, the caution on the part of the banks means that the main factor causing families, and especially young people, to rent, is the fact that it is impossible for them to obtain a mortgage loan. By contrast, according to the real estate firm Forcadell, around one third of homes are now purchased without a mortgage, in operations undertaken by investors (…).

According to data from INE, the value of all of the new mortgages constituted to purchase homes last year amounted to €42.7 billion, up by 16.5% compared to 2017, due to the combined effect of increases in the number of operations and the average loan amount (…).

Original story: La Vanguardia (by Rosa Salvador)

Translation: Carmel Drake