Kutxabank Sells a €700M Property Developer Loan Portfolio to Bain

21 December 2018 – Cinco Días

Kutxabank has sold a “problem property developer loan” portfolio with a gross valuation of €700 million to a subsidiary of Bain Capital Credit. The portfolio includes doubtful assets and non-performing loans to property developers, according to a statement issued by the entity chaired by Gregorio Villalabeitia (pictured below).

The divestment includes both loans with mortgage guarantees, secured by land for the most part (48% of the total), as well as finished homes (another 29%). They are located in Andalucía and Euskadi.

The transaction has materialised through a competitive bidding process, which has been coordinated by the investment bank Alantra.

Sources at the vendor bank indicate that there is “a great investor appetite” in the market for this type of asset at the moment, a situation that has encouraged the entity to take the decision to divest these assets, the first operation of this kind that it has undertaken in its history.

The divestment will improve Kutxabank’s results this year and will reduce its exposure in the courts, due to the costs associated with the litigation relating to these assets. The bank has already calculated that, following this operation, its default ratio will improve by 50 basis points to fall below 4%.

The sale of the real estate portfolio will also have a positive impact on the bank’s CTE 1 capital ratio, which will increase by 10 basis points. According to the bank, it will thereby consolidate its position of leadership as the most solvent entity in the country.

Bain Capital Credit, with 200 employees, invests in the entire spectrum of loans, including leveraged loans, high-yield bonds and structured products, amongst others. Bain Capital has been advised in this operation by Copernicus, Aura, JLL and Allen & Overy.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

ST: Madrid & Barcelona Sell 93% of their New Housing Stock in Just 2 Years

18 May 2018 – El País

In the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, the two main real estate markets in Spain, there are just 4,114 homes in new developments available for sale (9,920 in both provinces), the bulk of which have been put on the market within the last two years. Moreover, there are no longer many finished homes on offer, like during the years of the crisis, but rather mostly developments under construction or units that have not even been started yet, which are being offered off-plan and whose prices have risen by so much since 2016 that the supply of homes for less than €150,000 is currently insignificant.

Given the shortage of construction projects, the supply of new homes may be exhausted within eight months in the case of the Madrid region (nine in the capital) and within just under 14 months in the Catalan province (12 months in the municipal area), something that is going to accelerate the price rises seen in recent months, according to ST (Sociedad de Tasación), which has compiled a census on the developments that are currently up for sale.

Over the last two years, both real estate markets have done an about turn and not only due to the increase in prices. In the Community of Madrid, 93.7% of the stock of new homes has been exhausted since 2016, according to Sociedad de Tasación. The appraisal company registers a current supply of 6,319 homes, which represents an increase of 15.8% with respect to 2016. This calculation includes 346 homes that were already up for sale in 2016 and which have not been sold, plus 5,973 new units.

The rate of absorption in Madrid capital has been more marked, where more than 97% of the homes put up for sale over the last two years have been sold, in such a way that now there are 3,067 homes on the market (3,007 of which are new units), 42.1% with respect to 2016. 98% of this supply comprises properties that have been put on the market over the last two years.

In this new real estate cycle, the supply of finished properties has lost weight over the total, with such homes now accounting for just 7.5% of the total stock in the Community of Madrid, compared with 58.1% in 2014. 60.5% of the supply registered now corresponds to homes that have not been started yet and 32% to homes under construction. Specifically, the current supply of finished homes has decreased by 75.8% with respect to the census in 2016 and the volume of properties under construction has grown by 54%, whilst the supply of homes not yet started has risen by 75.1% (…).

In the province of Barcelona, 89.6% of the stock has been absorbed in just two years. In addition to the 289 homes that are still on the market from 2016, 3,312 new units have been identified, bringing the total current supply to 3,601 homes, 28.9% more than in 2016. And in the Catalan capital, 93.4% of the supply that has come onto the market over the last two years has been sold and today the current supply amounts to 1,047 homes. 93.2% comprise homes that have been put up for sale within the last two years.

Here too there has also been an increase in the weight of homes under construction (50.9%), at the expense of the supply of finished homes, which account for 12.4% of the total stock in the metropolitan area, compared with the 29.9% that they represented in 2016. Specifically, the current supply of finished homes has decreased by 53.6% with respect to the 2016 census, and the supply of homes under construction has grown by 65.7%, whilst the volume of homes not yet started has increased by 54.8% (…).

Larger and more expensive homes

Another feature of the new real estate cycle is that the homes for sale are larger and also more expensive than they were two years ago. In the Madrid region, homes with surface areas of between 100 m2 and 150 m2 are gaining weight, and now represent 62.2% of the total, compared with 45.8% in 2016. By contrast, homes measuring less than 100 m2 are losing weight, down from 36.1% in 2016 to 22.1%.

In terms of prices, there are increasingly fewer homes that cost less than €150,000, which have gone from accounting for 25.6% of the supply to just 15.2% in the Madrid region and from 13.6% to 9.7% in the Spanish capital. By contrast, the proportion of homes costing between €150,000 and €300,000 has increased, according to ST.

In the Barcelona metropolitan area, homes costing less than €150,000 have gone from accounting for 15.9% of the total supply to just 4.8%. And in the city itself, the appraisal company has not been able to identify any units on the market for less than €150,000. What’s more, homes costing more than €500,000 have grown from representing 24% of the total in 2016 to 39% in 2018.

Original story: El País (by Sandra López Letón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: House Prices Rose by 5.4% in April

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

House prices are continuing to rise unabated. Finished home prices (new and second-hand) rose by 5.4% in April compared with the same month last year, driven by rises in the capitals and large cities, which saw price increases of 8.7% with respect to April 2017, according to Tinsa’s index.

On average, house prices have now risen by 10.3% since the minimum level reached at the beginning of 2015, although they are still 36.7% below the peak of the boom recorded in 2007. Prices along the Mediterranean Coast were the most severely hit during the crisis, given that they have recorded a cumulative decrease of 45.8% since their maximum level.

That region is followed by the cumulative decreases in prices in metropolitan areas (42.8%) and, despite having seen an 18.6% increase in their value since May 2015, prices in large capitals are still 36.6% below their 2007 levels.

The capitals and large cities are still continuing to perform the driving role in terms of the reactivation of the market, together with the metropolitan areas and the Balearic and Canary Islands, where prices have risen by 5.7% and 5.6%, respectively.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Sold Loans Worth €186M Online in 2017

11 January 2018 – Expansión

Sareb sold loans with a nominal value of €186 million through its online channel in 2017, according to a statement issued by the entity.

Last summer, the so-called bad bank, launched an initiative to sell non-performing loans through its website, whilst three of the servicers (Haya, Altamira and Solvia) implemented a similar plan through their respective “shop windows”.

By the end of 2017, Sareb had closed agreements to sell loans amounting to €35 million through its own online channel, plus €151 million in loans that the company sold through specialist managers.

In a pilot phase in July 2017, Sareb published a preliminary batch of non-performing loans on its website for an aggregated amount of €400 million and invited 30 professional investors to participate. It received non-binding offers for all of the loans up for sale and, in the end, 70% were converted into binding offers.

Now that the channel has been tested, Sareb has published a new batch of loans amounting to €550 million, with an average value of €13 million. The company hopes to receive non-binding offers from investors already registered on the platform during January.

During 2018, Sareb is expected to launch five more sales processes through the platform, of at least €500 million each, aimed at investors and professionals in the sector, as reported last summer.

In term of Altamira, Haya and Solvia’s shop window activities, almost 95% of the loans sold are backed by finished homes or land located in Cataluña, Andalucía, Madrid, the Community of Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The other loans are secured by offices in Madrid and hotel establishments in Gerona.

As at June 2017, the Spanish financial system accumulated non-performing loans amounting to €127.31 billion, equivalent to 16% of the total figure for the Eurozone, which amounted to €794.1 billion, according to data from the European Central Bank (ECB).

For the President of Sareb, Jaime Echegoyen (pictured above), the company has “the obligation” to innovate and contribute to boosting these types of transactions through the creation of new channels “accessing new kinds of investors and giving these assets more transparency”.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cajamar Puts €200M Debt Portfolio Up For Sale

23 October 2017 – Expansión

Cajamar, the largest credit cooperative in Spain, with €39,943 million in assets, has placed a package of 1,450 delinquent loans on the market worth €200 million. The majority of the loans have been granted to small- and medium-sized companies and are secured by mortgage guarantees.

By autonomous region, 75% of the portfolio is located in the Community of Valencia and Andalucía; and the remaining 25% is situated in Murcia, Cataluña, the Community of Madrid and Castilla y León.

It is the first package of non-performing assets that Cajamar has put up for sale this year. In 2016, the entity completed two divestments of this kind. The first, closed during the second quarter, comprised doubtful and non-performing loans, as well as foreclosed properties, amounting to €524 million in total. The second, sold during the fourth quarter, contained non-performing loans only, amounting to €206 million.

As at 30 June, Cajamar held €3,885 million in doubtful loans and had a default rate of 12.38%. It had €3,776 million in real estate assets on its balance sheet. Of those, 50% are finished homes and 25% correspond to land. The group has prioritised sales through the retail channel, for which it enlists the support of its assets sales platform, Haya Real Estate.

The entity has just launched a commercial campaign that offers more than 4,000 properties with discounts of up to 40%. They include one-bedroom apartments in Alhaurín el Grande (Granada) with prices starting at €46,000.

Operating range

Cajamar has 1,090 branches across Spain, a workforce of 5,743 employees and 3.5 million clients. During the first half of the year, it earned €44.29 million. It holds an agreement in insurance with Generali, another in investment funds with Trea and it sells consumer loans from Cetelem.

Above all, the entity is dedicated to meeting the financing needs of small and medium-sized companies in the agri-food sector.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Lander)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Liberbank Finalises Property Sale To Ensure Success Of Capital Increase

4 October 2017 – Cinco Días

Liberbank does not want to follow in the footsteps of Popular and is taking firm strides to avoid that fate. Its focus now is on shaking off the property that it still holds following the crisis, in order to project the image in the market that it has cleaned up its books and to ensure the success of its upcoming capital increase. In this way, the entity is finalising the sale of a large part of its portfolio of foreclosed assets this week, in parallel to the capital increase, which its General Shareholders’ Meeting is expected to approve on 9 October.

The entity led by Manuel Menéndez is working against the clock to ensure its independence. The CNMV has given it until 30 November to extend, for the third time, a veto on short positions that it imposed in June, a few days after Popular’s future was resolved. Sources close to the operation expect the first stage (the sale of a portfolio worth €800 million) to be closed this week. Or within 15 days, at the latest, since in that case, it would be performed in parallel to the start of the capital increase.

Liberbank received the first binding offers at the beginning of last week. And from those, it has selected three funds: KKR, Bain and Cerberus. The latter is the firm that acquired the bank’s real estate subsidiary, Mihabitans, in the summer, through Haya Real Estate. It spent €85 million on that purchase. The market described the operation as a “success” and uses it as an example for the upcoming sale of the toxic property.

Haya is exclusively managing the current foreclosed real estate assets on Liberbank’s balance sheet, as well as any future foreclosed real estate assets that end up being incorporated onto the bank’s overall balance sheet or onto those of any of its real estate subsidiaries. According to the accounts for the first half of the year, Liberbank held €3,115 million in foreclosed assets on its balance sheet, with a provision coverage ratio of 40%. Of those, €1,741 million are finished homes, €1,162 million are plots of land, €480 million are homes under construction and €402 million are offices and warehouses.

This new sale of foreclosed assets, dubbed ‘Operación Invictus’, will be closed for a price of around €400 million. Although the book value of the real estate assets in the portfolio is €800 million, the sale will be closed at a discount of at least 50%. Santander closed the sale of 51% of Popular’s property to Blackstone at a discount of 66%.

With the aim of wiping out the losses that this sale will generate and of getting rid of a large part of its real estate portfolio, once and for all, the Board of Directors of Liberbank proposed a capital increase on 6 September, which they are now trying to safeguard. The bank hopes to raise €500 million through the operation. The objective is for the bank’s default ratio to amount to 3.5% by 2019 and for the coverage ratio on its non-performing assets (doubtful loans and foreclosed assets) to rise to around 50%. At the end of June, Liberbank recorded figures of 11.3% and 40% for these ratios, respectively.

With a balance sheet of €40,000 million, Liberbank is the smallest entity of those supervised by the ECB, together with Banco Crédito Social Cooperativo, the parent company of Cajamar. One of Liberbank’s other missions is to increase its return on equity (ROE) to 8% by 2020, compared with the figure of 2.7% recorded during the first half of this year. It is the second time that the bank has increased its share capital since it started trading on the stock market in 2013. The previous capital increase, in May 2014, saw it raise almost €500 million.

Then, the bank responsible for coordinating the operation was Deutsche Bank; now it is being managed by Citi. Last time, the injection of fresh funds allowed the entity to early repay €124 million that the FROB (Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring or ‘Fondo de Reestructuración Ordenada Bancaria’) had injected it with; to strength its top-tier capital ratio to more than 10%, as if the Basel III requirements were completely applicable; and to bring forward the payment of dividends to its shareholders.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Álvaro Bayón and Pablo M. Simón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Research: House Prices Will Rise By 3% In 2017

20 July 2017 – Eje Prime

The residential sector is going full steam ahead. House sales are expected to exceed 500,000 in 2017, an increase of 10% with respect to 2016, and house prices are forecast to rise by three percentage points with respect to last quarter, according to the figures published by BBVA Research in the magazine Real Estate Situation in Spain. In economic terms, the investment in housing will represent 9.4% of the growth in GDP in 2017.

Between January and May, 212,073 homes were sold, up by 14.5% YoY. The cumulative figure over the 12 months to May  2017 saw the number of house sales rise to 488,000 homes. The study reveals that, in a scenario in which there continues to be a limited supply of finished new homes, prices will rise by around 3% per annum on average, closing the year at €1,570/m2, similar to the values last seen in 2004, based on statistics from the Ministry of Development.

In this sense, the report states that property developers will continue to respond to the increase in demand and it is expected that they will request permits to build around 80,000 new homes this year, up by 20% to satisfy demand.

The market is growing across all of its component segments, primarily due to the sale of primary residences, ahead of demand from foreigners, which accounts for 17% of the total market, and second homes (9%).

Meanwhile, financing costs, with mortgage rates at around 2.2%, the expectation of attractive capital gains and strong demand from foreigners are all having a positive effect on demand.

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

Euroval: RE Activity Is Still “A Long Way” Below The Boom Levels

7 June 2017 – Expansión

The real estate appraisal company Euroval has said that real estate activity in Spain is still “a long way” below the levels reached a decade ago.

Specifically, based on data from a simulation that it has performed, Euroval highlights that real estate activity in Spain currently represents a quarter of the level achieved during the real estate boom.

According to the appraisal company, the recent economic crisis “is still taking its toll” on activity in the Spanish real estate sector. In fact, it has highlighted that the number of mortgages granted, the volume of construction revenues and expenses and the number of transactions carried out are still way behind the figures recorded 10 years ago.

By region, whilst in Andalucía, Murcia, the Community of Valencia and Cantabria, for example, real estate activity was operating at 100% in 2004, it is now performing at 13%. Moreover, the autonomous regions that are improving their activity in this sector compared to 2004 are the Balearic Islands (45%), País Vasco (28%) and Navarra and Extremadura (22% in both).

According to Euroval, “there are no known cases of economic sectors in any country representing a similar percentage of GDP as the real estate sector did in Spain at the time of its greatest rise, after which it suffered losses of more than 80% in less than a decade.

The appraisal company considers that the volume of residential appraisals and the supply of housing are the “key” indicators that reflect this decrease. Specifically, in 2006, around 1.3 million appraisals were performed, compared with 625,000 last year.

In 2016, the autonomous region with the highest volume of appraisals was Andalucía, with 129,200. It was followed by Cataluña, with 120,400; Madrid, with 85,300; and the Community of Valencia, with 76,700.

In terms of the housing supply, Euroval’s conclusions highlight the “anomalous behaviour” in terms of housing demand in Spain, given that “despite the significant decrease in prices”, there is still “weak demand in light of the uncertainty surrounding the economy and employment”.

The data from the appraisal company also indicates that this “weak” growth has been concentrated in primary homes above all, which have increased from 15 million units in 2004 to 18 million last year.

The evolution of finished homes used to amount to around 536,600 properties, almost double the number started that year, whilst in 2016, the figures were 50,351 and 34,351 units, respectively. Euroval predicts that the market will tend towards growth over the next two years.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Twice As Many Housing Permits Were Granted In Málaga In Q1 2017

16 May 2017 – La Opinión de Málaga

The province of Málaga has seen a sharp rise in the number of building permits granted for the construction of new homes during the first quarter of the year with respect to last year and as such, it is recording its best start to the year since the crisis, providing further evidence of the recovery that began in the sector a few years ago.

Specifically, 1,397 housing permits were granted by Málaga’s College of Architects during the first quarter of the year, more than double (631) the figure recorded during the same period in 2016 (a rise of 121% to be precise). To find the highest number of permits granted in the province during the first quarter in recent years, we have to go back to 2008, when almost 4,900 were granted, a year that also marked the start of the recession.

The number of permits dipped to a historical minimum in Málaga in 2014 (when only 798 were granted in the whole year) and since then the heat of the general economic recovery has boosted the figures. In total, 2,454 permits were granted in 2015 and 3,041 in 2016. The data for the start of 2017, which was published at the beginning of May by the College of Architects, confirms the upward trend, and augurs a further increase this year, provided nothing out of the ordinary happens. In fact, during the first quarter, more housing permits have been granted than in the years 2012 (1,134), 2013 (904) and 2014 (798) in total, which were veritable years of drought in the sector. Nevertheless, the number is still a long way below the pre-recession figures (for example, in 2007, more than 27,000 permits were granted). (…).

The college of architects believe that the objective for the province should be to grow year on year to reach an annual volume of around 20,000 housing permits by 2020, which would be sufficient to meet the natural demand of the Malagan population, as well as to supply buyers from further afield, be they domestic or foreign, in search of a second holiday home. (…).

Returning to the data for the start of 2017, the statistics from the College of Architects reveal that the housing permits granted between January and March were primarily concentrated in the towns of Málaga capital (369), Estepona (238) and Rincón de la Victoria (235). Those three towns accounted for 60% of the permits granted in the province during the first quarter of the year. Behind them came the following towns: Fuengirola (127), Mijas (100), Ojén (76), Manilva (67) and Marbella (52). (…).

The number of finished homes rises

In terms of the number of finished homes, the figures for the first quarter of 2017 also show an increase. The College of Architects notes that between January and March, 504 properties were finished in Málaga, representing a significant increase of 84% compared to the first quarter in 2016. The finished home statistics dipped to historical lows in 2015 (when only 1,134 homes were completed during the entire year) and have increased only slightly since then (1,235 in 2016). (…).

Original story: La Opinión de Málaga (by José Vicente Rodríguez)

Translation: Carmel Drake