Lería-Luksic, the Chilean Magnates Arriving in Spain’s Wealthiest Municipality

11 August 2018

“Wealthy Chileans.” That was the answer much of the real estate sector gave when El Confidencial was investigating the identity the people who just became the third largest landowners in the Pozuelo Oeste Distribution Area (ARPO), in Pozuelo de Alarcón, the wealthiest municipality in Spain.

The buyers are the executives Óscar Lería Chateau and Paola Luksic Fontbona, the couple who have just acquired 40,000 square meters of land, 8% of the total area, from La Caixa for 30 million euros. The couple plan on developing 396 homes on the land, according to sources in the sector. The transaction was executed through Paola Luksic’s family office Wildsur and Óscar Lería’s Osim, the Chilean newspaper ‘La Tercera’ confirmed.

ARPO is the largest urban development area in the municipality of Madrid, which has been in force for more than a decade, amounting to more than six million square meters. The construction of a total of 5,500 homes is planned for the area, of which 2,900 will have some type of protection. Sources consulted by El Confidencial noted that Luksic is likely to have signed an agreement with a local partner to build the homes houses, “possibly one of the landowners in the area,” as he had done before in other projects in which he was involved.

At the beginning of June, this newspaper reported on three operations in that area. Santander, Iberdrola and Servihabitat had sold or were about to sell their holdings in Pozuelo. Twin Peaks Capital was the first to snap up property, purchasing land controlled by the bank run by Ana Patricia Botín. Oaktree took over land from the power company and has allied itself with Banco Sabadell for the development. Only the identity of the buyers’ of La Caixa’s land had still to be revealed. Though he is known to value his privacy, Oscar Lería himself then made the transaction public, in which he partnered with the A&G Group.

Lería is married to Paola Luksic, daughter of Iris Balbina Fontbona (daughter of the Catalan Luis Fontbona Buxallen, who emigrated to Chile at the beginning of the last century) and stepsister of the Chilean magnate Andrónico Luksic, who control much of the business inherited from the Croatian billionaire Andrónico Luksic Abaroa (1926-2005). The Luksic family is one of the richest in the Andean country and, through Aeris Invest, one of its investment vehicles, recently demanded from Santander payment of the 113.02 million it had invested in 145.14 million shares of Popular in May 2017, one month before its resolution. Furthermore, the Chilean family’s fund threatened the Single Resolution Board (SRB for its acronym in English) with additional lawsuits should it not publish the valuation report 2 on Popular, since it considers that the 3 is irrelevant and “does not correspond to the real situation of the entity at the time of the resolution.”

The most expensive municipality in Spain

As Lería explained to the Chilean newspaper, the group set its eyes on the richest municipality in Spain three years ago, although they have been present in the country for years, especially on the Costa del Sol. After the end of the crisis, when investors were still avoiding the country, other large Latin American investors began landing in Madrid in search of opportunities. At that time, the Lukisc family again looked carefully at the Spanish market, where they plan to invest about 480 million euros.

“The family has been investing intermittently in Spain, but I decided to go and stay for the next 40 years. To create something that will last,” Óscar Lería declared to La Tercera, a newspaper that noted that the family had arrived in Andalusia in 2012 to “resuscitate a project” that had “died.” This project was the Lagoon Alcazaba, the first development with a crystalline lagoon in Europe. With 60 million euros, they also invested in half a dozen retail stores on Madrid’s Serrano street.

ARPO, the major urban development area in Madrid, is under the developers’ spotlight. Vía Célere bought in a year ago; iKasa has had land there for years, and Metrovacesa, which owns more than 46,000 square meters with a market value of 25 million euros, as shown in its IPO prospectus, are some of the principal property owners in the region. They are joined by Pryconsa, with long-term holdings in the area, and the newcomers Twin Peaks and Oaktree.

Four months ago, the city council of the district of Madrid finally approved the Partial Plan for the development. The procedure triggered the first real estate transactions and had caused the developers to begin taking positions before the final approval of the reparcelling and urbanisation plan takes place, the last procedure needed before the first homes can begin to be built. Also, fifteen days ago the project for a rainwater collector for Pozuelo, which will have to supply water to the new homes, was also definitively approved.

With an approximate cost of about 40 million euros, the Pozuelo de Alarcón city hall will contribute 20% of the amount, and the rest will be invested by the private landowners. ARPO, for example, corresponds to 52%, Eje Pinar 11% and Huerta Grande 7% – there are 16 urban sectors in Pozuelo. “This approval opens the way to launch public tenders for the works, with execution possibly beginning at the start of 2019. Also, it will also permit the execution of the urbanisation works in the rest of the sectors and make Pozuelo’s 2002 PGOU a reality”, the Board of Compensation for the region noted. “The collector is now a reality thanks, to a large extent, to ARPO’s new management team – the manager is the architect José Luis Oñate, while Pryconsa holds the presidency of Arpo and Ikasa has the vice-presidency – and the city hall’s technical-political team, which has demonstrated a true desire to move things ahead.”

The same sources assured El Confidencial that in a few months, construction for the collector would be tendered and the approval of the project of urbanisation and reparcelling of the Arpo is foreseen for the end of the year. “The plan is to combine construction on the collector with the urbanization, for which the approval of the Hydrographic Confederation of the Tagus will be needed and, subsequently, to be able to combine the urbanization works with the construction of the houses, for which the City Council of Madrid’s authorisation will be needed.”

Of all these urban procedures will depend, to a large extent, on the price that developers will be willing to pay for the land and, consequently, the final price of future homes will depend on a location with high demand and a very limited supply of new construction.

According to sources, the residual land value is at present around the 1.000 euros per square meter, well below the 1,600-1,800 euros currently paid in Valdebebas. “There are still urban procedures ahead, the land is not yet ready for construction, hence the price differential,” the same sources explained. At those prices, future homes could go on sale starting at 2,250 euros per square meter.

“Taking into account the price that is being paid for the land, the venture would already be profitable for the developers. That does not mean that, if the urbanization proceeds without complications, the prices might not be higher, considering the high level of demand in Pozuelo by people with elevated purchasing power who have been displaced to Majadahonda, Las Rozas and Boadilla del Monte in the absence of new builds,” says a real estate expert at El Confidencial.

The Madrid municipality was not oblivious to the crisis. From its high of 2007, when the square meter reached 3,807 euros, the price of new housing fell by 38% to 2,360 euros, just below the 40% nationwide, according to data from the appraiser Tinsa. However, in two and a half years, prices have increased by around 20%, largely due to the enormous shortage of product in the area and the elevated demand.

According to data from Foro Consultores, the average price of multi-family homes in Pozuelo de Alarcón hovers, on average, at 3,500 euros per square meter, with the average per house going for 610,000 euros, without garage or storage. Single-family homes average roughly 900,000 euros and 3,000 euros per square meter. However, as pointed out by this company, what characterises this municipality is that, depending on the location, you can find affordable housing in apartment buildings, while prices in better areas easily surpass one million euros, both for flats and single-family homes.

Venezuelans, Argentines, Chileans…

Since 2014, when the real estate market hit bottom in Spain, numerous Latin American investors have put money into Spanish property. The biggest Venezuelan investors have been the most active, especially in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, where, for four years they have rehabilitated many buildings to place on the luxury market.

The entrepreneurs Miguel Ángel Capriles and Axel Daniel Capriles, relatives of the Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, bought, through Gran Roque Capital, more than a dozen properties in the most exclusive neighbourhoods of Madrid, totalling more than a hundred luxury homes. Barquillo Doce, Serrano Anguita, Pablo Aranda, Lagasca 38, Fernando VI and their latest project, Españoleto 19. However, the Capriles has also extended their investments to “more modest” projects. For example, they bought land in the vicinity of the Vicente Calderón stadium from Prosegur, while they are the financial partners of Grupo Ibosa in the purchase of ready-to-build land north of Madrid. The Venezuelan family Pizzorni, through Italinmuebles, is also behind several luxury projects in the capital such as Alfonso X and Montalbán 11.

On the other hand, the Argentines Jorge Pepa – brother of Juan Pepa, former head of Lone Star in Spain and architect of Neinor’s IPO – and Francis Btesh, manage through their company 1810 Capital, investments by the Argentine-Israelis Zev and Sergio Gustavo Marynberg. The firm’s purchases include properties at Santa Isabel 21, Tirso de Molina and Barceló. All of them are being converted into luxury homes.

Among the Mexicans, the best known and most active investor has undoubtedly been Carlos Slim (FCC, Realia …), while the less known Mexican investor Moisés El-Mann Arazi has also carried out operations in Spain, and is behind the purchase 253 branches leased to Banco Sabadell from Moor Park Capital Partners for €290 million.

After the fiasco at Banco Popular, the Luksic family will bet on the Spanish property market, where it plans to invest a total of 480 million euros

The Chilean family Luksic, the main shareholders in the mining company Antofagasta, Banco de Chile and the Compañía de Cervecerías Unidas (CCU), took a 3% stake in Banco Popular last year, valued at more than 2.9 billion euros. Óscar Lería and Paola Luksic’s plans for Spain, after their family’s failed investment in the financial institution, are limited to the Spanish property market, where they expect to invest a total of 480 million euros, Lería revealed to La Tercera. In the short term, they will invest 200 million euros, focusing on Seville and the Balearic Islands, especially Ibiza.

In fact, the couple signed an agreement with Mediterranean Capital Management, a firm based in Barcelona, to search for land. The two groups are going to begin developing a project in Mallorca in the next few months, near the Marivent Royal Palace, resulting in about twenty luxury flats costing between 1.3 and 1.5 million euros, according to the Chilean newspaper.

Pozuelo is Óscar Lería Chateau’s most recent investment. Through the Osler company, he has been making important real estate investments in Spain since 2012, during the middle of the property crisis, working with local investors. He currently has several second-residence projects in Marbella, between Estepona and Puerto Banús.

Original Story: El Confidencial – E. Sanz / Ó. Giménez

Translation: Richard Turner

Adif Sells Plot in Madrid for 80% More than its Original Asking Price

2 January 2018 – El Confidencial

It has been, without a doubt, the clearest example of the overheating in the prices of buildable land in Madrid. Adif has just concluded the auction of several plots in Dehesa Vieja, San Sebastián de los Reyes, which it launched at the beginning of October. The asking price was set at €9 million and in the end, the state-owned firm has obtained proceeds amounting to €16.3 million, in other words, 80% more than initially expected.

The plots, which have a buildable surface area of 10,500 m2, sparked interest amongst much of the property development sector, given that they are located in one of the most sought-after and rapidly growing areas of the Community of Madrid. Up to 13 property developers participated in the first auction held on 3 October, including some of the industry stalwarts.

From Gestilar to Amenábar Promociones, and including the renewed Acciona Inmobiliaria and Pryconsa. Other participants also included Monthisa, Aelca, the listed firm Neinor Homes, Procisa and Solvia. And one cooperative: SS de los Reyes Sociedad Cooperativa, owned by the Asentis group, which after going head to head with the real estate company owned by the Entrecanales family over the last month, has ended up acquiring the sought-after plot. And the reality is that, after a couple of years on the back burner, cooperatives have returned to the market with a bang and are showing that they are capable of competing, economically speaking, in spaces where traditional property developers cannot or do not want to operate.

Adif’s auction is a clear example. SS de los Reyes Sociedad Cooperativa has won the bid with an offer of €16.3 million, compared to the figure of just over €16 million that Acciona Inmobiliaria was willing to pay and which represents a land (impact) price of €1,550/m2. Just too high, in the eyes of many of the interested parties who threw in the towel along the way and who marked a top price of around €1,200/m2.

To give us an idea, the price paid by the cooperative (…) means that the future homes that are going to be constructed on the site will have to be sold for around €2,400/m2, or around €2,900/m2 if the aforementioned offer had been presented by a property developer, since it would have to include its margin to sell the homes and ensure it did not make a loss (…).

“It is important to consider that the homes planned for the site are large, measuring between 130 m2 and 140 m2 and that if we exceed prices of €400,000 for a three-bedroom home, then no matter how much prices rise by, middle-class families start to have limitations in terms of financing, and, therefore,  problems when it comes to buying such homes”, according to sources at one of the property developers that participated in the bid.

And it is not the only land operation to have raised the alarm. For months now, the market has been seeing sales of buildable plots of land at prices that were unthinkable just a couple of years ago. Recently, the Mutualidad de la Policía (Mupol) managed to sell three plots of buildable urban land – in other words, ready to build on – for around €2,250/m2 to another cooperative manager, Gesvieco, which has placed between €40 million and €42 million on the table for the plots that span 5,500 m2. The traditional and conservative property developers such as Pryconsa and Vía Célere were not willing to pay that price (…).

To give us an idea, 24 months ago, according to data from Foro Consultores, buyers were paying €800/m2 for buildable land. In other words, in two years, land prices have doubled. This (impact) price means that the price of homes for end users has increased from around €2,300/m2 to €3,100/m2.

Operación Calderón, the next major operation

Nevertheless, if there is an operation that can break all records, it is the one involving the plots that Atlético de Madrid owns next to the Vicente Calderón Stadium. The club is asking around €200 million for that package of land, in other words, around €3,500/m2, which would give rise to homes with prices of €6,000/m2, well above the price for the area, which ranges between €3,000/m2 and €4,000/m2 (…). The interested parties have already submitted their binding offers, now the club just needs to choose the best suitor.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Land Shortage Causes House Prices to Soar in Madrid

5 November 2017 – El Mundo

House prices are on the rise in Madrid, due to the shortage of available buildable land and the high pent-up demand (the Spanish capital is capable of absorbing around 10,000 new homes per year and just as many second-hand homes). That was one of the main conclusions from the meeting organised last week by El Mundo in collaboration with Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) to analyse the likely impact of the 11,000 new homes that are being planned as part of Madrid Nuevo Norte, the official name for the project more commonly known as Operación Chamartín.

According to Luis Corral, CEO of Foro Consultores, Madrid Nuevo Norte is an “absolutely essential project for that area of Madrid”, because both of the existing urban developments, namely, Valdebebas and Arroyo del Fresno, as well as the neighbouring municipalities, Alcobendas and San Sebastían de los Reyes “have run out of land”. In his opinion, “anything that places this part of Madrid on the market is a good thing, even if it causes price inflation, as seen in Valdebebas, where homes now cost more than €3,000/m2″.

Beyond its importance from a residential perspective, “Madrid Nuevo Norte also involves a major urban regeneration project, which offers a golden opportunity to position Madrid as one of the greatest capital cities in Europe”, according to Carolina Roca, Vice-President of the Association of Property Developers in Madrid (Asprima). In this sense, the final plans – which will probably be approved during the course of next year – include the construction of a large business centre, as well as a major refit of Chamartín station (which will house the future headquarters of Adif and Renfe).

Although this is an ambitious project from every perspective, “the area to the north of Madrid has capacity to absorb much higher figures than the 11,000 homes currently forecast”, says Samuel Población, Head of Residential and Land at the consultancy firm CBRE. “The absorption rate that we have seen in Valdebebas in just five years serves as an example”, he adds.

Moreover, the current rates of house building confirm that demand is continuing to grow right across the Community of Madrid. Based on the number of construction permits granted, the region is currently building 22,000 properties per year, a figure that contrasts with the 80,000 properties that are going to be built in Spain as a whole in 2017. According to Roca, “property development is performing well in Madrid, but the same dynamism is not being replicated across the country and so, we are still a long way off the 150,000 homes per year that need to be built”. That means that the region “has doubled its weight, something that is not positive because Madrid cannot cope with the real estate business of the whole of Spain”.

But the main problem, according to the head of the Madrilenian property developers, is that the municipal authorities are not responding to this increase in demand by offering new plots of land. “The available buildable land will have been used up in three or four years and no one is performing the repositioning that is necessary for after that period”. (…).

The main consequence of the shortage of raw material in the hands of property developers “is a significant rise in the prices of plots, which end up being passed on in the form of more expensive house prices”, explains Población (…).

In this context, Corral also stressed the need to promote new urban developments as “generators of homes for the most disadvantaged households, as shown by the more than 2,200 social housing units included in Madrid Nuevo Norte (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Rubén G. López)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Foro Consultores: Land Prices Soar In Certain Pockets Of Madrid

13 February 2017 – El Confidencial

Land prices are soaring, house prices are rising, the buying frenzy is gaining momentum in some areas and in certain developments…Is history repeating itself? Are we witnessing the gestation of a new real estate bubble, albeit not on a national scale, but nevertheless in certain areas of the country. That is what seems to be happening in some neighbourhoods of Madrid. But, the answer, for the time being at least, seems unanimous: not yet.

Buildable land, in other words, land that is ready to be built upon, is running out and, across Spain, there is barely enough land left upon which to construct the 1.5 million homes estimated to be required to supply the market for the next 8.6 years. In Madrid, the land will run out in just over 6 years, according to the latest report from the appraisal company Tinsa. It identifies a worrying shortage of this type of land in areas of expansion to the north of Madrid, as well as in certain specific points of the metropolitan area, such as Pozuelo, Villanueva de la Cañada, Coslada and Rivas. In some of these areas, according to warnings from Tinsa, there will be no buildable land left within 12-24 months. This situation has, unsurprisingly, led to sharp increases in land prices in certain areas. And these rises are concerning the sector. Where are these first warning signs starting to sound?

Valdebebas

The large real estate development in the north of Madrid, which was launched at the height of the crisis and which has fallen victim to numerous legal setbacks, has become, in the eyes of the residential sector, a clear example of the extent to which land can become a very sought-after, as well as a very dangerous, asset.

“Without doubt, it is one of the areas where land prices have grown significantly. In 2014, they ranged between €750/m2 and €900/m2, whereas nowadays operations are being closed for more than €1,200/m2 and €1,300/m2, and the perception in the market is that land can no longer be sold for less than €1,400/m2”, explained Vicente Quintanilla, Director of the department for Investment and Land at Foro Consultores. According to this expert, “this trend generates significant tension in terms of the prices of new builds, which are being sold for €3,000/m2 in certain developments”. (…).

Pozuelo, Aravaca…

Another market where prices have also risen significantly is the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón, where Sareb sold land for around €1,000/m2. (…).

Indeed, the supply of land in Pozuelo has completely run out and families in need of homes are heading to other markets, such as in Boadilla del Monte, a cheaper alternative. According to data from Foro Consultores, the gap in prices is very significant. “To give you an idea, a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000 on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1 million in Pozuelo.

Scarce and sought-after plots of land have also seen sharp price increases in recent years. “In El Camino de Barrial, in Aravaca, land prices have risen from €1,200/m2 in 2014 to around €2,000/m2 now. (….).

Boadilla del Monte, at boiling point

Boadilla del Monte is another one of the markets that has experienced a huge boom over the last two years. And there, it has not been due to the scarcity of land, but rather because of the strong demand from families who, as described above, cannot find homes in Pozuelo de Alarcón.

“For family home plots, land prices have increased from €400-500/m2 in 2014 to €800-900/m2 in2016, say Foro Consultores. (…).

Euphoria in Méndez Álvaro and rises in El Cañaveral

In the heart of the capital, where land is noteworthy due to its absence, land prices have increased considerably. In 2014, buyers paid €1,000/m2 and in a recent operation, whereby Adif and Renfe sold a plot to Vía Célere, the price paid amounted to around €1,900/m2. (…).

This increase in land prices is not exclusive to the area to the north of Madrid (…). The price of more affordable land and cheaper homes has also risen significantly in recent months.

Such is the case of El Cañaveral, in the east of Madrid, where “last summer, land prices amounted to around €360-370/m2 and now plots are going for €450-500/m2” (…).

Finally, all of the experts lament the fact that during the crisis, no agreement was reached to manage land, which has resulted in this significant shortage and in the inevitable increase in prices. They advocate greater agility in terms of urban planning, especially where the shortage is leading to a bottleneck in the market.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Town Planning Paralysis In Madrid: 60,000 New Homes On Hold

2 February 2017 – El Economista

Paralysis is the word that best defines town planning in Madrid at the moment. And, the people who are ultimately paying the price for these stoppages in the capital are its citizens. The shortage of supply is pushing up land prices, which is, in turn, driving up house prices, forcing many families out of the city centre.

That is the scenario that Madrid is currently facing.  Construction of more than 60,000 homes has been suspended, in the north and south of the city alike, projects as iconic as Operación Chamartín with 17,000 homes, Valdebebas with 1,000 homes, Residencial Metropolitan with 400 homes, Berrocales with 22,000 homes and Operación Campamento with 11,000 homes, are being affected. And these are just a few of the most high profile examples that are still waiting to receive the green light from the Town Hall of Madrid.

The paralysis of these projects has created a lack of supply in terms of housing, which is forcing people to move to towns on the outskirts of Madrid. For example, in the north of the capital, buyers are moving towards Alcobendas and San Sebastián, and in the south they are moving towards Rivas. “These towns are aware of the significant demand that they are generating and in the end, that is causing prices there to rise. In fact, the supply has almost run out in Rivas”, explains Ignacio Ortiz de Andrés, analyst at Foro Consultores.

According to the politician Bosco Labrado, spokesman for the Ciudadanos Party and President of the Committee for Town Planning at the Town Hall of Madrid, “in order to resolve town planning in Madrid, we at Ciudadanos propose obtaining consensus between all of the political forces and agents that participate in town planning – we demand greater legal certainty, updates and modifications to the General Town Plan – which is the tool that we use nowadays, but which is out of date – and finally, support for more public-private collaborations, which have already worked well, such as the renovation of the Beurko neighbourhood in Vizcaya, and efforts to try and strengthen them”.

Affordable (subsidised) housing is particularly scarce. If we look at the south of Madrid, demand has been forced out to towns on the outskirts due to the lack of supply. “If someone is looking for a subsidised homes for between €160,000 and €200,000 with three bedrooms, there is currently nothing available in Madrid. In the south, all construction work at Los Berrocales, where most of the land is owned by the Town Hall, has been suspended and demand has moved to Rivas”, said Juan José Perucho, CEO at the Ibosa Group.

And Los Berrocales is not the only area where work has been suspended. The situation is the same with Operación Campamento, owned by the Ministry of Defence (…). In short, in both the north and south of Madrid, the Town Hall has put the brakes on and Madrid’s housing supply is becoming increasingly limited.

Original story: El Economista (by Luzmelia Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Boadilla del Monte Sees A Flurry Of House Construction & Price Rises

13 June 2016 – El Confidencial

It’s been just over six months since, in October 2015, the Community of Madrid approved the General Urban Plan for Boadilla del Monte. The decision by Cristina Cifuentes released all of the construction permits that had been pending approval and gave the green light, once again, to the sale of land in one of the richest municipalities in Spain. It also marked the end of the development plans designed by the former mayor of Boadilla, Arturo González Panero, “the Albondiguilla”, imputed for the Gürtel case and against whom the prosecutor has just ordered 40 years in prison.

Since that Wednesday in October (28 October 2015), Boadilla del Monte has been a genuine real estate hotbed. Land sales have multiplied and the cranes have arrived in abundance. Buyers’ appetites have been so great that off-plan sales are practically covered and the first price rises have started to be seen – in some cases, close to double digits – for the new projects that are coming onto the market.

“The stars have aligned positively in Boadilla del Monte. Land there had been consolidated and developed and the only outstanding item was the approval of the General Plan, which was delayed due to the General Election. Once that had been ratified and blessed by the Community of Madrid, the new developments had the legal security to start without any problems”, explained Luis Corral, CEO of Foro Consultores.

The expert also thinks that the appeal of Boadilla has benefitted from the paralysis that, by contrast, its neighbour Pozuelo de Alarcón is experiencing. There, the new areas of development are currently awaiting the approval of a series of municipal infrastructures, such as the famous rain water collector, which is essential to meet the needs of the new neighbours. The infrastructure requires an investment of almost €60 million – double the amount predicted in 2007 –the cooperative owners that bought the land have to cover around €30 million and the other owners of the land and the Town Hall have to cover the remaining €25 million.

“The suspension of the largest development in Pozuelo has meant that much of the demand with medium-high purchasing power is moving to neighbouring towns such as Majadahonda and Boadilla del Monte”, said Samuel Población, the National Director of Residential and Land at the consultancy CBRE.

Price rises

(…). According to Luis Corral…”a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000, on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1,000,000 in Pozuelo…”.

Although the supply of land is greater, the pressure from buyers due to the natural demand in Boadilla del Monte and the unmet demand in Pozuelo, will start to have an impact on prices. According to data from Foro Consultores, less than a year ago, in July 2015, the average price for chalets under cooperative regimes amounted to around €1,400 /sqm, whereas now the price has increased by around 7% to €1,500/sqm.

The same has happened with direct promotions. In July 2015, the price per sqm amounted to around €1,500 and now, it has increased to €1,600/sqm. In other words, prices have risen by 6%. At first sight, these prices do not seem at all exorbitant, however the homes are all very large and so the final price is not suitable for all budgets.

Four hot spots in Boadilla

In this Madrilenian municipality, one of the richest in Spain, there are four hot spots where all of the real estate activity is happening: El Pastel, Las Cárcavas, Cortijo Sur and Cortijo Norte. (…).

“El Pastel has been completely urbanised, it is full of cranes and families are already living there. Las Cárcavas is slightly behind, but the first homes are already being handed over and there are also a few people living there, whilst Cortijo Sur is also urbanised and under construction and the first homes will be handed over within the next few weeks. Cortijo Norte is the most delayed, it has not been urbanised yet, although work has begun on the urbanisation project. Family homes are being constructed in every area”, explained Luis Corral. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Political Uncertainty In Cataluña Scares Off Investors

17 September 2015 – Expansión

The political uncertainty (in Cataluña) is deterring large real estate investors. “It is not because they are left wing or right wing”, but rather because “they need to know what to expect”, and in the meantime they are having to wait and see (which is not good). Those were the views of Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, Project Director at the consultancy RR de Acuña y Asociados.

The major international funds are waiting for the general election and are therefore postponing their operations. “The capital is waiting for the results (of the general election) because a political change would cause them to delay their investments”, added Rodríguez de Acuña.

The change in government at the Town Halls in Madrid and Barcelona, following the 24 May elections, has already generated considerable fear amongst the large investment firms. However, this slowdown is being felt mainly in the non-residential real estate market, since the housing sector is enjoying a bullish period in the large capital cities.

In Barcelona, the uncertainty surrounding Catalunya’s sovereign process and Ada Colau’s hotel moratorium have generated the perfect storm to scare away investors from the hotel sector. The founding partners of the consultancy Magma HC, Albert Grau and Bruno Hallé, said that “hotel investments have come to a complete standstill” and they acknowledge that some projects “have already been diverted to other destinations”. Hallé specified that “they are not only worried about the lack of legal certainty”, in the case of the Barcelona market, they are also concerned by the uncertainty about “whether we will continue to remain in the euro or not”.

Yesterday, at a debate organised by Magma HC, the Head of Innovat Hoteles, Ignasi Uñó, acknowledged that his chain had been affected by Colau’s moratorium; he also said that it had been “impossible” for them to make contact with the Town Hall. Two days ago, the Head of the Mobile World Conference (MWC), John Hoffman, asked hoteliers in Barcelona whether the moratorium risked leaving the mobile telephone conference, which gets bigger each year, without enough beds.

And in Madrid? “A handful of funds have decided to retreat, but right now there is a considerable degree of calm in Madrid”, explains Carlos Smerdou, CEO of Foro Consultores.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés and Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake