S&P: House Prices will Rise in Spain by More than in Other Major Eurozone Economies

24 February 2019 – La Vanguardia

House prices in Spain are going to continue rising for at least the next three years, although the rate of growth will slow down as the economy loses momentum and the European Central Bank (ECB)’s monetary policy normalises, according to forecasts from the agency S&P Global Ratings, which points to larger rises in the Spanish real estate market than in the other major Eurozone economies.

According to the ratings agency, house prices in Spain, which registered an estimated nominal rise of 6.6% in 2018, will increase by 4.5% this year, by 3.4% next year and by 3% a year later, although S&P warns that if prices continue to grow by more than the expected incomes of households, then access to housing will continue to worsen over the coming years.

In this sense, as a result of the deep fall in real estate prices in Spain during the crisis, access to housing is still at better levels now than it was before the burst of the real estate bubble, with a ratio of prices with respect to income that is 29% lower than the maximums observed in 2007, albeit 25% higher than the long-term average.

Similarly, S&P considers that the low interest rates applied to mortgage loans for the acquisition of homes will continue to serve to support access to housing in Spain, indicating that, given the rise in inflation between May and October 2018, real rates became negative.

In addition to Spain, the agency forecasts that real estate price will continue to rise across the Eurozone, although at a lower rate than in previous years, with the exception of Italy, where an increase of 0.5% is expected this year, which will accelerate to 1.3% in 2020 and to 1.6% in 2021.

In the case of Germany, prices will rise by 3.9% in 2019, although those increases will moderate to 3.3% and 3% in the subsequent two years, respectively, whilst in France, house prices are predicted to rise by 2.4% this year and by 2% in the following two years (…).

Original story: La Vanguardia 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mapfre & GLL Launch New €300M Office Fund

8 March 2018 – Iberian Property

The insurance company Mapfre and GLL have just formed a new partnership for the launch of a new investment fund amounting to €300 million.

The vehicle will focus on the purchase of offices in some of the major European markets, such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg, according to the Spanish real estate firm. The idea is to achieve returns of 4%-6% per year, diversifying the portfolio of the entities.

In Spain, Mapfre already owns a portfolio of buildings including Plaza de la Independencia, 6 in Madrid and Torre Mapfre in Barcelona.

Original story: Iberian Property

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Spain Overtakes US to Become 2nd Most-Visited Country in the World

12 January 2018 – El País

Spain’s tourism sector is on a roll, and it looks like the good times will continue into 2018.

Last year, industry activity grew by 4.4% on the back of historic highs, both in terms of international visitors and tourist spending. This year, the business lobby Alliance for Excellence in Tourism (Exceltur) is expecting a further rise of 3.3%.

This industry leader has also estimated the impact of the Catalan crisis on tourism to be in the range of €319 million. If the crisis were to persist, the growth forecast for 2018 would shrink to 2.8%

Even though the secessionist bid shaved three-tenths of a percentage point from tourism activity in 2017, it was still a record year for Spain: over 82 million international visitors, an 8.9% leap from 2016, and a 1.5% increase in average spending per tourist, according to tourism ministry estimates released this week.

This makes Spain the world’s second-most popular tourist destination, behind France and ahead of the United States.

The tourism industry’s share of GDP has increased to 11.5%, representing €134 billion. And industry growth resulted in 77,501 new jobs in 2017, said Exceltur.

Political instability in the last quarter of the year, following the illegal independence referendum of October 1, negatively affected international tourism, particularly in geographically close markets like France, where visitor numbers were down 19.7% year on year in the October–November period. German visitor numbers fell 14% and the UK’s retreated 8%. Asian markets sent fewer visitors as well. However, tourists from the Americas grew notably in number, particularly those from Argentina (a 74% rise) and the United States (18.2%).

Slower growth in 2018

Exceltur said that 2018 “will be another excellent year” and predicted 3.3% growth for the tourism sector, higher than the forecast for the Spanish economy as a whole but lower than in the last two years – and that is without factoring in the potential effects of a protracted crisis in Cataluña.

The lower growth figure can be partially explained by a gradual recovery of alternative destinations that compete directly with Spain, such as Turkey, where terrorist attacks have driven tourism down.

“The challenge for the tourism industry now is to ensure sustainable growth with a view to the future,” said José Luis Zoreda, executive vice-president of Exceltur, at a news conference.

Despite the optimistic forecast, Exceltur is warning about a drop in revenues in early 2018: 10% for hotels, 6.8% for car rental companies, and 3.5% for transportation firms. The business association said “there will be staff adjustments” to make up for these losses.

Original story: El País (by Nahiara S. Alonso)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Amancio Ortega Creates RE Subsidiary In Spain With Assets Worth €1,600M+

13 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Pontegadea, the investment vehicle owned by the founder of Inditex, Amancio Ortega (pictured below), has created a real estate subsidiary in Spain to group together its local assets, which have a combined value of more than €1,600 million. The assets include Torre Cepsa, designed by the architect Norman Foster and acquired at the end of 2016 for €490 million and the building at Gran Vía, 32, which is home to one of the largest Primark stores in Europe, and which was purchased at the beginning of 2015 for €400 million.

Specifically, Pontegadea Inmobiliaria, which closed 2016 with real estate assets worth more than €6,700 million, will have a new subsidiary, in the form of Pontegadea España, a company in which Ortega will group together his real estate business in the Spanish market.

Sources close to the deal have explained to Europa Press that Pontegadea Inmobiliaria already has specific companies in many of the countries in which it operates, such as in the USA, France, United Kingdom and Korea, to hold the real estate activity of the textile giant’s founder in each respective territory.

It is about having a “more homogenous” structure in all of the markets in which Pontegadea Inmobiliaria operates (…). In fact, according to the same sources, there was no need to constitute a company for this activity in the Spanish market, given that Pontegadea already had one, Torre Norte Castellana, owner of Torre Cepsa, acquired at the end of last year. As such, it has only had to change the name of that entity to Pontegadea España, and add the leasing of real estate assets in Spain to its activity, according to the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (Borme).

Torre Cepsa, Gran Vía 32 and Torre Picasso

In addition to Torre Cepsa (…) and Gran Vía, 32, Ortega owns several other buildings in Madrid, such as Torre Picasso and the Castella 79 building, which houses the largest Zara store in the world.

The founder and largest shareholder of Inditex has received revenues of €1,256 million this year in the form of dividends from Pontegadea, through the companies Pontegadea Inversiones and Partler (through which he controls a 59.294% stake in Inditex), compared with €1,108 million in 2016.

Ortega closed 2016 with real estate assets worth €6,719 million, which represents €661 million more than a year before, grouped together into his company Pontegadea Inmobiliaira, which has net assets worth €6,485 million, up from the €5,460 million that it held a year earlier. Ortega, who invests some of the dividends he receives from Inditex in the real estate sector, owns the largest real estate company in Spain, focusing on the sale, purchase and rental of large buildings. The firm owns a portfolio of real estate assets, fundamentally comprising non-residential, office buildings located in the centre of large cities in Spain, the United Kingdom, the USA and Asia.

Original story: El Confidencial

Translation: Carmel Drake

Engel & Völkers: House Prices Soar In Ibiza

21 July 2017 – Eje Prime

The real estate market in Ibiza is continuing to rise. Demand for high-end housing in Ibiza continues to significantly exceed the available supply, which has led to an increase in the prices registered on the island over the last year, according to a study prepared by the German real estate consultancy firm Engel & Völkers.

In its Ibiza Markets Report, the company explains that over the last year, it has sold homes to clients of 17 nationalities. Although most buyers on the island came from Germany, for the first time in almost ten years, Spaniards were the second largest group of house buyers.

The nationality of the other main house buyers included people from the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Benelux countries. “Ibiza is still one of the favourite destinations for the international jet set and retains its leadership position in the Balearic Islands as the island with the most private flights”, say sources at the consultancy firm.

One of the most sought-after areas on the Balearic Island is the city of Ibiza and its surrounding areas. The redevelopment of the old town will be completed this year and so new luxury hotels will soon enhance the exclusivity of that area. In this sense, luxury villas measuring 350 m2 saw their prices increase by 14.2% in 2016 to reach €4 million.

Properties range from contemporary designer villas to traditional estates. The asking prices for villas measuring 350 m2 start at €3.5 million, whereby exceeding the figure of €3 million paid in 2015.

Entry prices for villas measuring around 350 m2 in very good locations rose to €2.6 million in 2016 compared to €2.5 million in 2015. “We are convinced that the growth of the real estate market will continue for the rest of the year in Ibiza”, predicted Florian Fischer, Director General of Engel & Völkers España.

The consultancy firm forecasts that the high level of demand will continue, both from domestic and international buyers, for primary and secondary residences on the Balearic Islands, primarily in the most premium segment, where the limited number of exclusive properties will lead to further price increases over the long term.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ICG Buys Spanish Nursing Home Leader From PAI Partners

16 June 2017 – Expansión

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) is holding exclusive negotiations with PAI Partners to purchase the majority of the capital in HomeVi, a company that owns more than 300 nursing homes in Spain and France.

The British investment fund ICG already holds a minority stake in HomeVi, in which the French businessman Yves Journel also owns shares. The operation, which would value the group at around €2,000 million, would see ICG buy the French private equity firm PAI Partners’ majority stake. Journel would continue as a minority shareholder.

HomeVi is the leader in the nursing home sector in Spain through Geriatros-SARquavitae, which groups together 135 centres with 20,000 beds. PAI Partners bought Geriatros from Magnum Capital through HomeVi in 2015 for around €300 million; and in February this year, it acquired SARquavitae, which was previously controlled by the British fund Palamon, for €440 million. In that transaction, Euro Lagune acquired the real estate assets of SARquavitae for €110 million.

For the overall valuation of HomeVi in the negotiations with ICG, the Spanish activity accounts for almost half of the total. In France, the group operates under the DomusVi brand, and it also has several centres in China.

Two months ago, PAI Partners engaged the investment bank Rothschild to advise it on the possible sale of HomeVi. After analysing its debut on the stock market, it seems to have opted for a rapid sale process in the end, given the interest from ICG.

This fund, with assets worth €23,800 million, has traditionally invested in debt to finance private equity firms. Now it is diversifying to buy companies directly. Last year, ICG invested around €200 million to take control of the La Rioja-based industrial company Garnica.

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: Spain Is Europe’s Sixth Largest RE Investment Market

29 November 2016 – La Vanguardia

According to data published yesterday by the real estate consultancy CBRE, Spain was the sixth largest country in the European Union for real estate investment in the tertiary sector during the nine months to September, with investment amounting to €6,438 million.

In fact, Spain accounted for 4% of the total amount invested in real estate across Europe during the 9 months to September, which amounted to €163,095 million in total, down by 16% compared to the same period last year.

The hotel sector accounted for most of the investment in Spain during the first nine months of the year; the country was third in the ranking for hotel investment in Europe.

The retail or commercial sector also performed well. It grew in Spain with respect to last year allowing the country to position itself as the fourth largest destination for retail investment in Europe.

Although the volume of investment in the tertiary sector in Spain during the first nine months of this year was lower than the figure recorded last year, the Head of Research at CBRE Spain, Lola Martínez-Brioso, thinks that it is likely that the final figure for the year will be in line with the previous two years.

All of this, she adds, does not include the operations that Merlin has completed this year, with its purchase of Testa and its merger with Metrovacesa.

As a result, the Director of the firm maintains that this data is indicative of sustainable activity, which “distances us from another potential bubble”.

Of the 28 countries in the European Union, the United Kingdom leads the ranking in terms of real estate investment, with a total investment volume of €45,915 million during the first nine months of the year.

The UK is followed by Germany (€32,700 million) and France (15,793 million). Sweden and The Netherlands are ranked in fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Nevertheless, Sweden recorded the highest increase in investment volumes (31%) compared with the same period last year, followed by Denmark, up by 21%.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmila Buys 3 Shopping Centres In Spain For €77M

6 September 2016 – Expansión

Carmila – Carrefour’s real estate subsidiary – has acquired three shopping centres from Hispania Retail Properties for €77 million and has thereby increased the number of assets that it owns in Spain to 69.

Specifically, the company has acquired El Mirador in the province of Burgos, which has a surface area of 9,104 sqm and 3.5 million visitors per year; Montigalà in Badalona, which has a surface area of 10,668 sqm and 3.5 million visitors per year, and Atalayas in the centre of Murcia, which has a surface area of 10,024 sqm and five million visitors per year.

Meanwhile, the company has acquired fourteen stores in the Pince-Vent shopping centre in Ormesson (France) from the company Meyer Bergman. As a result of that transaction, the company has completed its acquisition of the entire shopping centre, which receives 5.1 million visitors each year.

Carmila, which is owned jointly by Carrefour (42%) and several large institutional investors (58%), invests in shopping centres that are adjacent to its Carrefour hypermarkets in Spain, France and Italy.

The Chairman of Carmila, Jacques Ehrmann, explained that with these operations, the Group has increased the value of its asset portfolio to €4,600 million. “The group is maintaining its value creation strategy thanks to a total portfolio of project investment amounting to €1,200 million and the development of innovation projects for the benefit of traders”, said Ehrmann.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotusa Incorporates 
More Than 400 Associated Hotels

9 February 2016 – Expansion

Hotusa strengthened its hotel portfolio in 2015 with 403 associated establishments. Out of these, 130 are in Spain and the remaining 273 are spread over 29 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. With these incorporations, the consortium of independent hotels of Hotusa Group totals more than 2,700 associates worldwide. 
Most hotels oncorporated outside Spain are located in Europe. Specifically, 210 establishments in 15 countries. Ahead are Italy and France, with 73 and 68 hotels, respectively. 
The company chaired by Amancio López also had a good growth in North Africa, especially in Morocco, with 11 new associates. Its evolution in Chile is also significant – with 12 new associates, and in the US, where it has added 10 locations. 
Hotusa is the largest tourist group in Catalonia, with a turnover of EUR 744 million in 2014, a figure that includes own hotels, marketing of third parties establishments and the division of tourism services. 
Hotusa has 147 hotels in 17 countries under Eurostars and Exe brands. And also Keytel booking central and Hotelius on-line portal.

Original story: Expansion

Translation: Aura Ree