Axa Sells Eight Buildings in Barcelona to Germany’s KanAm Grund for €100 Million

14 July 2019

A major German investment fund, KanAm Grund, has acquired eight buildings in Barcelona, in a deal reportedly worth 100 million euros. All are currently leased to the Catalonian government.

The seller, the French investment giant Axa IMRA, originally acquired the assets, together with another five buildings, from the Catalonian government in 2013 for €172 million. At the time, Spain was still mired in the real estate and financial crisis and the sale had been the cash-strapped administration’s second attempt to offload the assets. As part of the agreement, the Catalonian government agreed to remain in the properties for twenty years.

The buildings included in the deal consist of the Conselleria de Justícia, on Calle Pau Claris; the Citizen Service Office on Calle Carrera; the General Subdirectorate for Initial Employment Authorizations, on Calle Puig i Xoriguer and the headquarters of the Institut Català de les Dones (ICD), on Plaza Pere Coromines. The remaining buildings include the headquarters of the Institut Obert de Catalunya, on Avenida Parallel, the Territorial Judicial Archive of Barcelona, on Calle Roger de Flor, the headquarters of the General Directorate for Language Policy, on the Portal de Santa Madrona and the Employment Office on Calle Doctor Joaquim Pou.

Axa retained five of the larger assets in the portfolio: the offices of the Conselleria de Justícia and the headquarters of the Agència de l’Habitatge de Catalunya, both on Calle Aragón; the Conselleria de Enseñanza, on Via Augusta, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Natural Environment, on the Gran Vía, among others.

Original Story: El Confidencial – E. Sanz / M. Lamelas

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

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

Saba Buys 800 Parking Lots from Indigo for €200M

12 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Saba is expanding in Europe. The subsidiary of CriteriaCaixa, which specialises in the acquisition and management of parking lots, has acquired 800 car parks from Indigo for €200 million. The package sold comprises 169,000 parking spaces spread over several countries across the continent, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

In addition to British and German territory, Saba has also entered Slovakia and the Czech Republic with this purchase. Those four countries join the five where the company already had a presence, namely: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Andorra and Chile. In total, the company managed 210,000 parking spaces to date.

By virtue of this operation with Indigo, which is owned by the investment fund Ardian, the Spanish company has almost doubled the size of its portfolio, which will increase to 378,000 parking spaces, distributed across 1,175 parking lots, according to Expansión.

Salvador Alemany, President of Saba, has said that the purchase of this package of alternative assets “consolidates Saba’s industrial project over the long term, giving coherence to the roadmap marked by the company with the aim of making it a first-rate international player”.

In 2017, Saba recorded revenues of €213 million, with an EBITDA of €100 million and net financial debt of €330 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Invesco Real Estate Acquires Three Logistics Assets in Madrid and Barcelona

5 October 2018

Invesco Real Estate (Invesco), the global real estate investment manager, has announced the acquisition of three newly built logistics assets in Madrid and Barcelona, the two Spanish cities with the greatest demand for logistics capabilities. The sum of the three transactions reached 173 million euros, totalling 189,000 square meters. The acquisitions resulted from mandates from two German companies.

Fernando San Juan Monje, director of transactions for Invesco Spain, said that “the size, quality and location in prime logistics areas makes these three properties truly unique and give us the opportunity to increase our presence in the “last mile” segment, which is the last link in the chain of  distribution of goods in cities.” Mr San Juan added that “their locations, close to Madrid and Barcelona and with direct access to motorways, makes these high-quality assets an attractive product for both investors and logistics operators.”

The interest of institutional investors in the Spanish logistics market is growing significantly, driven by an increase in rents and relatively high returns. The absence of new logistics developments during the economic crisis in Spain has caused that the supply of logistics centres in many cities to become obsolete and of low quality, which has limited the alternatives for investors interested in acquiring assets.

Guy-Young Lamé, the director of Invesco’s European Studies, stated that “this fantastic opportunity for two of our mandates in Germany comes at a great time. We have seen how the e-commerce sector in Spain has been rapidly expanding in recent years after a previous lull, so, these days, there is a growing demand for high-quality logistics assets.”

The acquisition of Abrera’s assets (see photo) together with the other two in Madrid’s south and east were finalised in recent weeks. Thanks to the interconnection of their different modules, the properties have the advantage of a high level of flexibility, with the option of offering different sizes to suit the needs of both large and small operators.

Original Story: Inmodiário

Translation: Richard Turner

Offices & Logistics Assets will Drive Spain’s Real Estate Sector over the next 5 Years

20 September 2018 – Eje Prime

Spain is consolidating its position as one of the most powerful real estate markets in Europe. The Spanish real estate sector has been strengthened in recent years by the creation of employment and, in particular, by investments undertaken in the office and logistics segments. Looking ahead, it is expected that the scarce supply of these assets will lead to a rise in prices, especially in Madrid.

The sector expects the office business to maintain an upward trend over the next five years in light of the outlook for the creation of employment in Barcelona and Madrid. During this period, both cities are predicted to generate around 200,000 to 300,000 jobs, respectively.

Good news is also expected in the logistics sector. Above all thanks to the boom in e-commerce, the market for industrial centres and warehouses in Spain is currently one of the most powerful in Europe. Despite the great demand for assets, in cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, the rate of available stock stands at just 4%, which is pushing rental prices up. For DWS, the challenge until 2022 will be to “adapt existing buildings to the new needs of companies”.

In terms of the rest of Europe, an increase of 2% per year is expected in the prime office market. Together with Madrid and Barcelona, other areas that will see an increase in demand for such spaces until 2022 include Berlin and the financial district of Paris.

Logistics will be, undoubtedly, the most dynamic segment of the European real estate sector over the next five years. It is expected that, in light of an availability rate for industrial spaces of 5% in most of the large cities, rents will rise by 2.2% per year, on average. Germany, the UK and Poland are expected to lead that growth.

Original story: Eje Prime 

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

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

RE/MAX: The RE Recovery Is Spreading Across Europe

12 June 2017 – El Mundo

The real estate market is growing, not only in Spain, but also in Europe, according to the Housing Report compiled by RE/MAX Europa. This improvement is being reflected in high levels of demand and rising prices, a trend that looks set to continue over the coming months in the property sector of the Old Continent. The good borrowing conditions and the incentives, especially for those buying their first home, are two of the main factors that are driving this growth.

Specifically, in Spain, house prices are stable, with potential for growth. “The increase in wages in Spain, the access to financing, as well as the political stability are posited as the most important factors for driving this upward trend in prices”, explain RE/MAX Europa.

Specifically, since 2015, the sales prices of family homes, as well as of flats and apartments, have increased by 4.5% on average in urban areas, where the average price per square metre has risen from €1,651/m2 to €1,727/m2. House prices in urban areas are expected to increase by 1.8% in 2017 and by 1% in the case of properties located in small towns.

And the picture is even more buoyant in the rental market. Prices per square metre have risen by 9.8% in the large cities and by 7.7% in small towns. In this way, the average monthly rental cost in a Spanish city amounts to around €800/month, whilst in the smaller towns, that figure stands at around €600/month.

The recovery of the real estate sector at the European level is based, above all, on low interest rates and, therefore, loans that are accessible to the public. This situation is “currently being seen in almost every country in Europe”, said the study. “That is resulting in higher demand, which is driving up prices in almost every segment and area”, it adds.

In Slovakia and Estonia, for example, thanks to these favourable conditions, there has been a significant increase in the construction of new homes, said RE/MAX Europa. In Malta, there has also been growth in the rental market, due to the rising number of overseas employees living on the island. Markets such as Portugal, Greece and Scotland “have been recovering really well over the last few years and are now showing clear signs of stable growth, with the prospect of more transactions in the future”.

Cities are improving

The experts at RE/MAX confirm that between 2015 and 2016, sales prices rose for apartments and family homes. In particular, prices per square metre rose significantly in the case of urban apartments, specifically, by 13% in certain cities in Lithuania, Germany and Luxembourg. The sales prices of houses in small towns also rose and are expected to increase by 4% in 2017 in Austria and Estonia. Nevertheless, prices are predicted to remain stable in France, Greece and Switzerland.

Rental prices also increased in 2016. Specifically, by 10% for urban apartments in The Netherlands, Romania and Spain, and by 16% in Malta. The experts at RE/MAX predict that rental prices will increase or remain stable in the majority of Europe during 2017.

One of the most important criteria in determining differences in prices is location. According to Michael Polzler, CEO of RE/MAX Europa, “the sales prices of apartments vary by 64%, depending on whether a property is located in an urban area or in a small town. For family homes, that difference amounts to 44%”.

Original story: El Mundo

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

Popular Places A €1,000M Mortgage Bond Issue At 1%

25 March 2015 – Expansión

The entity has completed a 10-year mortgage bond issue amounting to €1,000 million.

The placement carries a coupon of 1%, the lowest historical rate for Popular in the last ten years. The most recent bond issue made by Popular in April 2014 carried a coupon of 2.125% and had a five and a half year term.

Specifically, 78% of the demand for the bond issue has come from international investors. It has managed to attract a lot of investors and achieve an oversubscription of 1.4 x.

In terms of the nationalities of the international investors: 31% were from Germany and 15% were from the UK and Ireland. Demand for the bond issue was highly diversified, comprising 80 orders. By type of investor, 47% were fund managers, 32% were central banks and 19% were banks.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake