BNP Paribas: RE Investment Rose by 8% in 2018 to €11.6bn

9 January 2019 – El Periódico

The volume of annual investment in the Spanish real estate sector amounted to €11.63 billion in 2018, which represented an increase of 8% compared to 2017. If we add the corporate operations with underlying real estate to that volume, then the figure increases to €19 billion, which represents an investment record since the end of the crisis, according to the latest report from BNP Paribas Real Estate in Spain. The report highlights that interest from investors in the Spanish real estate sector in 2018 was at its highest level for a decade.

During the fourth quarter of the year, the volume of direct investment in real estate assets – offices, logistics warehouses, hotels, retail and residential – amounted to €3.7 billion in total, which represented an increase of 58% YoY. The evolution of investor activity, therefore, exceeded the expectations of the sector at the beginning of the year.

“The good times that the fundamentals of the market are enjoying, with occupancy levels at maximums and rents that are stable or expanding in the most consolidated markets, together with the surplus capital and the limited alternatives offered by other financial products, have fostered a frenetic pace of activity in the investment market”, explains the report.

By type of asset, the commercial sector (retail) was the star of the year. The volume invested in commercial assets during 2018 amounted to €4.28 billion, which represents an increase of 23% compared to 2017. During the fourth quarter, investment reached €1.26 billion, and so the sector achieved a quarterly market share of 35%. The largest operation during the final quarter of the year was the purchase of a portfolio of three shopping centres – Max Center, Gran Casa and Valle Real – by Sonae Sierra and Perter Varbacka for €485 million.

Commercial yields

Demand from investors for high street retail assets was high, given that they consider them to be a very stable product. Similarly, there was a high interest in land for the development of retail parks, in light of the scarce supply of this type of asset. The yields continued at 3.00% for prime premises; between 5.00% and 5.25% for prime shopping centres; and at 5.75% for prime retail parks.

In terms of the office market, the investment volume recorded during the fourth quarter was €986 million taking the total figure for the year to €2.228 billion. That represented a slight YoY decrease of 4%. The shortage of products for sale meant that fewer operations materialised in 2018 than in 2017. The prime yield in the office market remained at 3.25% in Madrid and 3.50% in Barcelona.

The logistics market continues to rise. The increase in e-commerce and the strong performance of the consumer sector and the economy, in general, have encouraged investment in this type of asset. The investment volume registered during the fourth quarter of the year amounted to €400 million, whilst the total figure for the year (€1.3 billion) represented a new investment record, and an increase of 30% compared to 2017. The shortage of products, combined with the high investment pressure resulted in a considerable adjustment in yields, which amounted to 5.30% in the prime logistics market in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Investors

Investment funds were the great stars of the market, representing 61% of the total volume transacted in 2018. Socimis have been very present in the investment market, both on the buy and sell sides in the main land transactions to develop new products. Finally, the presence of family offices (private investors) stood out, with acquisitions, in general, for volumes of less than €50 million.

Alternative investments remained in the spotlight of investors, who were mainly attracted by student residences, clinics and nursing homes for the elderly. The cumulative volume invested in those types of assets amounted to €600 million in 2018.

Original story: El Periódico (by Max Jiménez Botías)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECE Finalises Purchase of 3 Shopping Centres from Sonae & CBRE GI for €450M

8 June 2018 – Eje Prime

The portfolio of shopping centres jointly owned by Sonae Sierra and CBRE Global Investors could be on the verge of having a new owner. The German company ECE is reportedly finalising the purchase of three shopping centres from the two groups for between €450 million and €500 million, according to sources close to the operation speaking to Eje Prime. Sonae Sierra and CBRE GI jointly own these three assets (50% each).

With the purchase of this portfolio, ECE would begin to acquire its first assets in Spain, given that since it carried out the acquisition of Auxideico Gestión in 2010, a company specialising in the management of retail complexes and which previously belonged to ING Real Estate Development, it has not closed any transaction of this kind.

The centres that may be added to the portfolio of the German firm ECE are: Gran Casa en Zaragoza, the largest of the three; Valle Real (Cantabria); and Max Center (Barakaldo, Bizkaia). The two current owners already announced when the sales process was launched that they expected to pocket around €500 million from the sale.

If the operation with ECE goes ahead, it will represent the real estate giant’s first purchase in Spain since its arrival. Eight years ago, the group headquartered in Hamburg and the leader of the European market in urban shopping centres, acquired the Spanish firm Auxideico Gestión, which was, at the time, responsible for the management of fourteen shopping centres.

Until last year and following its acquisition by ECE, the group controlled more than 25 retail complexes in Spain, including Albufera Plaza, Montecarmelo and Moraleja Green in Madrid, Alcalá Magna in Alcalá de Henares and Parc Central in Tarragona. In 2017, Auxideico finally stopped operating in Spain due to “its small business volume”, according to sources in the sector. Across Europe, ECE has more than 195 shopping centres under management.

ECE, a giant with a healthy investor appetite

Founded in 1965 by Werner Otto, ECE now has more than half a century of experience in the sector under its belt. The family-owned company develops, plans, builds, leases and manages shopping centres and invests in real estate projects.

With a retail surface area of 7.2 million m2 and around 21,000 retail operators, the shopping centres managed by ECE generate annual sales of more than €23 billion and have a market value of €30 billion. Moreover, ECE has a stock of shopping centres under construction and being planned, with an investment volume of €3.2 billion.

ECE, in addition to specialising in the management of shopping centres, also operates in the real estate sector with other types of assets. The company owns a portfolio of logistics assets spanning 913,000 m2 and office buildings measuring 1 million m2.

Shopping centres, a good business in Spain

The fact that a group such as ECE is showing interest again in this business in Spain is due to the good outlook that the studies predict for the sector. Spanish people both visited and spent more in shopping centres in 2017, and the turnover in this types of assets increased by 1.5% last year with respect to the previous year, whilst visitor footfall grew by 1.1% YoY.

The sectors that performed the best last year with respect to 2016 in terms of sales were the household, leisure and restaurant segments, with increases of 5%, 3,7% and 2,7%, respectively, according to a report from Cushman&Wakefield (…).

Shopping centres will continue to be the most sought-after assets by investors, primarily international funds. The Spanish retail market closed 2017 with 555 active shopping centres and a stock spanning 15.8 million m2, according to the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres (AECC).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake