Blackstone Raises its Bid for Rental Housing …

27 August 2015 – Expansión

The venture capital firm has closed the purchase of the Ferrocarril Intermediación y Patrimonios.

The US fund Blackstone continues to expand its investment property portfolio in Spain. In this case, the venture capital firm has bet on the rental housing business, where it operates through the REIT, Fidere. Blackstone has completed the purchase of Ferrocarril Intermediación y Patrimonios, a company with almost 500 subsidized homes spread over two promotions in the Community of Madrid.

The fund already was a minority shareholder in this company. Specifically, it held 35% after buying Bankia’s holding. This company, until last year controlled by the financial institution, acted as a holding participating with national companies in about twenty partnerships to promote low-cost housing in the Community of Madrid. Ferrocarril Intermediación y Patrimonios was among these companies, with others in the sector participating as well: Hercesa, OHL, and Bigeco Gestesa, among others.

Now, Blackstone has agreed with Ferrocarril to get hold of 100% of the company, which has some 406 subsidized homes under lease in Las Rozas and another 80 in Alcalá de Henares.

Through it, the fund would have paid about 54 million euros, according to market sources, 46.6 million of which would correspond to the promotion of las Rozas and the rest to the homes of Alcalá de Henares.

The operation will be used so that Ferrocarril Inmobiliaria, presided by Rafael González Cobos, could minimize its debt and strengthen its own funds to take on new projects, as the company itself confirmed.

Blackstone has not only managed with the nearly 500 homes; it has also paid the debts that had linked these two promotions. For the construction of these projects, the Ferrocarril company asked Bankia for several loans worth over 47 million euros. These credits passed on to SAREB and after the purchase by Blackstone have been canceled, according to the public entity.


The 500 homes will be managed by Fidere. The fund took this company to the MAB (Mercado alternativo Bursatil/Alternative Investment Market) on June 29 with 3,000 homes to rent (now totaling almost 5,000 units), coming from portfolio purchases to the City of Madrid, FCC and Martinsa Fadesa. Then, it was valued at 212 million euros. Yesterday, it closed with a market capitalization of 217.7 million, its shares being worth 21.61 euros.

In addition to residential assets Blackstone boasts of a significant real estate portfolio in Spain. Among offices, stand out several buildings acquired last year, such as the headquarters of Capgemini and Citibank, in Madrid, and central offices of HP and Mediapro in Sant Cugat and Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), respectively.

The US fund has a logistics subsidiary called Logicor, with assets in several European countries, including Spain.

Blackstone also owns a portfolio of doubtful mortgages purchased from Catalunya Banc, which runs through the company Anticipa and several shopping centers controlled by the Multi Development firm.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: James Leahu

Calle Serrano: The Most Expensive Street In Spain

4 March 2015 – Cinco Días

Tenants now pay rents of €32 per square metre on the exclusive Madrileñian shopping street

The most expensive rents in Spain are paid on Calle Serrano in Madrid (€32 per square metre), followed by the Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona (€29 per square metre).

According to a study conducted by TecniTasa, after these iconic streets in Madrid and Barcelona, the next most expensive rents in Spain are paid in Pamplona, where tenants are charged more than €25 per square metre.

Rental costs in Santander, Marbella and Cádiz now exceed €17 per square metre, and so these cities replace La Coruña, San Sebastián and Bilbao in the list of most expensive rental prices.

By contrast, the report indicates that the lowest rents are paid in the cities of Castellón, Elche, Huelva, Almería, Granada and Torrent, in Valencia, where the cost per square metre amounts to less than €2 per month.

The study concludes that house rental prices are continuing their downward trend in Spain, however these decreases are more significant in the more expensive areas, whilst the prices in the cheapest neighbourhoods are showing slight increases in some cities.

Rental housing on one of the iconic streets of cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Pamplona, La Coruña, San Sebastián and Bilbao costs more than €2,000 per month.

This data contrasts with the values charged in the cheapest neighbourhoods of Alicante, Elche, Almería, Castellón, Granada, Huelva and Torrent, where it is still possible to rent a home for less than €200 per month.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tecnocasa: Average Rents Reached €8.54/sqm In 2014

19 February 2015 – El Mundo

Rental prices (in 2014) were slightly higher (+0.47%) than at the end of 2013.

The market is suffering its greatest declines in Madrid (-1.57%) and Barcelona (-0.59%).

The typical landlord profile: pensioners (28%), Spanish nationals (96%) and married (70%).

The typical tenant profile: single people, with permanent employment contracts, aged between 25 and 44 years old and Spanish.

The Tecnocasa Group has presented its first report about the residential rental market in Spain (a groundbreaking study). Highlights show that the average cost of rental homes amounted to €8.54/square metre (in 2014), which is slightly higher (+0.47%) than at the end of 2013.

With these figures on the table, Tecnocasa says that “rental prices have remained stable (upwards)”, although it acknowledges that there has been a slight decline in the two largest Spanish cities. Specifically, rents became 1.57% cheaper in Madrid and 0.59% cheaper in Barcelona, where prices amount to €10/sqm in absolute terms.

One must go back to 2007 to find the last report about rental prices nationwide. The then Housing Minister, María Antonio Trujillo, presented the OEVA (the State Observatory for Rental Housing or ‘Observatorio Estatal de la Vivienda en Alquiler’), which was the first official survey about the market. It was also the last. That study reported that the average price of rental housing was €7.20/square metre.

Tecnocasa’s study shows that the profile of landlords, i.e. of the people that lease out their properties, includes a high percentage of pensioners (28%), Spanish nationals (96%) and married people (70%). In terms of the profile of tenants, they are single, with permanent employment contracts, aged between 25 and 44 and, for the most part, are Spanish.

Lázaro Cubero, Director of the Department for Analysis and Reports (Departamento de Análisis e Informes or DAI) at the Tecnocasa Group, notes that rental prices have decreased by less than purchase prices in the last year, which means that “the yield a landlord can obtain by renting out a home that he/she owns is now greater”. Specifically, this yield has increased to 7.41% on average for the whole of Spain.

These figures represent the findings of the first report about the rental market conducted by the Tecnocasa Group and the Univerisdad Pompeu Fabra (UPF), based on a study that analyses data extracted from the property rental agreements brokered by Tecnocasa’s network (of agents) in Spain between 2012 and 2014.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rental Prices Fall Again In January By 0.6%

16 February 2015 – Cinco Días

Navarra, Murcia and La Rioja recorded the most significant decreases.

Rental prices decreased again in January by 0.6%, i.e. by a tenth of a point less than in the previous month, representing almost half of the general index (-1.3%) and almost two consecutive years of cumulative decline, according to data published today by the National Institute of Statistics (el Instituto Nacional de Estadística or INE).

By autonomous region, the main decreases were recorded in Navarra (-1.9%), Murcia (-1.8%), La Rioja (-1.8%), Valencia (-1.4%), Madrid (-1.4%), Pais Vasco (-1%), Andalucía (-0.8%) and Castilla-La Mancha (-0.8%). Reductions were also observed in the Canary Islands (-0.3%), Cantabria (-0.3%), Aragon (-0.3%), Asturias (-0.2%), Extremadura (-0.3%), Galicia (-0.3%), Ceuta (-0.3%) and Castilla y León (-0.2%), although these were below the average recorded. Rental prices remained stable in the Balearic Islands and increased only in Melilla (+0.9%) and Cataluña (+0.1%).

On the other hand, house maintenance costs increased by 0.7% year-on-year, i.e. by two percentage points more than the overall rate and were virtually unchanged with respect to the end of 2014.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

Housing: Rental Prices Are On The Rise In 7 Autonomous Regions

29 January 2015 – Expansión

Trend/ The rental market is showing signs of improvement, after seven consecutive years of decline. Rental prices are increasing again in seven autonomous regions and are now stable in three.

The trend in rental prices is starting to change. After seven years of uninterrupted decreases, there were signs of stabilisation in the market in 2014. Overall, prices decreased by 1.9%, but that represented the smallest decreased since the golden years of the bubble, in 2007. Moreover, rental prices in 10 autonomous regions are no longer falling (they are increasing in seven and stable in three).

Those are the main conclusions of a report, prepared by in collaboration with the IESE Business School, about Rental Housing In 2014. “In the space of a few months, we have gone from seeing decreasing rental prices across almost the whole country, to seeing year-on-year increases in seven autonomous communities; furthermore, the scope for further downward movement is now limited in certain other areas”, says the study.

The Balearic Islands led the return to rental increases, with an annual rise of 6.7%. It was followed by Cataluña (6.5%), Pais Vasco (6.1%), the Canary Islands (1.8%), Madrid (0.6%), Extremadura (0.5%) and Valencia (0.2%).

Moreover, for the first time in seven years, none of the autonomous regions recorded rental price decreases of more than -5%. In fact, the sharpest decline was in Castilla-La Mancha (-3.4%), followed by Asturias (-3.2%), Navarra (-2.9%), Murcia (-2.3%) and La Rioja (-2.1%).

“The year-on-year variation in 2014 (-1.9%) is more than three points lower than the decline recorded at the end of 2013 (-5.2%) and it brings us back to pre-crisis levels”, said Fotocasa.

Rental prices in Spain reached their historical peak in May 2007, at €10.12 per sqm per month. Since then, they have declined by 33.1% overall, with Aragon (-42.5%) and Cantabria (-37%) being hit particularly hard.

The report identifies 86 municipalities that recorded rental price increases last year. The most notable increase was in San Sebastián, the city with the most expensive housing in Spain (12.7%), followed by Sant Pere de Ribes (11.7%) and Calvia (11.5%).

In Spain’s two largest real estate markets, the changing trend is catching on more quickly. In 2014, the rental price per sqm increased in 10 of the 21 districts in Madrid and in 9 of the 10 districts in Barcelona.

Madrid and Barcelona

The most notable increase in the capital was in the Retiro district (5.5%), followed by the Centro (5.3%), Chamberí and Salamanca (4.1% in both). And the most marked decreases were in Vicálvaro (-7%), Puente de Vallecas (-5.7%) and Villaverde (-5%).

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the largest increase in rental prices was recorded in the district of Les Corts (12.9%), followed by Eixample (9.8%), Ciutat Vella (9.4%), San Martí (8.8%) and Sarria-Sant Gervasi (8.5%). The only district to experience a decrease was Sant Andreu (-1.2%).

The most expensive area to rent a home in Barcelona is Ciutat Vella, with a average price per sqm per month of €13.60, followed by Sarria-Sant Gervasi (€13.04). Meanwhile, the most expensive district in Madrid is Salamanca, with an average price of €13.04 per sqm per month, followed by Chamberí (€12.96).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake