Town Hall of Barcelona Looks for Private Partners to Promote Social Housing

30 January 2019 – Eje Prime

The Administration is looking for a private property developer. The Metropolitán Area of Barcelona (AMB) has opened a process to choose a partner for the public company Habitatge Metròpolis Barcelona, which is planning to build social housing in the city and its metropolitan area.

The entry of a new shareholder will be carried out through a capital increase whereby €12 million will be contributed, according to Expansión. Cevasa, Visoren, Neinor and Sogeviso are some of the interested companies. Meanwhile, the company’s existing shareholders will subscribe another €12 million capital increase in equal parts.

The bidding process will be open for two months. The objective is to raise capital, but also to increase awareness about the development and the management capacity of the stock of rental homes.

The objective involves constructing a stock of social housing properties comprising 4,500 units over the next ten years. The AMB will contribute two estates in Sant Boi de Llobregat and Montgat, and the Town Hall of Barcelona will contribute €6 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gestilar Buys 15,000 m2 of Residential Land in Barcelona

24 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Gestilar is strengthening its commitment to Cataluña. The Spanish property developer has purchased several buildable plots of land in Badalona (Barcelona) measuring 15,644 m2 in total on which to build two new developments containing 130 homes, according to a statement issued by the company.

The project is located on Illa 3 de Marina Badalona and will be developed in two phases: a first, in which 92 homes will be built, and a second, with 38 units. The first development will be called Islas Sagres and will comprise two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. The real estate company plans to hand over the homes in 2021.

Gestilar’s commitment to Cataluña is expanding with this new development in Barcelona’s metropolitan area, the company’s fourth project in the autonomous region. “Cataluña is a market in continuous flux when it comes to real estate assets and there is still a lot of pent-up demand”, said the Director-General of Gestilar, Marta García-Valcárcel.

Before the end of this year, the property developer is going to hand over 150 new homes in Girona and Barcelona. In recent months, the property developer has also acquired new buildable plots in the Barcelona town of Sabadell, as well as in Madrid and Vigo.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Juan Velayos: “Neinor will Not Buy Land in Municipalities that Oblige 30% of Developments to be used for Social Housing”

19 October 2018 – El País

Next week, the ‘Meeting Point’ real estate fair is going to be held in Barcelona and the atmosphere is palpable: property developers are angry about the obligation to allocate 30% of new developments to social housing, a measure approved recently by the Town Hall of Barcelona, which may be extended to other municipalities. In an informative breakfast on Friday, the CEO of Neinor Homes, Juan Velayos, added fuel to the fire. Velayos explained that this “manifestly illegal” measure, will generate legal uncertainty and hinder the purchase of land for construction. In the case of Neinor Homes, Velayos confirmed that his firm will not buy land in any municipalities that adopt the obligation to allocate 30% of developments to social housing.

The measure approved by the municipal government led by Ada Colau will oblige property developers to reserve 30% of all new and renovated residential developments spanning more than 600 m2 to social housing. “The need to create social housing is a reality in the city, but the measure is very unfortunate. It is great for winning votes, but not for resolving the problem of housing”, said the CEO of Neinor Homes. In his opinion, the obligation established by the Town Hall, which does not discriminate by area or reflect the specific needs of neighbourhoods, only serves to restrict the action of property developers. They will not have the same incentives to buy or build and, in his opinion, that will affect buyers, who will see prices continue to rise.

For the time being, the measure does not affect Neinor Homes, given that the real estate company only has 40 homes in the city of Barcelona. Its activity is focused on the municipalities of the metropolitan area. When asked about the possibility of those cities also adopting the measure, Velayos said that Neinor “would not buy land, or it would only buy it for a much lower price, because it would be land with a worse output”. “Municipalities that adopt this measure are going to deter investment”, he added. Velayos also criticised the ruling from the Supreme Court that establishes that it should be the banks, and not customers, who bear the cost of the Documentation Registration Tax (AJD) for mortgages. In the opinion of the CEO of Neinor, this is another measure that “will generate legal uncertainty” and it is the buyers who will have to take out more expensive mortgages.

Uncertainty due to the independence process

Despite this “legal uncertainty”, which has also been linked to the independence process in Cataluña, Velayos insisted that the region “is a very important location”. Neinor Homes has 34 developments in the autonomous community, comprising 2,700 homes in total. Of those, four developments, containing more than 200 homes, have already been sold.

In Spain, Neinor owns land for the development of 180 projects and 13,500 homes. Of those, 5,000 homes are under construction. The land owned by the property developer is worth €1.8 billion. The firm plans to hand over 1,000 homes in 2018 with more than 100 developments underway, followed by around 2,000 homes in 2019 with 120 developments underway, before reaching its “cruising speed” with the delivery of between 3,500 and 4,00 homes in 2020 and 120 developments underway.

Original story: El País (by Josep Catà)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcino Acquires c. 20 Assets in Barcelona for €2.15M

16 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The Socimis are continuing to party in Spain. Although the experts said that 2018 would be a year for portfolio management, the fact is that many of these companies are continuing to add new assets to their portfolios. The latest is Barcino Properties, which is continuing to specialise in the residential sector with the purchase of a package of 20 assets in Barcelona for more than €2 million, according to a statement issued by the group.

Barcino, which signed the purchased deed on 14 May, has acquired the property at number 18 Calle Olivera for €2.15 million. The asset comprises two commercial premises and 14 homes, and the current occupancy rate stands at 79%. To finance this purchase, the company has signed a mortgage loan with Bankinter for €1 million.

The Socimi debuted on the MAB last December with a share price of €1.33 and a market value of €19.1 million. Specialising in real estate investment and management, the Catalan entity has eight properties in its portfolio, all of which are located in the Barcelona metropolitan area. Most of its assets are rental homes, although it also owns some office buildings and commercial premises. Currently, the Socimi is controlled by Barcino Management (50.01%) and managed by a related party company Vistalegre Property Management.

The company’s most recent purchases include a residential building in Barcelona, which it bought just 48 hours after making its stock market debut. In that case, the company executed a €1.2 million purchase option that it had signed over the property, located at number 92 Calle Girona, after paying €493,000 euros in November for the rights to acquire the asset.

That building contains two commercial premises and seven homes in total, all of which are currently occupied. For the operation, the company made use of its own available funds, without having to resort to additional leverage.

Created in 2015 

Barcino defines itself as a company whose main activity is the “acquisition and renovation of urban assets for their subsequent rental”. The company primarily invests in central locations in the Barcelona metropolitan area. In terms of the characteristics of its desirable assets, the company must be able to purchase the entire building and subject it to a comprehensive renovation.

The group was constituted in January 2015 and since February 2016 it has been registered as a Socimi. The company is chaired by Mateu Turró, who is also an honorary director of the European Investment Bank (EIB), where he worked from 1988 until 2009 (…).

Turró is accompanied in the management of Barcino by Francesc Ventura, an architect who has held roles as director and secretary of the management board and executive committee of APCE (Association of Property Developers of Barcelona) and as CEO of La Caixa de Pensions de Barcelona.

Moreover, the company is also led by Ralph Weichelt, Investment Director at Triple Point Social Housing, a public company listed on the main London Stock Exchange, which operates in the social housing sector in the United Kingdom. The executive has also served as the director of several companies including BNP Paribas Real Estate and JLL.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone & BBVA “Inherit” Prime Plot in Sevilla for 600 Homes

21 March 2018 – Eje Prime

BBVA and Blackstone are going to be able to take advantage of the mortgage signed back in the day by Juan Rojas. The loan for forty million euros granted to the Sevillan businessman by the Basque bank and Popular, whose toxic property has been in the hands of the US fund since last year, has given them the right to now inherit some very sought-after prime plots of land in Sevilla, after the liquidation of a dozen companies that Rojas had under his control.

The Sevillan property developer owned a plot of land in Tomares with a surface area of 260,000 m2 on which up to 600 private homes may now be constructed. Moreover, the plot, known as SUS-1, is located in the town that has the highest income per capita of all of Andalucía, according to El Confidencial.

Tomares, located in the Sevilla metropolitan area, is one of the towns that has served in recent times as a breath of fresh air for the residential sector in Sevilla, where there has been practically no movement in the capital and where over the last decade, only 5% of the urban plan (PGOU) has been executed.

Spanish property developers had been making moves to take control of the management of this plot, which was owned by one of Rojas’s holding companies, Ferro Grupo Empresarial y Urbanizadora Rojas, until now. On this plot, in addition to 600 private homes, there is space available to build 400 protected status homes and a medium-sized shopping complex.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: House Prices Rose By 5.5% In Large Cities In March

19 April 2017 – Expansión

The latest statistics confirm the continuation of the good vibe in the housing market, which is advancing at cruising speed thanks to the boost from large cities. Last week, the appraisal company Tinsa reported that the average appraisal value of residential properties experienced a YoY increase of 2.7% in March.

The YoY price rise amounted to 5.5% in large cities, which account for 40.8% of the market, according to the weighting that Tinsa applies to calculate the statistics. Major cities saw their positive evolutions accelerate in March. Although the average price in January was 1.5% higher than at the end of 2016, the increase during the first three months of the year amounted to 3.5%, thanks to the fact that the rise in March was 2.2 points higher than in February.

Once again, the most marked price increases were recorded in the Balearic and Canary Islands: up by 7% on average. In both cases, the increase in demand for holiday homes and in purchases made by overseas investors, are spurring on the recovery in the real estate sector.

Something similar is happening on the Mediterranean Coast, which saw prices rise by 1.9% YoY, despite the huge surplus of new unsold properties in certain provinces in the region, above all in Castellón.

The cities and the coast are the two segments where the housing market has performed the best traditionally, due to the high level of demand. In the case of provincial capitals, due to the creation of new households and, above all, the marked increase in purchases made by investors. Those two variables, combined with the strong rise in the rental market, mean that Madrid and Barcelona are continuing in their role as the real engines of the housing market.

In aggregate terms, the residential market is following the positive trend with which it started the year. The growth of 2.7% is almost one point above the figure recorded in February (1.8%). These increases are in line with Tinsa’s forecasts for 2017. The Head of Research at the appraisal company, Jorge Ripoll, revealed his predictions: growth will be almost flat this year, “ranging between 0.1% and 2%”. This is a moderate estimate, compared to those published by other analysts. Overall, the consensus amounts to around 5%.

The other two real estate sub-markets analysed by Tinsa experienced a YoY decrease in prices in March. The metropolitan areas and “other municipalities” saw reductions of -0.5% and -0.6%, respectively, over the last 12 months.

“During the first quarter alone (January, February and March), average prices in Spain rose by 3.2%”, according to Tinsa’s report. “The cumulative decrease since the peaks of 2007 now stands at 39.4%”. In other words, it has fallen below 40% for the first time since June 2014.

The largest decrease in prices since the peaks of 2007 was recorded on the Mediterranean Coast (down by 45.5%), followed by metropolitan areas (-44%) and then the provincial capitals and large cities (-42.1%). In the Balearic and Canary Islands, where historically, prices have decreased by the least, the cumulative reduction amounts to 24.2%.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sareb Puts 1,300 RE Assets In Madrid & Barcelona Up For Sale

21 June 2016 – Expansión

Sareb has launched a commercial campaign to sell a selection of more than 1,300 assets in the metropolitan areas of Madrid and Barcelona. The majority of the properties are new and second-hand homes and they are being marketed under an initiative that goes by the name “MAD-BCN/BCN-MAD”, which will run for three months.

Potential buyers can access the full list of properties through a dedicated website that allows users to search by location, as well as access detailed information and request more data by email or telephone. It is also possible to buy a property through the website, and to make direct contact with the marketing platform to execute an operation. The four platforms that support Sareb (Altamira Asset Management, Haya Real Estate, Servihabitat and Solvia) are responsible for marketing these properties.

The assets included in the campaign comprise a “very competitive” portfolio, thanks both to their prices and their location, according to the so-called bad bank

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake