11 January 2018 – Expansión
The experts believe that the residential sector is going to be the main protagonist of 2018, in terms of both development and investment. The banks are expected to continue their balance sheet clean-ups with more portfolio sales.
The real estate sector is expected to continue to constitute a mainstay of the Spanish economy in 2018 thanks to the growth of residential property development and the commitment from international investors to Spanish property as a safe haven for their investments, according to the experts consulted by Expansión.
For Adolfo Ramírez-Escudero, President of CBRE España, property developers will be some of the most dynamic investors in 2018. “Last year, they underwent an expansionary cycle and, through specialisation and the sophistication of their product, they will continue to increase their prominence in the sector”, he explains.
The CEO of JLL España, Enrique Losantos, forecasts that 2018 will maintain the positive rhythm of recent years and that figures will remain in line with 2017, with a total investment volume of around €13 billion. Losantos also expects that portfolio operations, which were the major stars of 2017, thanks to the sale of assets by Banco Popular and BBVA, will continue to strengthen their position in 2018 (…).
For Santiago Aguirre, President of the Board of Directors of Savills Aguirre Newman, “we are entering a year of consolidation in terms of the upward cycle that we have been immersed in since 2014. Several segments, such as offices and logistics, have reached maximum leasing levels, nevertheless, we still see potential for rents to reach the maximum levels seen in the previous cycle”.
In terms of investment in tertiary assets, Oriol Barrachina, CEO at Cushman & Wakefield, explains that there is a perception that there will be more liquidity than product, despite caution being erred in light of the local and international uncertainty. “The main difference with respect to the last two years is that one group of buyers, the Socimis, are now also going to be selling assets. For years, they have purchased lots of assets and after generating value from them, they are going to put them up for sale, a fact that will also help to bridge the gap between supply and demand”, adds Barrachina.
Sandra Daza, Director General at Gesvalt, thinks that this year those investors who entered the cycle during the opportunistic period, between 2013 and 2015, will be replaced by long-term investors, such as insurance companies and pension funds.
In terms of trends, Mikel Echavarren, CEO at Irea, considers that residential development will continue to generate news this year, both in terms of land transactions, as well as price rises and the recovery of secondary markets (…).
Humphrey White, Director General at Knight Frank, highlights that Spain is currently at the beginning of an expansion period, with forecast demand of between 120,000 and 150,000 new homes per year, even though it closed 2017 with just 47,500 new home transactions (…).
No sign of a bubble
White considers that the growth in the sector in Spain rests on “some very firm foundations in terms of the law of supply and demand, whereby moving firmly away from a possible real estate bubble”.
For Gonzalo Gallego, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte, buildable land will be one of the major challenges in the property development sector.
In terms of the rental market, Ramírez-Escudero explains that in 2018, we will see “quite a lot” of activity in the market from institutional investors backing rental homes. Over the last decade, the number of rental homes has increased significantly to reach 22.5%. Nevertheless, Spain still has major potential given that the average in the EU is 33% (…).
Javier López-Torres, Partner in Real Estate at KPMG, agrees. He considers that the rental segment will continue to gain weight due to the difficulties involved in accessing credit, mobility and cultural change (…).
By sector, Thierry Bougeard, Director General at BNP Paribas Real Estate, says that demand for office space will continue its strong performance (seen in 2017), above all in Madrid, where leasing volumes are expected to increase to around 600,000 m2.
Meanwhile, in the logistics market, e-commerce will continue to be the main motor of demand, whilst in retail, many owners are betting on improving the quality of their centres, boosting leisure areas and the quality of them, with the aim of encouraging customers to stay longer, he explains.
The experts also agree in highlighting the high level of interest expected in alternative real estate assets, such as student halls and nursing homes.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake