CaixaBank Considers Selling 1,000 Homes To Overseas Funds

11 March 2015 – Expansión

‘Project Eurostars’ / The Catalan group is sounding out investors to assess their interest in the portfolio, which mainly comprises homes on Spanish coast.

The Spanish bank wants to widen the ‘drain’ through which it is offloading property from its balance sheet. As well as leveraging on the intense activity in their sales networks, financial institutions are looking to take advantage of the interest shown by overseas funds by packaging up batches of homes. One of the first groups to join this trend is CaixaBank, which has been sounding out the market in recent weeks regarding the sale of a portfolio of 1,000 homes known as Project Eurostars; Expansión has had access to the corresponding sales prospectus.

The group chaired by Isidro Fainé (pictured above) has handed over the management of this transaction, whose information was first distributed to funds at the end of February, to the real estate consultant JLL. According to the timeline proposed initially, investors should have submitted their non-binding offers yesterday and the process should close by the end of the month.

The Eurostars portfolio comprises 1,091 real estate assets, with an estimated combined value of €103 million. The majority of the portfolio is made up of 807 homes, primarily located on the Mediterranean coast, with an average value of €122,000. The portfolio also includes 250 parking spaces, 26 store-rooms and 5 shops.

The homes are concentrated in Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante, Granada, Cádiz, Navarra and Tenerife.

In the information that has been distributed, the advisor JLL highlights two key features that it hopes will appeal to foreign investors: the improvement in the real estate market, with an 18% increase in (the volume of) house sales between 2013 and 2014; together with “the positive economic outlook and increasing volume of investment”, with investors allocating €23,000 million to Spanish property in 2014.

The homes to be sold are currently held on the balance sheet of the Building Centre, a subsidiary of CaixaBank, after being foreclosed.

The group sold 13,794 properties in 2014, i.e. 27% more than in 2013 and the volume of foreclosed assets increased by 12%, to reach almost €15,000 million in gross terms.

Original story: Expansión (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA: Positive Outlook For Housing Market In 2015

3 March 2015 – El Economista

The positive outlook for economic growth, better employment figures and favourable financing conditions will drive further increases in house sales in 2015, which will be accompanied by a “moderate” increase in prices and a further increase in construction activity.

That is according to the latest “Real Estate in Spain – Flash Report”, prepared by the Research Department at BBVA, which also states that “2014 could be classified as the year in which the recovery of the real estate sector began”.

Sales recovery

The entity points out that, according to the General Council of Notaries (Consejo General del Notariado), demand for properties showed signs of recovery month after month during 2014, to close the year with 364,000 homes sold, up 19.1% compared with 2013. “That was the first increase since 2007 and it reflects the greater level of activity in the mortgage market”, says BBVA.

At the same time, data from the Ministry of Development shows that there was a 0.5% increase in house prices last year, again, the first increase since the start of the crisis.

This recovery in the key real estate parameters led to a 1.7% increase in the number of construction permits for new homes in 2014, which the financial institution notes “breaks the trend of seven consecutive years of decreases and makes 2014 the turning point in terms of construction activity”.

The report forecasts that this positive trend will really take hold in 2015. BBVA Research expects the Spanish economy to grow by 2.7% this year, with the creation of around half a million jobs and relatively stable interest rates.

“All of these factors indicate that there will be a further increase in house sales and that prices and construction activity will respond with further growth”, says the bank.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake