Eden Hazard Buys House in La Finca for €11 Million

16 August 2019

The Belgian midfielder who recently signed with Real Madrid, Eden Hazard, has acquired the singer Alejandro Sanz’s residence in the exclusive La Finca development in Pozuelo for 11 million euros. The property has 5,151 square meters, three living rooms and six bedrooms.

Original Story: Diário de Pozuelo

Photo: E. Ripoll

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Grupo Pinar & Baupost Agree Purchase of Levitt & Create New Property Developer Giant

19 February 2018 – El Confidencial

The most coveted property developer of recent times may change hands within the next few days. Levitt is holding advanced talks with Q21 Real Estate, a company created by the joining of forces between the former Grupo Pinar and the US fund Baupost, to close its sale this week and, in any case, before the end of February, according to several sources familiar with the operation.

The agreement will put an end to almost two years of to-ing and fro-ing with different interested parties in acquiring the property developer, a reference player in the market for premium homes, and will also create a new giant in the sector within the convulsive Spanish residential market.

As El Confidencial revealed, it was in 2016 when Levitt first started to listen to offers as a formula for dealing with its problem of generational succession, following the death of the group’s founder and alma mater, José María Bosch Aymerich, without any direct descendants.

Owner of one of the best land portfolios in Madrid, with land in locations such as Alcobendas, Las Rozas, Pozuelo and Boadilla del Monte, Levitt has proved tempting over the past two years for giants such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo, Värde and even the fund Baupost itself, which was on the verge of acquiring the property developer last year.

But on the home straight, those negotiations were called off due to differences over price, as well as over the continuity of the project and Levitt’s team. After closing that door, the fund found another window open through Q21, the property developer that has placed a better offer on the table than the one put forward by the US fund, and one that ensures the survival of Levitt.

Who is Q21?

Constituted in July 2014, Q21 Real Estate has a brand that is still new and a workforce of just 17 employees – both features have facilitated its agreement with Levitt, with which it shares its vision of high-quality developments.

Currently, Q21 has nine developments underway, mostly in the Community of Madrid (Boadilla del Monte, Valdebebas, Getafe and Mostoles), but also in Málaga and Valencia. Altogether, the firm is working on 1,500 homes.

With assets worth €6.3 million and net equity of €3.58 million in 2016 (the last year for which audited figures are available), Q21 generated revenues of €5.27 million, an operating profit of €3.5 million and a profit of €2.76 million.

Its numbers are well below those recorded by Levitt, whose turnover amounted to €62 million and net profit €6.3 million. Moreover, Levitt owns a portfolio worth €200 million, its brand is recognised in the market and its history spans almost fifty years in Spain after it arrived in 1971 to introduce the US residential urbanisation model.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Luxury Home Developer Caledonian Plans To Enter Hotel Segment

5 June 2017 – La Vanguardia

The luxury housing company Caledonian is planning to expand its activity into the hotel sector, with the construction of a vacation complex on the Costa del Sol, according to comments made to EFE by the President of the company, Enrique López Granados.

The complex will be located “between Algeciras and Marbella”, although López Granados chose not to specify the exact location because the project is still in the negotiation phase.

López Granados, who recently unveiled a luxury housing development in Pozuelo (Madrid), also confirmed that Caledonian has purchased the Javier Ferrero building in Madrid for €9 million.

The building will be refurbished and then the real estate company is expected to generate between €25 million and €30 million from the sale of the homes.

Caledonian is also interested in constructing social housing properties in Madrid, although the property developer has not found an appropriate location for that yet.

“The aim is to construct around 2,000 homes to be sold for around €2,000/m2”, explained López Granados.

The President of Caledonian said that the yield that the real estate company obtains from its activities is “small”, close to 15%, given that the homes that it sells “are expensive because it costs a lot to build them”.

The 21 homes that Caledonian has constructed in Pozuelo and that López Granados unveiled last week cost between €500,000, for the cheapest, and €1.5 million, for the most expensive.

“I also think that this is a great time for the luxury sector, given that people are starting to buy again”, said López Granados.

The Director also said that Caledonian would like to expand into other geographical areas, such as Barcelona. Nevertheless, he clarified that the real estate company has not yet found “any appropriate plots of land to be able to build on”.

“If we could find appropriate plots of land, we would not have any problem starting projects in other places”, he said.

Nevertheless, López Granados said that constructing in other areas “requires additional effort”, and for that reason, he prefers “places that he already knows such as the Costa del Sol and Madrid”.

Caledonian is a property developer and construction company that specialises in the luxury property sector. It has constructed projects in locations such as Somosaguas (Madrid), Aravaca (Madrid) and Ibiza.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Foro Consultores: Land Prices Soar In Certain Pockets Of Madrid

13 February 2017 – El Confidencial

Land prices are soaring, house prices are rising, the buying frenzy is gaining momentum in some areas and in certain developments…Is history repeating itself? Are we witnessing the gestation of a new real estate bubble, albeit not on a national scale, but nevertheless in certain areas of the country. That is what seems to be happening in some neighbourhoods of Madrid. But, the answer, for the time being at least, seems unanimous: not yet.

Buildable land, in other words, land that is ready to be built upon, is running out and, across Spain, there is barely enough land left upon which to construct the 1.5 million homes estimated to be required to supply the market for the next 8.6 years. In Madrid, the land will run out in just over 6 years, according to the latest report from the appraisal company Tinsa. It identifies a worrying shortage of this type of land in areas of expansion to the north of Madrid, as well as in certain specific points of the metropolitan area, such as Pozuelo, Villanueva de la Cañada, Coslada and Rivas. In some of these areas, according to warnings from Tinsa, there will be no buildable land left within 12-24 months. This situation has, unsurprisingly, led to sharp increases in land prices in certain areas. And these rises are concerning the sector. Where are these first warning signs starting to sound?

Valdebebas

The large real estate development in the north of Madrid, which was launched at the height of the crisis and which has fallen victim to numerous legal setbacks, has become, in the eyes of the residential sector, a clear example of the extent to which land can become a very sought-after, as well as a very dangerous, asset.

“Without doubt, it is one of the areas where land prices have grown significantly. In 2014, they ranged between €750/m2 and €900/m2, whereas nowadays operations are being closed for more than €1,200/m2 and €1,300/m2, and the perception in the market is that land can no longer be sold for less than €1,400/m2”, explained Vicente Quintanilla, Director of the department for Investment and Land at Foro Consultores. According to this expert, “this trend generates significant tension in terms of the prices of new builds, which are being sold for €3,000/m2 in certain developments”. (…).

Pozuelo, Aravaca…

Another market where prices have also risen significantly is the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón, where Sareb sold land for around €1,000/m2. (…).

Indeed, the supply of land in Pozuelo has completely run out and families in need of homes are heading to other markets, such as in Boadilla del Monte, a cheaper alternative. According to data from Foro Consultores, the gap in prices is very significant. “To give you an idea, a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000 on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1 million in Pozuelo.

Scarce and sought-after plots of land have also seen sharp price increases in recent years. “In El Camino de Barrial, in Aravaca, land prices have risen from €1,200/m2 in 2014 to around €2,000/m2 now. (….).

Boadilla del Monte, at boiling point

Boadilla del Monte is another one of the markets that has experienced a huge boom over the last two years. And there, it has not been due to the scarcity of land, but rather because of the strong demand from families who, as described above, cannot find homes in Pozuelo de Alarcón.

“For family home plots, land prices have increased from €400-500/m2 in 2014 to €800-900/m2 in2016, say Foro Consultores. (…).

Euphoria in Méndez Álvaro and rises in El Cañaveral

In the heart of the capital, where land is noteworthy due to its absence, land prices have increased considerably. In 2014, buyers paid €1,000/m2 and in a recent operation, whereby Adif and Renfe sold a plot to Vía Célere, the price paid amounted to around €1,900/m2. (…).

This increase in land prices is not exclusive to the area to the north of Madrid (…). The price of more affordable land and cheaper homes has also risen significantly in recent months.

Such is the case of El Cañaveral, in the east of Madrid, where “last summer, land prices amounted to around €360-370/m2 and now plots are going for €450-500/m2” (…).

Finally, all of the experts lament the fact that during the crisis, no agreement was reached to manage land, which has resulted in this significant shortage and in the inevitable increase in prices. They advocate greater agility in terms of urban planning, especially where the shortage is leading to a bottleneck in the market.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Värde Given Green Light To Buy 40% Of La Finca Global Assets

14 November 2016 – Real Estate Press

In August, a judge suspended the sale of part of Procisa to the fund Värde, due to a family dispute, which left the operation up in the air. Now, the precautionary measures have just been lifted and the BOE has published its proposal for the carve out of the firm into three companies, which will allow the definitive sale to go ahead.

The agreement carves out Procisa into three companies: La Finca Global Assets, containing the office assets; La Finca Promociones y Conciertos Inmobiliarios, containing the residential assets; and La Finca Somosaguas Golf. Sources close to the operation indicate that this is the final step in the process for the agreement with Värde to be signed.

The new company that owns the office assets will be converted into a Socimi. For the time being, the consideration paid for the operation will not be revealed. Meanwhile, Procisa, founded by the late Luis García Cereceda, is being led by the second generation of the same family, in the form of Susana García Cereceda.

The new Socimi’s main asset is the La Finca business park in Pozuelo, constructed alongside the luxury residential urbanisation. The company contains 20 buildings, of which 16 are offices and the rest are used for social and commercial purposes. Tenants at the site include companies such as Microsoft, Orange and Accenture. The Hotel AC La Finca is also located there. This is one of the most sought-after business parks in Madrid, with an occupancy rate of almost 100%, according to market sources. The future Socimi will manage an office surface area covering 227,000 m2, which includes other office properties in addition to the complex in Pozuelo.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Boadilla del Monte Sees A Flurry Of House Construction & Price Rises

13 June 2016 – El Confidencial

It’s been just over six months since, in October 2015, the Community of Madrid approved the General Urban Plan for Boadilla del Monte. The decision by Cristina Cifuentes released all of the construction permits that had been pending approval and gave the green light, once again, to the sale of land in one of the richest municipalities in Spain. It also marked the end of the development plans designed by the former mayor of Boadilla, Arturo González Panero, “the Albondiguilla”, imputed for the Gürtel case and against whom the prosecutor has just ordered 40 years in prison.

Since that Wednesday in October (28 October 2015), Boadilla del Monte has been a genuine real estate hotbed. Land sales have multiplied and the cranes have arrived in abundance. Buyers’ appetites have been so great that off-plan sales are practically covered and the first price rises have started to be seen – in some cases, close to double digits – for the new projects that are coming onto the market.

“The stars have aligned positively in Boadilla del Monte. Land there had been consolidated and developed and the only outstanding item was the approval of the General Plan, which was delayed due to the General Election. Once that had been ratified and blessed by the Community of Madrid, the new developments had the legal security to start without any problems”, explained Luis Corral, CEO of Foro Consultores.

The expert also thinks that the appeal of Boadilla has benefitted from the paralysis that, by contrast, its neighbour Pozuelo de Alarcón is experiencing. There, the new areas of development are currently awaiting the approval of a series of municipal infrastructures, such as the famous rain water collector, which is essential to meet the needs of the new neighbours. The infrastructure requires an investment of almost €60 million – double the amount predicted in 2007 –the cooperative owners that bought the land have to cover around €30 million and the other owners of the land and the Town Hall have to cover the remaining €25 million.

“The suspension of the largest development in Pozuelo has meant that much of the demand with medium-high purchasing power is moving to neighbouring towns such as Majadahonda and Boadilla del Monte”, said Samuel Población, the National Director of Residential and Land at the consultancy CBRE.

Price rises

(…). According to Luis Corral…”a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000, on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1,000,000 in Pozuelo…”.

Although the supply of land is greater, the pressure from buyers due to the natural demand in Boadilla del Monte and the unmet demand in Pozuelo, will start to have an impact on prices. According to data from Foro Consultores, less than a year ago, in July 2015, the average price for chalets under cooperative regimes amounted to around €1,400 /sqm, whereas now the price has increased by around 7% to €1,500/sqm.

The same has happened with direct promotions. In July 2015, the price per sqm amounted to around €1,500 and now, it has increased to €1,600/sqm. In other words, prices have risen by 6%. At first sight, these prices do not seem at all exorbitant, however the homes are all very large and so the final price is not suitable for all budgets.

Four hot spots in Boadilla

In this Madrilenian municipality, one of the richest in Spain, there are four hot spots where all of the real estate activity is happening: El Pastel, Las Cárcavas, Cortijo Sur and Cortijo Norte. (…).

“El Pastel has been completely urbanised, it is full of cranes and families are already living there. Las Cárcavas is slightly behind, but the first homes are already being handed over and there are also a few people living there, whilst Cortijo Sur is also urbanised and under construction and the first homes will be handed over within the next few weeks. Cortijo Norte is the most delayed, it has not been urbanised yet, although work has begun on the urbanisation project. Family homes are being constructed in every area”, explained Luis Corral. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Procisa To List La Finca Business Park As A Socimi

12 May 2016 – Cinco Días

The real estate company Procisa is finalising a major corporate restructuring process, which will culminate in the IPO of its office business. The company, renowned for having constructed the luxury La Finca urbanisation in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) will separate its activity into two companies. The residential development business will be called La Finca Procisa and the RE asset business will be called La Finca Global Assets.

The new RE asset (offiec) company will be converted into a listed Socimi, according to sources familiar with the operation. These types of companies have the advantage of being exempt from corporation tax, in exchange for having the obligation to distribute dividends every year. Like all Socimis, La Finca Global Assets will have a period of two years to debut on the stock market.

From the beginning, the Socimi will benefit from having Värde Partners as one of its shareholders – the US fund is currently finalising the acquisition of a 40% stake in the real estate company. The fund, created in Minnesota (USA) in 1993 has been very active in the Spanish market in recent years. (…). The consideration to be paid by Värde in this operation has not been revealed, but the deal is expected to close within the next few days.

The company, founded by the late Luis García Cerceda, is now being led by the second generation – Susana García Cereceda is the Chairman, and it controls the property developer through the holding company Michigan 42. The real estate company recorded revenues of €83.8 million in 2014, the most recent figures available in the registry, and losses of €19 million, along with long-term debt of €511 million.

The new Socimi’s main asset is the La Finca business park in Pozuelo, constructed alongside the luxury residential urbanisation where several footballers live, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Fernando Torres. The complex comprises 20 buildings, including 16 offices.

Tenants include companies such as Microsoft, Orange and Accenture. The Hotel AC La Finca is also located there. It is one of the most sought-after business parks in Madrid, given that it has just 0.3% of free space, according to market sources (…).

The future Socimi Finca Global Assets will manage a surface area of offices covering 227,000 sqm. As well as the complex in Pozuelo, the company also owns other office buildings, which will be included in the operation. These include the Marcelo Spínola business centre, constructed in 1991, comprising seven buildings.

In the Méndez Álvaro area, the company owns the Torre Suecia, which is currently leased to the technology firm Ericsson. Close to the A-2, it manages the Martínez Villergas business centre, which houses, for example, Warner’s headquarters in Spain. Moreover, it owns other office buildings on the sought-after streets of Serrano and Almagro.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Pozuelo Consolidates Its Position As The Richest City In Spain

2 March 2016 – Expansión

Families living in Pozuelo have the highest incomes in Spain (€70,298) and Parla has the highest active population rate, at 70.5%. The cities with the highest average incomes in Spain are the Madrilenian suburbs of Pozuelo and Majadahonda – €56,164 – and Sant Cugat del Vallès, in Barcelona – €52,881 – which quintuple the average income in Torreviaje (Alicante) – €13,977 – the lowest.

The figures relate to 2013 and have been extracted from the Urban Indicators study published yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) for the European Urban Audit project, which compiles information about the living conditions in European cities and in the case of Spain, includes information about the 109 largest towns, on the basis of population density and the size of the urban centre.

After Torrevieja, the lowest average incomes are found in Sanlúcar de Barrameda and La Línea de la Concepción, both in Cádiz, with averages of just over €17,000.

The four cities with the highest active population rate in Spain are located in Madrid. Behind Parla, the ranking includes Fuenlabrada (69.4%), Torrejón de Ardoz (67.7%) and San Sebastián de los Reyes (67%). By contrast, the towns with the lowest active population rates are located in the North of the country. The lowest rate is in León (50.6%), followed by Ferrol (51.4%), Gijón (51.5%) and Avilés (52.1%).

The study also shows that the richest city in Spain, i.e. Pozuelo, is the one where unemployment is lowest, at 9%, followed by Las Rozas (10.2%), San Cugat de Vallès (10.4%) and Majadahonda (10.7%). These figures come in stark contrast to the rates of 42.3%, 40.1% and 39.4% registered in the towns with the most unemployment, namely Sanlúcar de Barrameda, La Línea de la Concepción and Jerez de la Frontera, all in Cádiz. (…).

If we consider employment by sector, then Elda (Alicante), Rubí (Barcelona) and Torrejón de Ardoz are the towns with the highest proportion of jobs in the industrial sector, whilst Pozuelo de Alarcón, Benidorm (Alicante) and Girona are the employment leaders in the services sector.

Barcelona is the city with the highest number of overnight tourists, with more than 18 million, followed by Madrid, with just over 17.5 million, Benidorm with 13 million and Palma de Mallorca with 8 million. Finally, the cities with the largest average household size were Pozuelo, Melilla and Ceuta, and those with the lowest were Huelva, Salamanca and Torrevieja.

Original story: Expansión (Mercedes Serraller).

Translation: Carmel Drake

UBS Pays Hines €70M For Zielo Shopping Centre

5 June 2015 – Expansión

The transaction confirms the return of institutional investors to the Spanish market.

International funds are continuing with their commitments in Spain. Whilst the key players in the market were opportunistic funds in 2013 and Socimis in 2014, in recent months, institutional funds, both European and Asian, have burst into the market.

The latest player to make an investment in Spain has been UBS. The Swiss fund management has finalised the purchase of the Zielo Shopping centre, in Pozuelo (Madrid), after several weeks of exclusive negotiations. UBS will pay €70 million for the property to Hines European Value Added Fund, a fund managed by the property developer Hines.

The company invested €100 million in the development of the shopping centre, designed at the height of the property boom, including a loan for €50 million. The property was opened in October 2009 and has a surface area of 50,000 m2, of which 15,555 m2 comprise the retail area.

In the transaction, UBS has been advised by the consultancy firm Knight Frank, whilst CBRE, which also manages the centre, has worked with the vendor. “This transaction shows that prime assets are generating significant interest amongst investors with a more core profile”, explains Gonzalo Senra, Head of Commercial Investments at CBRE.

In 2014, more than €2,000 million was invested in commercial property in Spain, a figure that may be exceeded this year, according to Knight Frank, given that €600 million has already been invested.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

UBS Finalises Its Purchase Of The Zielo Shopping Centre

20 March 2015 – Expansión

The Swiss bank’s real estate fund is offering €73 million for the Madrilenian shopping centre, exceeding the expectations of its current owner, Hines, which has invested more than €100 million in its construction.

Another shopping centre is expected to change hands soon. After the French company Klépierre closed its purchase of the Plenilunio shopping centre in Madrid this week, another Madrilenian property will soon have a new owner.

The property in question is the Zielo shopping centre, located in the town of Pozuelo de Alarcón, in Madrid. The building was designed by the real estate company Hines, which took out a loan of €50 million to construct the property. Conceived at the height of the boom (it was opened in October 2009), Hines invested more than €100 million in its development.

The centre, designed by the architect Alberto Martín Caballero, has a surface area of 50,000 square metres, of which 15,537 m2 is dedicated to retail over three floors. It also has more than a thousand parking spaces, the majority of which are indoors.

Five years later, Hines put the “for sale” sign up on its Madrilenian shopping centre in January. The initial asking price was set at €65 million. The Houston-based real estate company decided to sell the property through a restricted (tender) process rather than open it up to all of the interested investors in the Spanish market. Thus, its advisors reached out to the large Spanish Socimis (Merlin Properties, Axia Real Estate and Lar España), as well as the more institutional investment funds such as Deka Inmobilien and the (fund) manager Tiaa Henderson. In the end, the real estate fund owned by the Swiss bank UBS made the best offer and is now negotiating the finer details of the transaction in an exclusive process with Hines.

According to sources close to the process, UBS is offering €73 million. A price that means that the yield on the transaction amounts to less than 5%, a very low figure compared with the figure of 10% that was achieved on the first deals involving the sale and purchase of shopping centres following the burst of the bubble, in 2013.

Zielo Shopping is not the only commercial property that is currently on the market in Spain. According to Deloitte Real Estate, around 80 shopping centres will come onto the market over the next 12 months. Some transactions, such as the purchase of Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza and Plenilunio in Madrid have already been closed. In total, €3,500 million could change hands in this market alone.

Possible buyers include the British real estate company Intu Properties, which is finalising a call option on a real estate project in Málaga, as part of its €2,500 million investment program, and the fund manager CBRE Global Investors, which plans to invest €600 million in shopping centres and retail outlets in the Spanish market.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake