Íbero Capital Lends €80M To Property Developers to Finance 600 New Homes on the Coast

28 March 2019 – El Confidencial

Property developers are finally able to access alternative financing. Over the last 12 months, Íbero Capital Management has granted loans amounting to €80 million to various property developers to finance the construction of more than 600 homes across Spain.

In its latest operation, Íbero CM has signed an agreement with Grupo Sankar to finance six residential projects in the province of Málaga for €40 million. The projects will involve the construction of more than 400 homes, and follow three other projects to which financing was granted (to another property developer) last year in Mijas.

Looking ahead, Íbero CM expects to sign several new loan operations during 2019 to close the year with total financing granted of almost €250 million. The manager is negotiating with national and regional property developers alike in regions such as the Community of Valencia, Andalucía and Madrid.

Alternative financing for residential development projects is finally taking off after years on the fringes. Other companies operating in the sector include MCAP Global Finance, Azora and Oquendo Capital, amongst others.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Caledonian Plans to Double its Investments with New Projects Worth €150M

10 March 2019 – Expansión

The property developer Caledonian is planning to carry out projects worth more than €150 million in 2019, an investment that will double the amount of the projects announced by the firm to date.

The President of the company, Enrique López Granados (pictured above), highlighted that his firm’s most recent projects include the renovation of a complex of properties that are going to be dedicated to housing and which are located on Calle Javier Ferrero in Madrid, in which his firm has invested between €80 million and €90 million.

The company has also applied for a licence to build a luxury office building in the north of Madrid, next to the CNI’s headquarters, which will involve an investment of €20 million.

Meanwhile, the firm is currently working on a luxury development comprising 16 homes in Aravaca (Madrid), as well as on some smaller projects, for example, in Ibiza.

Despite Caledonian’s commitment to Spain, López Granados expressed concern regarding the impact of the political uncertainty in the country and criticised Town Halls for taking too long to process construction permits.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation/Summary: 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

Urbania Developer: Panamanian Capital Promotes 20 Developments in Valencia

31 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Numerous Spanish real estate entrepreneurs crossed the pond when the Spanish property sector crashed at the end of the 2000s. One of the property developers who got on a plane when the walls of the real estate sector were starting to crack in Spain was Juan Antonio Claveria. That Valencian businessman is now back on his home turf with Urbania Developer, a Panamanian real estate company that is planning to “have up to twenty projects under development over the next three years in the Community of Valencia”, explained Claveria to Eje Prime.

The Spanish businessman is the CEO of Urbania Developer, a company listed on the Panamanian stock market, which he created last year together with his partners, the local investors Yasser Williams and Omar Fricentese. “The company’s share capital is 100% private”, highlighted Claveria.

The three have recently teamed up with the Valencian builder José Vicente Roig, who has included the assets of the former property developer Patrimonios del Levante in the group. With those, the real estate company has launched its growth plan in the Community of Valencia, where the firm already has eight projects underway or on the verge of being executed.

“We are interested in towns with between 200,000 and 300,000 inhabitants”, explains Claveria, who is also attracted to “those suburbs that have between 40,000 and 80,000 inhabitants, which are well connected by metro”. Public transport links and the proximity to the capital of Valencia are the key aspects of the investment policy that Urbania Developer is going to carry out. It is turning its back on the overheating of prices that is being recorded in the centre of the city.

Torrent, Paterna, Mislata, Benimamet and Paiporta are the towns on the outskirts of Valencia where Urbania Developer has residential projects underway at the moment. Nevertheless, “we are now finalising the purchase of new plots of land”, said Claveria, who indicated that his company could close around half a dozen operations soon.

Moreover, the property developer has already expanded its business to the south of Valencia with the purchase of a “small plot” in Alicante. Size is important for the company, which projects developments comprising “between eight and thirty homes”. “In Castellón, we are also looking at plots”, said the businessman, who wants to focus solely on the Community of Valencia in this first phase of his arrival in Spain (…).

Currently, the property developer has more than 5,000 homes built or under construction in Panama, the epicentre of the company’s business,  as well as in Paraguay and Nicaragua. In the Panamanian market alone (“the Switzerland of Latin America”, according to Claveria), the property developer manages 2.2 million m2 of residential land spread over 18 projects.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Kronos Finalises €400M Investment in Cataluña with Land Purchases in Gavá & Sant Cugat

1 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Kronos Homes wants to be a leading player in the Catalan residential market. The Spanish property developer has just completed the purchase of two plots in Gavá and Sant Cugat del Vallés. These two operations form part of the significant investment plan that the company has initiated in Cataluña, where it already has investments amounting to €400 million. “The objective is to close at least two more operations in Cataluña before the end of 2018”, explained Manuel Holgado, Partner at the real estate firm, speaking to Eje Prime.

The first of the acquired plots, in Gavá, has a surface area of approximately 173,500 m2, with capacity for the construction of 1,500 homes. The company plans to start marketing this project within two years.

In the case of the plot in Sant Cugat, it is located in the centre of the prime Barcelona city and spans 33,800 m2, on which 320 homes are going to be built. These more than 1,800 homes will be added to the 900 units that the firm currently has underway in four other projects.

Two of those projects are located in Tarragona, a province in the south of Cataluña, with one development in the provincial capital and one in Calafell. Both will start to be marketed this June and the property developer, founded in 2014 by Saïd Hejal, has taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the Madrid Real Estate Fair (SIMA) to unveil the two developments.

The investment by Kronos is Cataluña is going to continue to increase over the coming months and Holgado says that “we would like to close at least two more operations before the end of 2018”. The company’s Director General, Majda Labied, also points out that “we have just opened an office in the centre of Barcelona, which strengthens our 100% commitment to Cataluña”.

Currently, the property developer has two promotions in the province of Barcelona, namely H20 and O12, two residential projects with an innovative design, which are located in the maritime area of Badalona. The first promotion has 252 homes with 25 different types of homes.

Entry into the Costa Brava

Having entered Barcelona and Tarragona, Kronos now only has Girona and Lleida left to conquer. The Costa Brava is one area “where we have been working actively for a while”, explains Holgado, although the property developer has not yet found the right opportunity to start a project there.

The forecast by Kronos Homes for the next four years involves it doubling the number of homes underway in Cataluña at the moment. The real estate firm also has a presence in Madrid, the Costa del Sol, Andalucía and Levante, and wants to branch out into new markets over the next few years. Areas such as Euskadi, for example, have always been on the company’s radar. The firm is keen to invest and position itself as one of the leading property developers in Spain.

Investment of €500 million in land all over Spain 

To build homes, you need land and, to that end, Kronos is going to invest €500 million between now and 2021 in the purchase of primarily residential land. The company will thereby acquire sufficient land to build 8,000 homes all over the country.

With a land bank spanning more than 1 million m2, spread between Madrid, Cataluña, Costa del Sol and Alicante, the intention of Hejal and the other shareholders that support him, including, in addition to Holgado and Labied, Ignacio Ocejo and Enrique Feduchy, is to expand the business to more Spanish provinces. The firm is currently making headway in the provinces of Córdoba, Sevilla and Cádiz, amongst others.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mif Capital Expands its RE Business with 3 New Projects in Barcelona

14 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The property developer founded by Carles Maurí and Gregorio Ferrer Cervera will begin three new projects this year in the districts of Eixample and Sarrià. During its five year life, the real estate company has generated revenues of €20 million with developments completed exclusively in the Catalan capital.

Mif Capital will fulfil its annual objective in 2018: to start between two and three residential projects in Barcelona. The real estate company, founded in 2013 by Carles Maurí and Gregorio Ferrer, will start work on the renovation of a residential building in the Eixample district after the summer, and will also launch “two more projects at the end of the year”, both located in the Catalan capital, according to Maurí speaking to Eje Prime.

The executive, who has two decades of experience in major real estate companies, and his partner, together lead this property developer, which is finalising the handover of its latest project, in the heart of the Gràcia neighbourhood. The six renovated homes will be added to the two apartments that the company finished refurbishing recently on Avenida Diagonal. All of them are located in Barcelona because “we are based here, we like the city and we believe that it is a good location in which to develop real estate”, says the businessman.

Mif Capital’s new projects will adopt the same style as the five developments undertaken to date and will involve the renovation and sale of properties in prime locations. “In some cases, the homes are destined for rent and in others for sale”, explains Maurí, who has built up the company from nothing alongside Ferrer, and who says that “Between the two of us we take care of all the acquisitions and management of the assets” (…).

 “We want to grow organically” 

“We purchase buildings in which we would like to live”, responds Maurí to a question about what type of properties that most interest both him and his partner. In this sense, most of Mif Capital’s projects go up for sale, although the real estate company has also constructed some homes for rent. “Nevertheless, we are not interested in, nor do we own any tourist apartments”, says the businessman.

The founding partner of the real estate company knows the Barcelona real estate market well. He began his career in 1998 on the Diagonal Mar shopping centre project, when he was the Director of Business for Hines for five years. Subsequently, Maurí worked for Copcisa, the construction group owned by the Carbonell family, and then for Layetana Inmobiliaria, which built the iconic Torre Glòries, now owned by Merlin.

That experience led the co-founder of Mif Capital to Servihabitat, the servicer of La Caixa. After three years as the National Director of the bank’s real estate arm, during a time of deep recession in the sector, he decided to set up a new company with Ferrer (…).

The first asset that entered the property developer’s portfolio was a building located at number 42 Rambla Catalunya (…).

After two “very good” years, the objective of the real estate company for the next few years is “to continue with the same business plan”, with the aim of “continuing to grow organically”. With a clear focus on the city of Barcelona.

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BCA: How one Architecture Studio Became a Leading Player in Barcelona’s 22@ District

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Albert Blanch and Merche Conca founded BCA in 1994 without a portfolio of clients and working from the living room at home. 25 years later, the architecture studio is a leading player in Barcelona, where it has carried out projects with Socimis and funds such as Colonial, Lar and Blackstone, and has generated an assembly line in which thirty of its own professionals work on 45 projects each year. That number is the average that Blanch likes working with – “fifteen projects coming in, fifteen underway and fifteen being completed”, says the architect – who, from his office in the Sant Gervasi-Galvany neighbourhood, confirms to Eje Prime that, “when projects don’t come to your door, you have to go and look for them”. It was this approach that enabled BCA to overcome the crisis without leaving Barcelona and to grow its turnover by 200% over the last few years.

Proof of this is its presence in the 22@ district, the new fashionable neighbourhood for the tertiary sector in Barcelona. In the so-called technological hub of the Catalan capital, a melting pot for large office projects being developed in the city, BCA has worked on fifteen jobs, including the Cornerstone building, the UA1 property and Torre Pujades (…).

But in order to handle this volume of buildings in the most rapidly growing prime area of Barcelona, BCA has had to win the trust of various real estate players over the last two decades. Once again, Blanch refers to his motto of not waiting for the opportunities to come to you. In this way, he and Conca launched their studio with clients that were “very important but with very small projects, including several in the banking sector”, says the architect. Leading entities in Cataluña such as La Caixa and Banco Sabadell backed their firm, which started out designing bank branches, “a product that its very limited from an architectural point of view but for which there was a lot of demand at that time and that guaranteed us income to allow us to survive”, adds Blanch.

That specialisation carried out by BCA also boosted the growth of the studio. Heads of the banks that they worked with recommended Blanch and Conca to their superiors for most high-profile projects such as entire buildings and regional offices, but “combining these larger jobs with the bank branches, that was our formula for success”, says the architect.

The remodelling of Vía Augusta, 21 for Colonial launched them into the office sector 

The next success story came with the complete remodelling of a building owned by Colonial on the corner of Vía Augusta and Diagonal, in the heart of Barcelona. That project, which was completed in 2000, “really put us on the map in the office sector”, says Blanch. More than one property developer and fund called at BCA’s door after that and allowed the firm to participate in larger projects (…).

Following the building on Vía Augusta 21, many more projects emerged, mainly in Cataluña but also in Madrid, the Community of Valencia, Navarra, Murcia, the Canary Islands and Aragón. And BCA does not only survive on offices. The studio also carries out projects in the residential, hotel, facilities and urban planning sectors (…).

Like many other large architecture studios, BCA has also undertaken work at airports. The firm won a public tender to expand Terminal C at El Prat (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

C&W: 130,000m2 of Office Space Leased in Sant Cugat since 2015

15 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Sant Cugat del Vallès is growing strong in Barcelona’s slipstream. In addition to being one of the most sought-after cities in the residential market, the office sector is also strongly committed to this location, where 130,000 m2 of office space has been leased since 2015. Those figures place the city as the second location of choice for this segment in the province of Barcelona.

Currently, there are more than 3,100 companies installed in the city, with a financial district containing 49 hectares of business parks and more than 62,000 professionals working in its office buildings, according to the Marketshot report prepared by the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

According to the research, Sant Cugat del Vallès has played a fundamental role in the expansion of Barcelona’s office stock in recent years, evolving from a dormitory city into a nucleus of activity for the services sector, bringing together workers and residents alike.

Since 2015, the number of office rental operations in the city has soared. During that year, a record volume of office space was leased, with more than 75,000 m2 signed. In 2015 and the following year, 54 transactions were signed in the office market, spanning a leasable surface area of 104,000m2, which represented 27% of all the office space leased in the entire province of Barcelona.

In recent years, large operations have been carried out with the arrival of Stradivarius into an office building that spans 26,400 m2; and the leasing of offices to Echevarne, Mapfre and Natura Bissé Internacional, which contracted 12,000 m2, 10,000 m2 and 9,200 m2 of space, respectively.

In terms of the type of office being demanded, in Sant Cugat, prime products stand out. Quality A-rated offices account for 93% of the total space leased in the city, whilst properties rated Quality A/B+ represent 96% of the leasable surface area. These records have generated a significant decrease in the space available in the city.

In 2017, the shortage of available office space in Sant Cugat became clear with the leasing of just 22,000 m2 of space, a much lower figure than had been recorded in previous years. And, currently, the available surface area has been reduced to just 25,500 m2, which represents an availability rate of 4.9%, when just a few years ago, it stood at 30%.

Sant Cugat is a sought-after enclave for sectors such as pharmaceutical, R&D and technology, due to the services, communications and technical quality of the buildings, according to the report. It also highlights the location in the city of the Esadecréapolis knowledge and innovation centre as a “powerful” magnet for those types of companies to set up shop there.

1,800 m2 on average 

Since 2015, the average rental operation in Sant Cugat has amounted to around 1,800 m2, when between 2010 and 2014, the figure was less than half (750 m2).

Today, in Sant Cugat, there is more than 115,000 m2 of potential office space, of which 100,000 m2 is located on buildable land, without a construction start date. The potential for growth in the stock is significant, and if all the projects were to be completed, the office supply in the city (the capital of the office market on the outskirts of Barcelona) would increase by 22%.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

ActivumSG Launches New €500M Fund with Projects in Marbella & Salamanca

22 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The international group ActivumSG is continuing to back its business in the Spanish market. The company, which operates under the brand ASG in Spain, is launching a new €500 million fund to make real estate investments across Europe, according to explanations provided by the company to Eje Prime. Some of the first projects that have already been financed thanks to this fund, the fifth to be promoted by ActivumSG, include three projects in Berlin and three in Spain, located in Marbella, Salamanca and Estepona.

This new fund promoted by ActivumSG is one of the group’s most important in terms of investment, with funds raised mostly from investors that have already participated in the group. Of the €500 million, the fund has already committed more than €200 million in Spain and Germany.

In the Spanish market, ActivumSG has already launched Project España, located in Salamanca. Initially baptised as Project Victoria, the fund has now started construction on this luxury residential development in the centre of the city. “The project involves the demolition of an office building located at number 5 Plaza España to convert it into a high-end residential property, comprising 27 apartments”, say sources at the German company.

The second project that ActivumSG is going to promote with this new fund is Parque Central, in the centre of Estepona. The German fund is already finalising the details to start work on the construction of this residential development, which will span 12,600 m2 and which is already being marketed.

Finally, the fund is working on Project Sierra Blanca, in Marbella. That project, which is in its preliminary phase, will be located in the neighbourhood of Sierra Blanca, in Marbella, and will involve the development of 40 luxury homes, with gardens and parking.

The latter two projects are located in the province of Málaga, one of the main tourist destinations in the south of Spain. ActivumSG has been advised in the acquisition by the group’s Spanish subsidiary, ActivumSG Iberia, which is currently being led by Brian Betel, former Director of Cerberus Iberia Advisor and Citibank.

ActivumSG’s team in Spain is completed by Víctor Pérez Arias, former Director of CBRE; Juan Alonso Bartolomé, a director who has worked for companies such as GE Capital Real Estate and ING Real Estate; Alejandro Adan Manes, who joined the firm from Axa Real Estate; Carlos Molero Sánchez, formerly of PwC and KPMG, and Ignacio Gaytan, who previously held the position of maximum responsibility at Grupo Lar, amongst others.

ActivumSG in Spain

Currently, ActivumSG’s portfolio in Spain comprises a dozen assets, with the exception of two that have been divested in recent months, located in Manuel de Falla and Santa Leonor, both in Madrid (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: Scarce Land Supply Causes House Prices To Soar In Benidorm

18 November 2017 – El Confidencial

(…) Benidorm is not just another coastal town. Its plethora of vertical buildings makes it the third city in Europe with the highest concentration of skyscrapers and that identity stamp sparks hate and love in equal amounts. It has also allowed (…) an enormous range of prices to exist in the real estate market for those interested in buying a home. To give us an idea, for sale at the moment, we can find small apartments going for as little as €20,000, to chalets with asking prices of almost €4 million. Since its origins as a tourist destination, Benidorm has always been suitable for every budget.

Located in the province of Alicante, one of the areas that is clearly enjoying the real estate recovery, Benidorm stands out from other municipalities in the region. It has the most expensive homes per square metre in the region, with an average price of €1,585/m2 – for new build and second-hand properties – above the prices being paid by neighbours in Altea, Calpe and l’Alfàs del Pi, according to data from Tinsa. Although prices have decreased by almost 44% since their peaks, Benidorm is one of the places in Spain that is benefitting from a prevailing wind. In the last year, prices have risen by 11%, according to the latest report about coastal regions from the appraisal company.

The recovery is also apparent in terms of the number of transactions. In 2016, sales grew by almost 18% driven by the sale of second-hand homes (up by 25%), compared to the collapse of new builds (-55.8%). In fact, that is the main bone of contention in the town, the enormous shortage of new build projects underway. The construction craze during the “boom” years contributed to this situation, given that it used up almost all of the buildable land along the beachfront.

This means that the few projects that are underway are being sold in a matter of months at prices that seem eye-watering, and would have done so even at the height of the bubble. At the same time, they are generating an upward effect on the prices of second-hand properties. To give us an idea, according to data from Idealista, the price of second-hand homes amounted to around €1,900/m2 in September 2017, up by 7.6% compared to a year ago and above the prices currently being paid in certain districts of Madrid, such as Carabanchel, Latina, Puente de Vallecas, Usera, Vicálvaro and Villaverde.

“The greatest problem in this market is that no land has been generated. In 2006-2007, the legislative mechanisms for creating land were much more agile, but now, not only has the law changed on two occasions, but it seems that people are afraid of developing land”, explains Jaime Martín Calleja, Technician for Tinsa in Benidorm (…).

Scarce and very expensive new builds

Delfin Tower is one of a handful of projects currently underway. It comprises a luxury residential 22-storey skyscraper on the beachfront. The price of homes in the tower (…) range between €700,000 and €1.56 million.

Also, it is only a matter of time before the 260 homes in the ill-fated In Tempo skyscraper come onto the market (…). The price that those homes may go for is still to be determined (…).

Just opposite In Tempo, the Levante-based property developer TM is building the Sunset Drive development, which has already been sold in its entirety. In fact, according to the sources consulted, the rate of sales was so high on its first weekend on the market that the company decided to increase its prices by 20%. As such, the prices of its 265 units range between a minimum of €255,000 and a maximum of €766,000, with an average of around €2,600/m2.

Also, just a kilometre from the skyscraper, the same company is working on another project, La Emita, which comprises a dozen units – four of which have already been sold – with an average price per square metre of around €2,200 – between €440,000 and €555,000 – which are expected to be completed by October 2018 (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake