AP67 Acquires Four Plots of Land in Madrid for €4.6 Million

9 October 2018

The socimi, which is listed on the MAB, is expanding its portfolio of assets in the area of Leganés, where it focuses most of its operations. The lands the socimi acquired have several possible uses, including industrial, commercial, offices and residential.

AP67 is continuing to pursue its strategy of investing in a good-sized portfolio of assets in Leganés. The socimi, which went public in May, just acquired four plots of land in the southern city of Leganés, part of greater Madrid. The total investment reached 4.6 million euros, according to the company’s announcement to the Mercado Alternativo Bursátil (MAB).

With this operation, the real estate manager, controlled by the architects Álvaro Rubio and Francisco Escudero, founders of the Akydeko studio, has added a variety of types of assets to its portfolio. In total, the plots of land have an area of ​​more than 8,500 square meters.

The largest plot of land is located at 7 Calle Rey Pastor de Leganés, where AP67 acquired a 4,899 square-meter plot of industrial land for 625,000 euros. In the Sector Partial Plan 4 of Leganés, the socimi paid 2.6 million euros for a 3,360-square-meter plot of land for commercial and office use.

Finally, on 40 and 48 Calle Juan Muñoz, Rubio and Escudero’s firm acquired two small plots measuring 400 square meters and 39 square meters, respectively. The socimi paid 1.3 million euros for the two.

The purchases were made with equity and a mortgage loan signed with Banca Pueyo for 1.34 million euros. “With these acquisitions, the company continues to meet its investment objectives and expand its portfolio of assets,” the socimi announced. AP67, which debuted on the MAB valued at 34 million euros, aims to double the number of assets it currently has in the next few years.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

Spain, the Fifth Biggest European Destination for Real Estate Investments

14 August 2018

With more than €6.1 billion invested in the year to June, Spain consolidated its position as one of the favourite destinations for investors, behind the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Holland.

The Spanish property market is still monopolising the flow of investment capital to Spain. With 6.161 billion euros invested in the first half of the year, Spain accounted for 5% of the total volume invested in the European market and has consolidated its position as the European country with the fifth highest volume transacted until June, behind the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Holland.

Overall, investment in the real estate market in Europe exceeded 120 billion euros, 10% less than in the same period of the previous, record-breaking, year, according to a report prepared by the consultancy CBRE.

By country. The United Kingdom is the leader in investments, with 34.4 billion euros, followed by Germany with 24.5 billion euros. In both cases, investments fell by 6%.

Behind these countries is France, with 11.9 billion euros; Holland with €10 billion; Spain with €6.1 billion; and Sweden with €5.1 billion.

By asset type. The office market was, once again, the segment that attracted the largest volume of investment in Europe, with 52 billion euros, 41% of the total; followed by alternative assets – student and senior citizen residences and healthcare facilities – with 21%; retail (20%), logistics (11%) and hotel management, 7%.

A takeover bid for Axiare

Spain. Colonial’s bid for Axiare encouraged investment in the sector during the first six months of the year, which, despite everything, came in at 15% below that registered in the same period of the previous year.

The acquisition of Axiare, which specialises in offices, by its rival Colonial, accounted for 30% of the total volume transacted in the first half of the year and leveraged the total investment in offices, to 2.036 billion euros.

The most active segment behind offices was retail. With 1.689 billion euros transacted in the first six months of the year, retail accounted for 27% of the total, thanks to the large volume invested in commercial centres with, among others, Redevco and Ares’ purchase of 70% of Parque Corredor for 140 million euros.

Operations focused on high street stores also encouraged investment in retail. Last January, the German fund manager Deka finalised its acquisition of 16 stores owned by Inditex, of which 14 are located in Spain, for some 400 million euros.

The next most significant segments by volume transacted were hotels, with 869 million euros, and logistics, with 716 million euros. 589 million were also invested in the residential sector, almost the same figure as in the first half of 2017, while purchases of alternative assets saw investments of 125 million euros.

Upward forecasts

As for forecasts for the end of the year, CBRE believes that the recovery in the real estate market in Catalonia that, after the independence referendum of last year, has experienced a certain measure of paralysis, along with the finalisation of some large operations currently under negotiation, will see the conclusion of 2018 reaching investment levels similar to those of previous years. Investments in 2017 reached 12.9 billion euros.

The director of Capital Markets at CBRE Spain, Mikel Marco-Gardoqui, explains that taking into account the various “large-scale” operations in advanced negotiations and the return of activity to the investment market in Catalonia, the prospects for the end of the year are “rosy.”

Among these operations is the purchase of four shopping centres owned by Unibail Rodamco for 490 million euros by Vukile. Specifically, the sale of Los Arcos (Seville). Bahia Sur (Cadiz), Faro (Badajoz) and Vallsur (Valladolid) by the South African fund was finalised at the end of July and will be counted, therefore, amongst the transactions closed in the third quarter.

Also, the finalisation of the sale of the three shopping centres sold by CBRE GI and Sonae – Gran Casa (Zaragoza), Max Center (Bilbao) and Valle Real (Santander) – for around 500 million euros is expected in the coming months. According to Expansión, the Slovak fund J&T, in alliance with Sonae, is a favourite to acquire this portfolio of commercial assets.

Corporate operations will also continue to boost the sector in the second half of the year. Among the operations that will boost the real estate market is the purchase of Hispania by Blackstone. The American investment fund finalised its takeover of Hispania last July, after taking control of almost 91% of the Socimi.

The offer from Blackstone, which already held 16.56% of the socimi’s capital, values Hispania at 1.992 billion euros and makes the US fund the largest hotel owner in Spain.

Marco-Gardoqui explains that Spain’s benign macroeconomic prospects, the potential for revenue growth in the office sector, the strong growth of electronic commerce and the need for adequate logistics spaces will continue to undergird the real estate sector.

Likewise, the consultancy underlined the opportunities in the alternative asset segment, which have an extensive need for development and professionalisation. Together with the availability of low-cost capital at low cost, the sector is expected to attract additional capital.

Expansion – Rebecca Arroyo

Spain’s Four Largest Socimis Already Control €30 Billion of Real Estate

8 August 2018

The largest of these real estate companies multiplied their assets fourfold since their first major acquisitions in 2015. Axiare left the continuous market and Hispania will soon follow as the sector undergoes a period of concentration.

The success of the socimi regulatory regime since its launch in 2013 is reflected in the gigantic portfolio of assets that these real estate companies have amassed in the last few years. The four largest listed companies have already accumulated portfolios of properties worth nearly 30 billion euros in three or four years of operation, according to the companies’ financial reports for the first quarter of 2018.

The development of a regulatory regime for these listed real estate investment companies was helmed by the then Minister of Finance Cristóbal Montoro, as these companies were exempted from paying corporate taxes in exchange for obligations such as having to distribute at least 80% of their dividends (which is taxed) and a listing on the stock exchange, guaranteeing transparency, among other requirements. The regulatory regime followed the example of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust), which have a long history in the US and Europe.

These companies are focused on the property business, and they lease their properties, which are principally offices, shopping centres and commercial premises, hotels, rental homes and logistics warehouses.

The launch of the regulatory regime coincided with the recovery in international confidence in Spain (after the sovereign debt crisis and doubts about its financial system) as some foreign firms (mainly investment funds and later institutional capital such as insurers) that returned to the market, betting on a recovery in the reactivation of the Spanish real estate market. Moreover, socimis have been one of the principal channels for investing these international flows of capital in this type of asset.

At Least €15 Billion More on the MAB

Spain’s Alternative Stock Market. The MAB found a way to grow through the socimis. 59 of these real estate companies have already listed on the market, often as purely tax vehicles, with no major movements in their limited free float and which also do not carry out large purchases. Among them, three big ones stand out: GMP (owned by the Montoro Alemán family and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC), Uro Property (with Santander’s banking offices) and General de Galerias Comerciales (owned by the executive Tomás Olivo). At the end of last year, there were 44 of these companies in the MAB, with a value of 12.221 billion euros (+60% y-o-y), according to data from Armabex, a registered advisor.

Testa Residencial. Among the 15 socimis that joined the MAB in the last months, Testa, which is owned by Santander, BBVA, Acciona and Merlin, stands out. Testa debuted at the end of July with €2.275 billion in rental housing. Along with other companies that launched on the market this year, there are now 59 firms with at least €15 billion in property. Initially, Testa had planned to debut on the continuous market, but market doubts in June led the company to opt for its plan B. The company still plans on a move to the continuous market in the future.

Records for investments in this type of property were broken in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In the past year, 13.99 billion euros were allocated to acquisitions, according to the real estate consultancy JLL, with international funds and socimis as the main players.

The growth of these companies over the last three years has been spectacular. In the first semester of this year, when the socimis published updated property valuations, the big four had €27.336 million in their portfolios (up 3% compared to the end of 2017). The four include Merlin Properties, Colonial, Hispania and Lar España. Taking the first quarter of 2015 as a baseline, when the largest of these companies were already active and began to make their large purchases, these same companies had a total of €6.691 billion. That is a fourfold increase in three years.

If one takes into account that Colonial had not yet become socimi that year (the developer changed status in 2017), the jump is even greater since, at the time, Axiare (absorbed a few months ago by the Catalan company) is one of the top four, with only €465 million in its portfolio. At that point, Merlin, Hispania, Axiare and Lar España had total assets of €4.2 billion, 6.5 times less than at the present date.

The success of these companies has led them to be targets of large corporate operations in the sector in recent months, in a period of concentration that experts believe will continue for the time being.

The largest then, as now, is Merlin (listed on the Ibex-35), which has Ismael Clemente as its CEO. The socimi already owns properties worth €11.755 billion, mainly offices and shopping centres and commercial premises, although with increasing investments in the thriving logistics warehouse sector. The company was launched after convincing investors, mainly Americans, to acquire the so-called Árbol (Tree) portfolio and its 800 BBVA banking branches.

The socimi debuted on the stock exchange in 2014 and grew rapidly with the acquisition of Testa from Sacyr in 2015 (€1.8 billion cost) and the integration of Metrovacesa’s tertiary assets (buildings valued at €1.67 billion) in 2016. At this point, Santander became its largest shareholder, with 22.6% of the capital. The rest is highly diluted, with large international funds as the most common investors. Its flagship buildings include the Torre Agbar, where Facebook will open an office (through the CCC outsourcing company) to monitor and control harmful content on the social network.

Merlin is closely followed by Colonial (Ibex 35), which has assets valued at €11.19 billion, compared to €2.185 billion in 2015. The historic real estate company began operations in Barcelona in 1946 and decided to become a socimi last year for the tax benefits. It has made major strides through its investments, including its recent takeover of Axiare, for which it paid €1.7 billion, giving Madrid a greater weight in its portfolio. The portfolio, mainly offices (91%), includes properties controlled by its French subsidiary SFL, with buildings in Paris (33% of the total value). The core of Colonial’s shareholders includes the Mexican investor Carlos Fernández González (18.3% of the capital), the Qatar Investment Authority (10.6%), the Colombian group Santo Domingo (7.3%) and the perfume family Puig (5.1%).

The other major socimi that has been the protagonist of a recent corporate deal is Hispania, listed since 2014, which was recently taken over by the giant American fund Blackstone. In fact, Blackstone has controlled 90.5% of the socimi since the end of July and is expected to abandon the socimi tax regime in the coming weeks. The company has €2.185 billion in real estate, 66% of which corresponds to hotels. The US fund plans to use Hispania’s assets to create a large hotel platform after having also acquired the HI Partners from Sabadell for €630 million.

After the acquisitions of Hispania and Axiare, the only large company that will remain on the continuous market is Lar España, which is managed externally by Grupo Lar, with the Pimco fund as its main shareholder (19.6%). It was the first socimi to make the jump to the stock market and has assets of €1.58 billion, of which 82% are shopping centres, following its strategy of focusing on the retail sector. With that in mind, the company announced the sale of its logistics park to Blackstone for €120 million at the end of July.

Original Story: Cinco Días / El País – Alfonso Simón Ruiz

Translation: Richard Turner

Colonial Acquires New Property in Barcelona’s CBD

10 August 2018

The property company just acquired the building located at 523 Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona.

Colonial has acquired the property located at 523 Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona. The area, which is considered the city’s Prime CBD, has traditionally been dominated by financial institutions, law firms and other service companies. The building has easy access to an array of services in the area and public transport, providing connections to all areas of the city. CBRE advised on the operation.

Currently, the building is leased to a single tenant, the Environment Department of the Government if Catalonia. Colonial announced that it intends to renovate the property in its entirety, leading to the creation of an iconic office building in Barcelona’s central business area. The total cost of the project, including capex, will be €37m, corresponding to an investment of €6,460/m2.

No new office projects in Barcelona’s CBD are currently underway, and the vacancy rate of Grade A buildings in the area is at historic lows, 1%. The building has an area of ​​5,800 m2 above ground, in addition to 1,200 m2 below ground. The building is divided into a ground floor and nine upper levels.

Xavier Güell, CBRE Barcelona’s director of Capital Markets, stated that ​​”this operation was the first in the third quarter, one in which everything points to the likelihood that it will be especially good for the office investment market in Barcelona. We here at CBRE expect that there will be €400 million euros of transactions just between July and September.

Original Story: Misoficinas.es

Translation: Richard Turner

Real Estate Developer Invests €87.4MM, Aiming to Build More than 600 Homes in Granada

6 August 2018

The real estate developer Grupo Inmoglaciar signed a contract for the acquisition of a 25,074-square-meter plot of land in Granada, for a total investment of 87.4 million euros. The company plans to develop 608 homes on the property.

As the company announced in a press release, the property has a buildable area of ​​62,493 square meters, in the area of Parque ​​Nueva Granada in the city’s northwest. The future development is expected to be “fully residential. “The two, three and four-bedroom flats will be built in four-storey buildings, with “elegant architecture and modern design.”

The residential developments will consist of four plots that will be developed in different phases. Sales are expected to begin in the fall of this year. The project will have common-use areas such as a swimming pool, a community room, a gym and a playground.

The acquisition is part of the company’s expansion strategy in Andalusia, where it already has two additional projects, one on the Granada’s Costa Tropical, with 192 homes, and a future housing development in Córdoba.

Original Story: Europa Press

Translation: Richard Turner

Kutxabank Sells 18,000-Square-Meter Plot of Land in Madrid to Top Gestión Madrid

23 March 2018 – EjePrime

The company will build a development with 154 publicly protected homes on the land, located in Alcalá de Henares.

The Basque Kutxabank is selling its real estate holdings. The bank sold the 18,173-square-meter site to Top Gestión Madrid, which has already announced that it will build a development with 154 publicly protected homes (Vppl – subsidised housing) on the land, located in Alcalá de Henares.

The plot, located in ​​Espartales Norte, belonged to the Basque savings bank Kutxa, which incorporated the land into Kutxabank when the three main Basque financial institutions merged in 2012.

The apartment blocks that were designed for the development have seven floors each with penthouses and will be built following the principles of sustainable architecture. The venture is a response to the currently elevated demand for residential assets in the Henares Corridor.

For Top Gestión Madrid, a newly created company, the operation involves “continued growth, while reinforcing the geographical diversification of our portfolio of land,” its general-director, María Emilia Alarcón stated. The company’s portfolio consists of fifteen ventures in various stages of development, including completed projects, works in progress and those about to go on sale, in Madrid and Andalusia.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

Testa Residencial Purchases 1,458 Homes from Caixabank’s Real Estate Arm

23 March 2018 – Inmodiário

The 1,458 homes are located in some of Spain’s principal cities and are being acquired for an estimated 228 million euros.

Testa Residencial, with a portfolio of 10,702 homes, is thereby consolidating its leading position in Spain’s rental housing market.

Testa Residencial has reached an agreement with Building Center SAU, the real estate arm of the Caixabank group, to acquire a portfolio of 1,458 homes, for approximately 228 million euros. 66% of the properties are located in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Valencia, while the remainder is in other Spanish metropolitan areas. Of the 42 developments that make up the portfolio, 90% are allocated, and it is estimated that they will add 8.7 million euros to the company’s annual turnover. The acquisition is subject to a series of conditions, and the homes will be acquired in the coming months as those requirements are met.

Wolfgang Beck, Testa Residencial’s CEO, stated that he is very satisfied with the acquisition, which will “allow Testa to consolidate its position as the leading company in Spain in the rental housing market, excluding financial entities.” After the purchase, Testa will own 10,702 homes in Spain, which are located mostly in Madrid, with a prominent presence in San Sebastian, Barcelona and Valencia as well.

Testa Residencial aims to consolidate its position as an efficient rental housing platform that adapts to the needs of its tenants, in line with Europe’s other residential real estate firms. The socimi intends to continue to follow its strategic growth plan, purchasing assets that are complementary to its portfolio, to achieve its goal.

Original Story: Inmodiário

Translation: Richard Turner

Resales Double New Property Transactions, Total Up 14% in November

13/01/2015 – Cinco Dias

The property market of Spain keeps on picking up from record-low levels. Real estate sales advanced by 14% year-on-year in November and showed 25.200 transactions, Spain’s National Institute for Statistics (or INE) informs. During the eleven months from January to November, home sales rose by 1.1%, balancing the first-quarter figures which were unnaturally inflated by extremely poor performance a year earlier.

This improvement relies almost exclusively on the pre-owned units’ sales as from January to November their marketing has bettered 15.3%, while the new properties’ sales fell by 15.6%. In November only, the trend reached its peaks with a 20.6% decline for new housing and a 41.6% jump for resales.

In detail, of the 25.200 dwelling units sold during that month, 17.400 were existing and 7.800 were new properties, meaning a proportion of more than 2-to-1. A year earlier, the division shown more approximate numbers: 12.300 and 9.800 units respectively.

The timid opening of the mortgage market gave an impulse to the real estate sector in 2014, stabilizing the six-year continuous slump. Prices have stopped to fall and even rebounded in some places. At the same time, new loans for home purchase moved on, as well as acquisitions.

The November increase follows two previous rises registered over September (up 13.7%) and October (up 16%), running-up since August 1.1% decrease, marking the year’s lowest with 23.500 operations.

During the eleventh month of 2014, the most abrupt increase in housing sales per every 100.000 inhabitants was seen in the Valencian Community (91) and Navarre and Andalusia (81 in both).

In absolute terms, Andalusia leads in the November ranking with 5.319 deals, followed by Catalonia (3.849), the Valencian Community (3.590) and Madrid (3.042).

In relative values, year-on-year, sales went up most in Navarre (up 48.2%), La Rioja (33.3%) and Asturias (30%). Only two regions witnessed fall from the previous year: the Valencian Community (down 3.3%) and Cantabria (down 12.3%).


Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: AURA REE

Telefonica Earns €65 Mn On 2014 Property Sales

12/01/2015 – Expansion

In its five 2014 sale & leaseback deals, Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider Telefonica earned €65 million in total.

The five properties, both of residential and dotational use, are located in various cities of Spain. They were parts of a nine-building portfolio which was put up for sale at the end of 2013. Rapid sales were due to their excellent locations and attractive, 7-year lease contracts offered by Telefonica.

Specifically, two of the buildings stand in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, Madrid, and the other three in the centers of the cities of San Sebastian, Bilbao and Valencia. Consulting firm Aguirre Newman advised on the sales of the Madrid, Valencia and San Sebastian properties, while CBRE assisted at the transfer of the Bilbao unit.

Staying as a tenant in the buildings, Telefonica pledged to pay €550.000 annually for the Madrid offices and €750.000 for the Valencia asset, to give some examples.

The five properties were acquired by private investors, both Spanish and foreign. The latter concentrate some real estate purchases valued at between one million and ten million euros. In general, this type of buyers streamline their acqusitions through family offices and strike buildings, retail premises and residential assets, well-located in the centers of large cities and let to solvent lessees.

In the following weeks the remaining four properties for sale are set to find new owners. They are situated in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian.

Telefonica’s new strategy rests on better exploitation of its former headquarters and reinforcement of its bet on the fibre-optic communication. The last will result in closing many central offices linked to the traditional copper-pair networks and therefore leaving multiple buildings, spacious and downtown, unused.


Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz & I. Del Castillo)

Translation: AURA REE

ST Says New Homes Depreciated by 2.2% in 2014

6/01/2014 – Cinco Dias

Average new dwelling in Spain cheapened by 2,2% throughout 2014, thereby cutting in its 2013 value loss of 7.8% by five points, appraiser Sociedad de Tasacion reports. In its latest update, the firm remarks that over the last six months the prices dropped by only 0.4%, compared with the 1.8% registered in the first half.

Precisely, average price per square meter in provincial capitals showed 1.994 euros, meaning a cost of 179.400 euros for a 90-sqm home. New housing has suffered a 40.2% value loss since its hights.

In 2014, new property prices fell in all the Spanish regions, above all in La Rioja (down 3.7%), Aragon (3.5%), Asturias (3.1%) and Extremadura (3%). On the other hand, the smallest depression was observed in Navarre (down 1.2%), Castille and Leon (1.7%), the Canaries (1.7%), Galicia (1.8%), the Basque Country and Andalusia (down 2% in both).

When it comes to the most expensive capital city, San Sebastian once more tops the ranking with a price of 3.336 euros per square meter, followed by Barcelona (3.129 euros) and Madrid (2.663 euros).

In turn, the most economic new homes are found in Badajoz, Caceres, Ciudad Real and Murcia as they are asking for less than 1.200 euros for a square meter.

According to Sociedad de Tasacion, home-price slump has cooled down due to easier access to financing and better economic outlook for the industry.

Moreover, there has been a significant rise in bulk asset purchases by foreign investment group. Apparently, among the demand for under-5-year-old properties reverberates interest of private buyers.

What Should We Expect in 2015?

In the ‘2015 forecasts’ section, Sociedad de Tasacion predicts there will be a correction in housing supply started at end-2008 to align with the demand. ‘The weak recovery traces seen a year ago now become clearer and clearer’, the company assures.

As a result of a decrease in Spanish household wealth which will not be compensated by a 0% inflation, combined with the uncertainty lingering over the labor market, new home sales will be crippled.

On the other hand, Sociedad de Tasacion believes that new housing supply will remain considerable throughout 2015, in spite of slow production pace, whereas the demand will start to rise in line with an increase in number of quality jobs and financing.

“The trend of switching from selling to renting will continue to grow, both in case of lease-to-buy or just lease properties”, portends the appraisal firm.


Original story: Cinco Días (after EP)

Translation: AURA REE