Navarra’s Regional Gov’t Invests €15M in the Purchase of Industrial Land

23 May 2019 – El Español

The Regional Government of Navarra is going to invest €15.2 million in various industrial estates across the autonomous region, through the public company Nasuvinsa, with the aim of “supporting several companies that need to develop land to expand their production capacity”.

The action plan will involve the development and marketing of 309,123 m2 of industrial land in seven areas, specifically, in the Pamplona region as well as in the towns of Arakil, Arguedas, Cascante (or Monteagudo), Lodosa and Lumbier. It will also see the construction of an industrial warehouse in the Sakana area for its subsequent rental.

Industrial reactivation

The Navarran Government is going to develop the land and infrastructure necessary for all seven projects through Nasuvinsa, with a cash injection that will not only encourage the economic reactivation of the areas and the creation of employment, but which will also represent a return to making public investments economically viable.

Original story: El Español 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Spain’s New Gov’t to Promote Construction of 20,000 Affordable Homes for Rent

12 July 2018 – El País

The Ministry of Development is preparing an ambitious range of measures to increase the supply of rental homes, put a stop to escalating prices and facilitate access to housing for young people and low-income families. Its proposals include a plan to build 20,000 rental homes, which will be allocated at controlled prices in cities where prices have soared, according to sources speaking to El País. Moreover, the Ministry wants to extend the duration of rental contracts from three to five years, limit damage deposits and stimulate the supply of rental housing with tax incentives and the moderation of rents.

More funding, regulatory changes and a tax reform are the three components of a broad plan through which the Ministry of Development says it wants to give a social twist to the housing policies and whose main lines will be announced in Congress today by their owner, José Luis Ábalos. The objective is to avoid a new housing price bubble from destabilising the economy once again, according to government sources, and, in particular,  to help families with limited resources and young people.

The package includes urgent measures aimed at alleviating the increase in rental prices, which have soared by up to 50% in large cities over the last four years due to the emergence of tourist apartments and the reactivation of the real estate market. The Government is going to launch an inter-ministerial working group tasked with developing a set of urgent policies for housing and rent.

Amongst the initiatives that the Ministry of Development is going to implement is a plan to build 20,000 affordable rental homes over the next four to six years. The State will promote the construction of these 20,000, mostly public, homes (although this has not been finalised and all of the possible formulae are going to be considered because the most important thing is for the homes to be built quickly). The homes will be destined for rent or transfer of use, for an indefinite period, with a limited rent or price, in cities with accredited demand and where rental prices are higher.

Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Málaga, San Sebastián and Sevilla are the cities that have experienced the largest increases in rental prices over the last four years, which have risen by up to 50% on the islands, according to data from Idealista.

Last year in Spain, work was completed on 48,853 private homes and 4,938 social housing properties, according to data from the Ministry of Development. At the height of the real estate bubble, in 2007, almost 650,000 homes were being constructed per year.

The plan will be carried out in collaboration with autonomous communities and town halls, which will be asked to identify and facilitate the most appropriate plots of land on which these housing developments can be built. The State will involve SEPES, the public land entity, in this program and will contribute its own momentum and financial support. The ICO will also play a role in the design of the policies (…).

Original story: El País (by Elsa García de Blas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Expects Torre Glòries to be Fully Occupied by 2019

7 June 2019 – Expansión

Following the stoppage during the final quarter of last year, which was attributed to political instability, the first few months of 2018 have reactivated the real estate sector and the footfall in the shopping centres of Barcelona; and one of the clearest examples of this change in trend is Torre Glòries, one of Merlin’s main assets in the Catalan capital. The firm’s CEO, Ismael Clemente, explained during an information session at the International Logistics Fair (‘Salón Internacional de la Logística’ or SIL) in Barcelona that the office complex will be fully occupied by 2019.

The first tenant is going to be the Austrian firm CCC, which will work for Facebook and which has leased eight floors, with the option of leasing five more. That firm will start to move into Torre Glòries on 1 July. “After finding out that the EMA would not move to Barcelona, we thought that it might be hard to fully let the building three years after the refurbishment work finished (in June), but now we see that in six months we are going to have 80% of the property occupied and that by 2019, it will be full”, said the Director. Merlin is negotiating with two other companies from the technology sector, which will allow the listed Socimi to hang up the “No vacancy” sign if the most optimistic forecasts are fulfilled.


At SIL, Merlin unveiled its plans to expand its logistics offering over the next two or three years (…).

Original story: Expansión (by A. Zanón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Realia Buys Land & Reactivates Its Property Development Business

12 March 2018 – Expansión

Realia, the real estate firm controlled by Carlos Slim (pictured below), has acquired a plot of land in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), with a buildable surface area of 44,755 m2, from the Ministry of Defence for €27.5 million. This is the first land acquisition that the company has undertaken since the Mexican magnate took control of the entity, and sees it join the wave of investments that companies in this segment are making in land in light of the reactivation of the sector, reports Europa Press.

In the case of Realia, the land purchase forms part of the reactivation of its construction and house sale activities, which it had suspended, firstly due to the crisis and, subsequently due to the process to restructure and clean-up the company. In this way, it is going to allocate this land to undertaking one of its first three housing developments. The other two, which are going to be built on the portfolio of land that the company already owns are located in Sabadell (Barcelona) and Palma de Mallorca.


Realia’s strategy to resume its property development activity involves analysing new build construction projects in “areas where demand is consistent and the supply is very low or new”, such as specific areas of Madrid and Barcelona and “certain other places with the same market characteristics”, according to a statement made by the firm in its annual report for 2017.

That is one of the company’s main objectives for 2018, together with the improvement in margins through the streamlining and optimisation of expenses, and the recovery of prices.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Top 4 Property Developers Will Hand Over Just 680 Homes This Year

24 November 2017 – Cinco Días

The four large property developers that aspire to lead the residential market in Spain are going to hand over only 680 homes in 2017. The group comprises, on the one hand, two companies that are already listed, namely, Neinor and Aedas, and on the other hand, two that are likely to make their stock market debuts in 2018, namely, Metrovacesa and Vía Célere.

The real estate sector already regards these four companies as the largest in the sector; and on the stock market, they will have access to resources that many others will not. But all of them are at the beginning of the development of their businesses, in a joint bid to reactivate the residential market in Spain.

That reactivation can be clearly shown in the forecast of home deliveries to clients, which will rise from 680 in 2017 to more than 2,000 next year, according to data provided by the companies themselves. Normally, the process to sell homes off-plan and build them takes more than 24 months. And so these companies, which started to back the property development sector within the last two years, are likely to hand over the greatest number of homes from 2019 onwards.

In parallel, the sales business of the new companies is also growing. The four companies expect to sell almost 10,000 homes in total in 2018.

Moreover, for the last few months, Neinor, Aedas, Vía Célere and Metrovacesa have been creating their own land banks, making investments amounting to hundreds of millions of euros to acquire plots of land in Madrid, Barcelona and other capitals. The four companies own land sufficient to build 76,400 homes (…).

This year, work has started on the construction of 73,000 homes (versus 92,000 last year) in Spain, according to the construction permit figures compiled by the Ministry of Development. They are very modest volumes, which are still much closer to the minimum recorded in 2013 (58,740 homes) than the maximum recorded in 2006 (865,560 units).

The leaders of these four companies, which aspire to lead the sector on the stock market, have indicated on several occasions that the rate of house sales by its companies will reach 4,000 units once they are at cruising speed. That means that each one of them will have a market share of no more than 4% or 5% of a market that will exceed 100,000 new homes per year. Even the companies themselves consider those figures to be conservative and sustainable over the long term.

Neinor Homes is the most advanced in its business plan. It was the first to debut on the stock market in this new bullish cycle, in March, and now has a market capitalisation of almost €1,450 million (…). The company led by Juan Velayos plans to hand over the keys to 300 homes this year. It owns land with capacity to build up to 12,000 units, although the company is continuing to buy up plots of land. The four largest real estate companies will build around 38,000 homes over the next three years.

The next firm to debut on the stock market was Aedas Homes, which did so last month. It also has an international fund as its backer, in its case, the US firm Castlelake, which sold more than 45% of the capital in the IPO. (…). The company does not plan to hand over any homes this year, but will complete 230 in 2018. It also forecasts sales of 2,050 homes next year.

The company that is likely to be the next to make its stock market debut is the historical firm Metrovacesa (…). It is currently controlled by Santander (60% stake), BBVA (30%) and Popular (10%) (…). This year, it will hand over 160 homes and next year another 620 units, when it will also sell another 3,500 properties. It is expected to be the largest firm on the stock market and in the sector, given that it owns plots on which to build 40,000 homes.

Finally, the fund Värde Partners is working on bringing Vía Célere to the stock market (…). That company has not provided information about its forecasts, but in its annual accounts for 2016, it forecast the hand over of 223 homes this year and 201 next year (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The IMF Commends Sareb’s “Effective” Management & Divestment Progress

10 October 2017 – El Diario

On Friday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) commended the “effective” management of Sareb and its progress in the asset divestment process, which has enabled the real estate company to liquidate 22% of its portfolio and 20% of its debt in its four years of life.

“To date, Sareb has fulfilled its objectives quite well, and the review of its business strategy seems to be well designed”, acknowledged the supervisory body in its latest report evaluating the Spanish financial sector.

Nevertheless, it adds that the company, created in 2012 to help with the clean-up of the banking sector, will face challenges in the future.

In its report published on Friday, the IMF refers to: the highly sensitive nature of Sareb’s activity to the evolution of real estate prices; the financial expenses that the entity must pay to service the debt that it took on to purchase assets back in the day; and the “stiff competition” from the banks, which are also divesting their real estate portfolios.

Even so, the body endorses the progress that Sareb has made to reduce the perimeter of assets received from the financial institutions by so much, as well as to service its commitments to repay its debt, which is guaranteed by the Spanish Treasury.

For the IMF, behind this progress, is the “effective” approach that Sareb applies to managing the portfolio, and which includes strategies for “the transformation of loans into properties, the recovery of loans, the sale of assets and the reactivation and sale of suspended projects”.

In the opinion of the institution, which is headquartered in Washington, Sareb is continuing to play a “critical role in the preservation of financial stability”, and therefore recommends greater involvement of the authorities in the preparation of the entity’s business plan.

The report that the IMF published on Friday focuses on analysing the weight that doubtful loans still play in the Spanish banking sector, which is still high despite the transfers that were made to Sareb when it was created.

In this sense, the international body echoes the initiative that the so-called “bad bank” has launched to give greater dynamism and transparency to the sale of loans, through an online platform, which is now operational, albeit in the pilot phase, on the company’s website.

Original story: El Diario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mercadona Leases New 23,000 m2 Logistics Centre From Prologis

7 June 2017 – Expansión

The supermarket chain Mercadona has just strengthened its logistics network by leasing a new warehouse from Prologis. The warehouse, measuring 23,000 m2, is located in Ribaroja de Túria (Valencia), the town where the supermarket chain already has one of its major logistics centres. The distribution group has occupied the site since the middle of May. Sources at the chain explain that this warehouse will serve to support the major block that it already has in Ribaroja, which has seen its needs increase.

The warehouse is located on one of the two plots of land that Prologis acquired a year ago from the Generalitat Valenciana in the Valencia Logistics Park.

The rental price is estimated to range between €4/m2 and €5/m2. After finalising construction work in April, the logistics group reported that it was going to be the first building that it has inaugurated in Spain since 2009 and that it represented a symbol of the reactivation of its property development activity. Prologis’ plans include beginning construction on a second twin centre on the adjoining plot. The logistics company has invested €13 million in these facilities.

Original story: Expansión (by A.Z., J.B. and A.C.A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

House Prices Rose By 0.7% In Málaga In Q1 2016

30 March 2016 – La Opinión de Málaga

During the first few months of 2016, the cost of new homes in Málaga has confirmed that prices are starting to rise there again, albeit slowly and cautiously. Having said that, prices in the region are still between 32% and 34.3% lower than the maximum values recorded at the peak of the housing bubble, according to the latest quarterly report from the Town Hall of Málaga’s Urban Environment Observatory (OMAU). Last year represented the turning point with the first YoY rise in house prices since the crisis began (specifically, prices rose by 4.3% in the capital and by 3.7% in the rest of the province) and now, during the first quarter of 2016, that trend is continuing, with new increases, albeit small, but nonetheless indicative that the recovery of activity in the real estate market is starting to take hold. According to OMAU, the average value of new homes for sale in the capital (including VAT) now amounts to €2,096/m2, after an increase of 0.4% during Q1 2016, whilst the average price in the province as a whole rose by 0.7% to €1,904/m2.

“In Málaga, several new developments, above all in Teatinos and along the West Coast (Litoral Oeste), have driven the market this quarter, together with others that were lying dormant, waiting for the reactivation of the market. That is now happening in a very timid and unstable way”, says OMAU which notes that, in any case, some values are still “not showing clear trends”, with quarterly fluctuations up and down.

The western area of the Costa del Sol is the area of the province that saw the highest price rises during Q1 2016 (1.98%), whilst the West Coast recorded increases of 0.9% and the inland area recorded rises of 0.6%. The highest prices in the province (ahead of those in Málaga capital, which is ranked in second place) are in Marbella, with an average price of €2,537/m2 and a rise of 3.8% during Q1 2016.

In terms of Málaga capital, OMAU’s report indicates that prices have increased above all in the West Coast (by 3.2%) and in the Centre (by 3.1%). In Puerto de la Torre, prices rose by 8.6%, although that was the direct result of the inclusion of a specific development, which significantly affected the average for that area. Interestingly, in Teatinos (one of the areas with the most activity, where work has been on-going at five or six developments in recent months), prices fell by 2.5% during the first quarter although, in any case, prices there are still higher than they were a year ago.

Very high unemployment. The Director of OMAU, Pedro Marín, confirms the reactivation of the real estate market, in the context of the tough years of the crisis, but he warns that it is a process that must be taken “very cautiously”. “There is still a lot of uncertainty in Spain, both in terms of the economy as well as politics, and the real estate sector is waiting (to see what will happen). But it is true that construction has resumed at several developments and there are lots of adverts around”, he says. However, according to OMAU, the major problem continues to be the persistence of high rates of unemployment (almost 27% in the case of Málaga).

“In reality, whilst unemployment is so high, individuals’ capacity to obtain reasonable incomes to allow them to access the real estate market and boost demand is little more than a pipe dream…”. (…).

Original story: La Opinión de Málaga (by José Vicente Rodríguez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Romana Resigns As Chairwoman Of Sareb And Is Replaced By Echegoyen

27 January 2015 – Expansión

The Chairwoman of Sareb (the so-called ‘bad bank’), Belén Romana, voluntarily resigned from her post on Monday and the number two at the company, Jaime Echegoyen, the current CEO, has taken over as the Chairman of the entity.

Echegoyen was appointed on Monday by unanimous vote at an extraordinary meeting of the Board of Directors.

The Board considers that Echegoyen “is the right person to lead Sareb through this new phase, given his capacity for leadership, his experience and his professional and human qualities”.

Meanwhile, the body said that it regrets the personal decision taken by Belén Romana and highlighted the excellent job she has done as the head of the company. “Without her dedication, vision and leadership, it is hard to imagine how a few simple paragraphs in the BOE would have been transformed into the robust business reality that Sareb has become today”, it said.

The company recalls that in the two years since its creation, Sareb has fulfilled the initial objectives that the Chairwoman set out and has contributed “significantly” to the restructuring of the financial sector, the reactivation of the real estate market and the change in perceptions of international investors about the Spanish economy.

“Sareb has evolved from being a project agreed with the international authorities in the context of the clean-up of the banking sector, to become a fully operational company, which has generated turnover of almost €9,000 million during the period”, it added.

Furthermore, since Romana has been in office, Sareb has sold nearly 24,000 properties and has repaid 11% of its initial debt. “All of this has resulted in a saving of €7,400 million for taxpayers”, highlights the note.

New phase

Sareb will now be led by Echegoyen and “will collaborate with professional service-minded managing agents that have a strong alignment with the company’s interests. All of this will allow it to take full advantage of the incipient recovery in the Spanish real estate sector”, the company explained in a statement.

The new Chairman also thanked the board for the confidence it has placed in him: “I am fully committed to the new responsibilities I am taking on and am convinced that Sareb will continue to fulfil its mandate, as it has been doing to date”, he said.

Echegoyen, who has extensive experience in the financial sector, was appointed CEO of Sareb in February 2014. Under his leadership, the company has adopted a new organisational structure and has chosen new operators to manage its portfolio over the next few years. Before joining Sareb, he was CEO of Bankinter and Head of Barclays in Spain and Portugal.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake