23 February 2016 – Expansión
Madrid and Barcelona / Investment volumes amounted to €5,400 million in 2015, driven by the Socimis and institutional investors.
During 2015, the office market experienced one of the best years in its history, as far as total investment is concerned, with two main regions of activity: Madrid and Barcelona. Together, the investment volume in those two markets amounted to €5,400 million, which represents a return to levels not seen since 2007, according to a report prepared by Aguirre Newman.
According to the report, the investment level achieved is the highest ever in the historical series, along with the level observed in 2007, and represented a two-fold increase in the investment figure recorded in 2014. Madrid accounted for 83% of the total transacted volume, whilst the remaining 17% was centred in Barcelona.
The CEO of Aguirre Newman, Jaime Pascual-Sanchiz, explained to Expansión that several factors contributed to this investment drive, including a recovery in rents, interest generated in the market and the renovation of buildings.
During the year, the main domestic and overseas banks that specialise in financing real estate operations, granted financing in a more active way, with fewer restrictions and more competitive margins.
The sales side was led primarily by real estate companies and institutional investors, who wanted to sell their portfolios, in some cases to leave Spain altogether.
By market, demand for office space in Madrid recorded a 32.6% increase in gross area leased in 2015, to reach 527,967 m2, compared with 432,195 m2 in 2014. Last year, an overall increase was observed in all of the areas analysed, with an average annual increase of 6.6%.
In terms of the year ahead, around 595,000 m2 of office space is expected to be leased in Madrid during 2016.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the gross surface area leased increased by 41.6% in 2015 compared to 2014, to reach 410,447 m2. Moreover, as a result of strong demand and the “almost non-existent” supply, rents improved significantly, with an average annual increase of 9.1% over the last twelve months.
In terms of asset type, 70% of the operations closed in the market in Barcelona may be classified as medium to high risk. In the case of the Spanish capital, 80% of operations may be considered as medium risk.
The forecasts for new projects over the next two years include 56,700 m2 of new office space coming onto the market in 2016 and an additional 60,000 m2 of new office space in 2017.
The report notes that, in an environment of political stability, investors’ interest will remain “very high” in 2016, regardless of the type of investor. In this regard, Pascual-Sanchiz believes that investors are currently more concerned with international issues, such as the crisis in China and the falling oil price, than with the political situation in Spain.
The Partner considers that competition in the sector is going to be more closely linked to a “war” of quality than a war in terms of prices. He also expects the Socimis, and to a lesser extent, the investment funds, to continue to be key players in the market over the coming year.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake