Deutsche Hypo: Spain’s RE Market Records Highest Growth in Europe

7 May 2019 – Cope

The Spanish real estate market recorded the highest growth in Europe during the first quarter of 2019 (3.8%) with respect to the previous quarter, to reach 199.3 points, according to the Deutsche Hypo Estate Economy Index (Reecox). Moreover, the Spanish real estate sector is forecast to grow by more than the European average this year (2.1%).

The Director of Deutsche Hypo’s branch in Madrid, María Teresa Linares, says that “the formation of a stable Government will be fundamental for ensuring economic consolidation and the adoption of the reforms necessary over the long term”.

The Reecox index reflects the quarterly evolution of the real estate markets in Germany, France, Great Britain, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands on the basis of five variables.

Original story: Cope 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

INE: 25% More Companies Operating in the RE Sector in 1 Year

25 June 2018 – Eje Prime

The new bonanza phase in the real estate sector is triggering the constitution of new companies and, in just one year, Spain registered 33,503 more companies dedicated to real estate activities. According to the latest structural survey of companies in the service sector of Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), the sector contained a total of 169,031 companies in 2016, which represents an increase of 24.7% in just one year.

The property rental segment was a net generator of new companies. Specifically, companies dedicated to the rental of real estate assets increased by 24.3%, to more than 119,400 companies. By contrast, the number of companies dedicated to property sales fell by 10% to just 926 companies.

Similarly, companies undertaking real estate activity on behalf of third parties amounted to a total of 48,665 in 2016, which represents an increase of 26.7% in the census of companies dedicated to this activity in just one year.

The significant increase in the number of companies was not accompanied in 2016 by an analogous increase in the turnover of companies in the real estate sector, although the trend was positive. For the whole of the sector, revenues amounted to €25.7 billion, up by 5.4% compared to the previous year.

Curiously, despite the boom in the constitution of companies, the revenues of rental property companies stagnated: all of the active companies in the sector recorded turnover of €17.5 billion in 2016, down by 0.8%.

By contrast, whilst some of the active companies disappeared, the aggregate turnover of the companies dedicated to the sale and purchase of properties soared by 42.5% to €1.7 billion.

Generation of employment, on the rise 

INE’s data also reflects the evolution of the personnel employed by service companies. In this case, the real estate sector as a whole saw its total workforce rise by 15.3% in 2016, to 238,428 workers.

Of that figure, companies dedicated to the sale and purchase of properties accounted for just 2,264 workers, compared to the 142,378 employees who were working for property rental companies.

In terms of real estate activities for third parties, the number of employees amounted to 93,786 people, up by 18.4% compared to a rise in turnover of 16.4% to €6.6 billion.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. De Angelis)

Translation: Carmel drake

Socimi Vbare Hires Former PwC Director as its New CFO

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Vbare is strengthening its leadership team. The Socimi has recruited Alberto García, former director of the audit firm PwC, as its new CFO, according to a statement issued by the group.

García de Novales has extensive experience in the real estate sector given that, as well as having performed financial audits of companies in the sector for many years, he has also formed part of the finance team at the Socimi Autonomy Spain Real Estate since September 2015.

Prior to his incorporation into that company and since the beginning of his professional career, in 2009, García de Novales was a member of PwC’s audit division in the construction and real estate sector, working in both the Madrid and Luxembourg offices.

In recent months, Vbare has carried out a capital increase amounting to €7 million and in 2017 it recorded profits of €2.2 million. Vbare is currently immersed in a new capital increase process with the aim of expanding its existing portfolio in the future.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

JLL: Madrid is one of the World’s Most Attractive Real Estate Markets

6 March 2018 – Expansión

Madrid is one of the most attractive cities in the world for investing in the real estate sector and now competes with the global giants. That is according to a report by the real estate consultancy JLL, which places the Spanish capital on the second tier of the ranking. On the first tier, it places the planet’s seven major cities – London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul – which are now being chased by the so-called “contenders”, which are those cities that have experienced the most rapid growth in terms of real estate investment over the last decade and which, nowadays “have better development and attraction power” for large investors. Besides Madrid, the cities that stand out in this ranking are Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing, Amsterdam, Chicago, Toronto, San Francisco, Washington DC and Sydney.

Meanwhile, Barcelona is placed in the group of cities that stand out for their degree of influence at the global level, a category that it shares with Brussels, Frankfurt, Genoa, Kyoto, Miami and Vienna. “They are cities that have the most stable real estate markets due to their strategic locations for taking transnational decisions, hosting cultural events and doing business”, says the report Cities of the World: Cartography of Success, prepared by the consultancy firm in collaboration with The Business of Cities.

To prepare this ranking, the report is based on a rating system that takes into account 44 variables. They include the size of the markets, the infrastructure in place, the presence of large companies, the capacity to attract talent, telecommunications and the commitment to specialisation and innovation.


In the case of Madrid, JLL highlights several aspects that place the Spanish capital on a clear trajectory towards the real estate peak: “Robust infrastructure, global connectivity, a large number of international conferences and conventions and a solid reputation”.

Another one of the elements that makes Madrid one of the major global destinations for real estate investment “is the forecast growth in office rents”. Not in vain, the Spanish capital is the European city where office rental prices are forecast to grow by the most during the period 2018-2020 (+3.6%), followed, incidentally, by Barcelona (+3.1%) and ahead of Manchester, Helsinki and Lisbon, according to JLL.

It is worth remembering that Madrid and Barcelona are the clear leaders in terms of the growth in residential asset prices in Spain. Homes became 17.1% more expensive in the capital of Spain and 14.8% more so in the Catalan capital, which lost ground in the last few months of the year due to the secessionist challenge, according to Tinsa. In any case, homes are still 20.3% more expensive in Barcelona than Madrid.

The appeal of Barcelona

In addition, Madrid is ranked as the fourth favourite city for commercial brands looking to locate stores, after London, Paris and Milan. Barcelona also features in the top 10: it occupies seventh place.

(…) In this regard, JLL highlights several aspects that justify its added value, such as “its tourist, cultural and business appeal”. Moreover, it points out aspects such as the fact that Barcelona is the fourth-ranked city in Europe in terms of visitor numbers.

The consultancy firm also emphasises Barcelona’s growing reputation as a smart city, “in large part thanks to the influence that the development of the 22@ business area has had in Barcelona. It has been erected as a technological hub, where large companies and start-ups are committed to setting up shop” (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HSBC Acquires 6.9% of Axiare for €100M in Midst of Colonial Takeover

12 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Axiare has yet another shareholder. The British bank HSBC has purchased 6.9% of the Madrilenian Socimi’s shares and has whereby joined the long list of international investors that have acquired stakes in the company since Colonial launched its takeover bid in November.

Specifically, the financial institution has acquired 5.51 million shares in Axiare, according to reports submitted by the company to Spain’s National Securities and Markets Commission (CNMV). According to market values, HSBC must have paid around €100 million for its stake.

Besides the British group, in recent months several other foreign funds have acquired stakes in the share capital of the company led by Luis López de Herrera-Oria including Syquant Capital, Sand Grove and Bank of America, amongst others.

It is worth highlighting that the bank took its decision to invest in the Socimi after the CNMV approved Colonial’s purchase of the company. Following that green light for the operation, the takeover is currently subject to an approval period, which ends on 29 January.

Colonial, led by Pere Viñolas, has offered €18.36 for each share in Axiare, which makes the takeover worth around €1 billion and which would result in the creation of a giant in the real estate sector. The new entity would threaten the throne of Merlin Properties as the real estate king in Spain.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Wants to Grow Its Tourism Business by 20%

11 December 2017 – Expansión

CaixaBank is stepping down on the accelerator in the tourism sector. The bank chaired by Jordi Gual has launched CaixaBank Hotels & Tourism, a specialist business line that is seeking to increase both the number of clients and the financing granted to the tourism sector, which has a global impact of 16% on Spain’s GDP. According to the entity, two out of every three hotels are already clients of CaixaBank, which has a market share of 63%.

The objective that the team of 30 professionals in the Hotels & Tourism team has set itself is to increase turnover by 20% during the first year of activity, accelerating both the number of new clients and the loan book.

CaixaBank Hotels & Tourism started to take shape in 2008 when a specialist team was established in the Balearic Islands. Now, that division has its own brand and a portfolio of more than 14,000 clients, from which it generates a turnover of €5 billion.

In 2016, the bank led by Gonzalo Gortázar granted loans worth €1.3 billion to the tourism sector. It plans to multiply that figure over the coming years with the launch of this specialist unit.

According to the Director-General of CaixaBank’s business, Juan Antonio Alcaraz, the challenge is to promote the modernisation of the existing hotel stock and to facilitate financing to business-people in the sector to enable them to buy hotel assets and undertake new build projects.

CaixaBank is not the only entity to launch a specific division for this sector. In 2014, Banco Sabadell launched Sabadell Negocio Turístico, a unit that has allowed it to increase its net investment balance at an annual rate of more than 10%.

According to Alcaraz, the 30 specialists working for CaixaBank’s new line of business, are located in those areas of the country that have the most tourist weighting to ensure proximity to clients and the provision of a personalised service. “We want to help businessmen in the sector maintain their position of global leadership”, said the executive, who emphasised that tourism “is one of the most strategic and important areas of the Spanish economy”.

According to CaixaBank’s research service, the direct and indirect contribution from tourism to GDP amounts to €119 billion, equivalent to 11.1% of the total. Nevertheless, if we add the spending that all of the players involved in the tourism sector make in other economic sectors, then the global impact reaches 16% of GDP, well above the European average, of 9.6%. More than 2.5 million people are employed in the sector.


CaixaBank Hotel & Tourism forms part of the bank’s corporate banking area, which has opted to launch several specialist lines of business to cater for economic sectors. For example, the entity has units dedicated to the real estate sector – fourteen centres – and the agrarian sector, with more than 900 AgroBank branches. It also has fourteen large business centres – one in each territory – business centres dedicated to dealing with businesses, self-employed people and professionals, and 106 company branches for other firms. It has also just launched CaixaBank Day One to deal with the specific needs of startups.

Spain is just a step away from overtaking France as the most popular destination in the world for tourist visits. Provided that the Catalan political situation does not intervene, forecasts suggest that this year could close with more than 84 million tourist visits.

Original story: Expansión (by S. Saborit)

Translation: Carmel Drake

PwC: Madrid Is One Of Europe’s Top 5 Most Attractive Cities For RE Investment

13 November 2017 – Eje Prime

Madrid is really winning over European investors. The Spanish capital is one of the top five cities to invest in over the course of the next year, as recommended by the consultancy firm PwC, according to its annual study Emerging Trends in Real Estate: Europe 2018. Whilst Madrid rose from 9th to 5th position, Barcelona managed to avoid the tense political situation in Cataluña to rise from 16th to 11th.

One of the reasons that led the consultancy firm to highlight Madrid as a safe house for real estate investment over the next year is its office market, which “after a cycle of compression”, has seen an increase in rental prices in the segment. “The increase in office rental prices suggests that Madrid is one of the most attractive opportunities for investors in Europe”, say sources at PwC.

With the (national) political uncertainty now “dissipated”, the recovery across Spain and, specifically, in Madrid is progressing “at full speed”. Real estate investment volumes in 2017 are on track to exceed records, especially in segments such as retail, where investment in this kind of asset is expected to soar by the end of the year, to exceed €4,000 million. Moreover, Madrid is also starring in alternative investment operations, such as those involving Resa and Nexo in the student hall segment, and the opening of the first Spanish WeWork office in Madrid, in the co-working sector.

During the 9 months to September, Spain closed transactions worth €10,300 million, according to a study compiled by the main real estate consultancy firms in Spain. In the third quarter alone, investment in real estate assets amounted to €3,000 million (…).

Offices remained the second most popular asset by investment volume (accounting for 24% of the total investment volume in Spain). Investors tend to focus on Madrid and Barcelona in this segment, with the two cities accounting for 90% of total office investment (…).

Logistics assets are also sparking a great deal of interest, especially warehouses located in Madrid and Barcelona. The volume of investment in these types of assets has not stopped growing since 2012 and so far this year, investment has reached €811 million, up by €100 million compared to 2016 as a whole (…).

Barcelona rises but misses out on Top 10 place

Outside the top ten by one position, Barcelona is nevertheless above average for the European cities recommended by PwC for investment. After rising several places from 16th to 11th in the ranking, the Catalan capital has caused alarm bells to ring due to the political situation, which has led some funds to put their real estate investments in the autonomous region on standby.

PwC says that, although there is a certain degree of concern, after interviewing a large number of investors for the preparation of its report, it concludes that no one is going to stop taking Barcelona into account for their real estate investments. “Investors are applying almost zero political risk, given that they do not believe that Cataluña is going to become independent”, said one of the main directors of a Spanish real estate business to the consultancy firm (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Alcaraz Brothers Create Six New Property Developers

3 November 2017 – Eje Prime

The family office owned by the brothers Juan and Pedro Alcaraz is growing. The Alicante businessman, founders of the vehicle rental company Goldcar, have left behind their stage in the transport sector, after selling the remaining 20% stake that they still held in their rent-a-car company to invest in real estate. With this business idea in mind, the Alcaraz brothers have created half a dozen new property developer companies, according to the Official Bulletin of the Mercantile Registry (Borme).

The two brothers are adding these six companies to the five that already exist in their Alibuilding company (…). This strategy of creating a property developer for each project is a method that has been used in the past in the Community of Valencia, as was seen in the case of the creation of the Valencian property developer Attikos, by the builder Juan Armiñana.

In the province of Alicante, the family office owned by the Alcaraz brothers, Aligrupo Global Services, is building a luxury urbanisation in Calpe. And it looks like the company is planning to construct another residential development in the same town, according to Valencia Plaza.

The two businessmen currently own several assets in the real estate sector, including a property in the prime area of Velázquez, in Madrid. They also hold a 10.55% stake in the Socimi Trajano Iberia, whose portfolio includes two office buildings, two shopping centres and a logistics platform.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

MAB Introduces Tougher Entry Rules For New Socimis

31 July 2017 – Expansión

In August, an amendment to the regulations governing the Alternative Investment Market will enter into force, which has led to a wave of Socimi debuts on the stock market in July to circumvent the new requirements.

Six new Socimis debuted on the stock market in July, an unusually high level of activity compared to previous months. The reason is that on 1 August the new circular published by the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) will enter into force. It introduces changes for debuting on the stock market and will affect all companies wanting to list from next month (August) onwards, in particular, Socimis. The amendment sees a toughening up of the conditions to debut on the stock market, given that it imposes some very demanding requirements for minority shareholders.

The change is very specific: “At the time of listing, companies must have minority investors owning shares that are worth less than €2 million or 25% of the company’s share capital”, explained José Luis Palao, Partner of the Mercantile Department at Garrigues. Minority shareholders are considered to be those that hold less than 5% of the share capital. Until now, the regulations allowed companies a grace period of one year to fulfil this requirement.

Manuel López, Partner of Financial Regulatory Law at Ashurst, considers that some Socimis have formed closed-end funds of sorts that have no interest in allowing access to minority shareholders. The exception to the regulations that existed benefitted this type of company in particular, as they enjoyed additional time to adapt themselves.

In this sense, López understands that the regulations are reasonable and reflect what the Socimis are designed to be – entities with the vocation to expand and attract new investors, aimed at boosting the real estate sector. His colleague, Ismael Fernández Antón, Partner of Real Estate Law at the same firm, considers that “the legislation has not become less flexible, but rather more coherent”.

Although Circular 1/2017 does not explain the reasons for the change, the experts agree that the market for Socimis has reached maturity and does not require any further encouragement. The MAB was prudent at the beginning, offering these companies a certain amount of freedom to promote their growth. Fernández Antón says that “this measure was always going to have a sell-by date”, given that the Socimis already represent an attractive vehicle for real estate investment in Spain. Moreover, the modification represents a guarantee to “limit the desire to use them as a platform for pure fiscal optimisation”, says López.

The change only affects companies that start trading from August, in such a way that those that have debuted recently still benefit from the exception. This has meant that, in the last month, the rate of Socimi debuts on the stock market has multiplied. Those who have acted quickly can enjoy a period of one year to fulfil this requirement regarding the diffusion of shareholders.

Although almost 40 Socimis trade on the stock market, only five are listed on the Main Exchange and only two of those form part of the Ibex 35: Merlin Properties and Colonial. Within the last few days, the entities Numulae, Bay Hotels & Leisure and AM Locales have all debuted on the MAB.

Original story: Expansión (by Jesús de las Casas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gov’t Says RE Recovery Is More Intense Than Expected

30 May 2017 – El Mundo

The Secretary of State for Budgets and Expenditure, Alberto Nadal, has highlighted that the growth of the economy in Spain is being favoured not only by the country’s exports, but also by the recovery of the construction and real estate sectors, which is proving to be much more intense than the Government had expected.

Those were the declarations made by the Secretary of State during the presentation of Inmonext 17, an event organised by Idealista in the context of Madrid’s International Real Estate Fair (SIMA) 2017, where he noted that GDP growth this year is set to exceed the official forecast of 2.7%.

During his speech, Nadal emphasised that this increase in growth is being supported by exports, which will continue to be very strong and by the recovery of the construction and real estate sectors. “The coffers don’t lie, people don’t pay taxes if they don’t have any cash”, he added.

In this sense, he said that the real estate sector is going to play a fundamental role in the growth of Spain and he reminded his audience that the sector was oversized during the years prior to the crisis and that real demand for housing was not well founded because prices were growing and the volume of credit exceeded the borrowing capacity of families. “Economic growth was unbalanced and was heavily concentrated in the real estate sector”, he said.

In his opinion, a reasonable cruising speed would be the creation of 50,000 homes per year and he added that the recovery is reaching the real estate sector later than other markets, perhaps because it was oversized before. For this reason, he said that the logical thing would be for the sector to operate at a reasonable average, leaving behind the extremes seen before the crisis and over the last few years.

Nadal said that the data shows that there is not a bubble now and he emphasised that the outlook of the Spanish real estate sector depends on the faith that Spaniards have in the future, especially in their jobs and salaries.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake