Commercial Premises on Calle Serrano & Paseo de Gracia are More Expensive Than Ever

28 March 2019 – Expansión

The “golden miles” of Madrid and Barcelona seem to be immune to the consumer crisis and the boom in e-commerce that is negatively affecting other high streets across the country, for the time being at least. In fact, business is booming on Calle Serrano and Paseo de Gracia, driven by demand from large international luxury brands, which are only willing to open their flagship stores on those two streets.

Recent arrivals on Calle Serrano include Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Bang & Olufsen. Meanwhile, the newest tenants on Paseo de Gracia include Moncler, Loro Piana (LVWH), Isabel Marant, Antropologie and Christian Louboutin.

Moreover, demand is driving up rents on those streets. In Barcelona, prices on the golden mile rose by between 5% and 6% in 2018, to €275/m2/month, according to Ascana. In Madrid, the price increase was less marked, up by just 1%, but nevertheless, the average price amounted to €284/m2/month, a new historical record.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

JLL: Investment in Offices in Barcelona Amounted to €611M in 2018

21 March 2019 – Eje Prime

According to the consultancy firm JLL, direct investment in the office sector in Barcelona amounted to €611 million in 2018. That figure represented 24.4% of the total investment in office spaces across Spain, which amounted to €2.6 billion. Direct investment in offices in Madrid reached €1.9 billion last year.

In Barcelona, the largest operation of the year in the office segment saw Blackstone acquire the Planeta building for €210 million.

Meanwhile, 356,000 m2 of office space was leased in the Catalan capital, up by 8%. The real estate firm forecasts an upwards trend with the leasing of office space amounting to 360,000 m2 in 2019, 368,000 m2 in 2020 and 370,000 m2 in 2021.

In terms of rental prices, prime rents grew by 8.6% in 2018 to reach €25.25/m2/month on average. JLL forecast that rents will rise by 5% p.a. until 2021 to €30.34/m2/month within five years.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Office Space in Barcelona’s 22@ District Will Grow by 335,000 m2 by 2021

11 March 2019 – La Vanguardia

According to a report by the consultancy firm BNP Paribas Real Estate España, the supply of office space in Barcelona’s 22@ district will grow by 335,000 m2 over the next three years, of which 77,800 m2 will be handed over during 2019, compared to 33,200 m2 in 2018.

In light of the scarce supply and high demand in the area, average prices rose by 20% in the second half of 2018 to reach between €1,500/m2 and €1,600/m2 in prime areas.

Rental prices also rose in 2018, by 8%, to reach an average of €16.7/m2/month. They are set to continue to rise this year headed for historical maximums.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Madrid’s Office Market in 2019: Stable Yields & Investment of €3bn

20 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Investment in offices in Madrid is on the rise. Total investment of €3 billion is forecast in the office market in the Spanish capital this year, which will see it maintain the yield for prime offices at 3.75%. In terms of office rents, a boom of 9.8% is forecast, along with a decrease in the availability rate, which is set fall from 11.6% in 2018 to 9% in 2021. Modest growth forecasts for the sector, with a lower supply of prime spaces, are going to contribute to an increase in rents.

With this data, Madrid is positioning itself amongst the capitals with the lowest yields on its luxury offices, with a figure comparable to those of Singapore (3.34%), Amsterdam (3.35%) and Paris (3%), but well below those of Moscow (8.5%) and Washington DC (6.2%), according to the Global Outlook 2019 report, compiled by Knight Frank.

In terms of the growth forecast for office rents, the Spanish capital is expected to maintain stable growth (…).

In terms of the availability rate, Madrid is forecast to decrease from 11.6% in 2018 to 9% in 2021, placing it amongst the cities with most available offices, well below Berlin, with a forecast rate of 2.2% (…). Available prime offices will also decrease, which will lead to a rise in rents. According to the study, this is the result of the recovery of the residential market, which is also sparking interest amongst investors.

One of the greatest opportunities in the sector are the coworking offices, which are transforming conventional offices into new spaces for working and incentivising employees. “Whilst some markets are reaching maturity, at the global level, we expect to see a boost to this business in 2019”, say the authors of the report.

In summary, the office market in Spain is expected to be relatively stable during the year ahead, despite global challenges (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Marta Casado Pla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Coworkings: the New King of the Real Estate Sector

15 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Millennials, flexibility, start ups…All of the socio-demographic trends are inevitably leading to one common place: coworking offices. Flexible workspaces have become the great promise of the real estate sector but their largest operator, IWG, generates just 15% of its revenues from them and WeWork is multiplying its losses year after year. What risks does the model have? Can it withstand a recession without the guarantee of the traditional five years of mandatory occupancy? And what if Amazon and Facebook, its tenants of today, end up becoming its main competition?

In 2017 alone, the total volume of flexible workspace in the twenty largest markets around the world grew by 30%, equivalent to 1 million m2. Since 2014, the sector has doubled, and in cities such as London, they account for 20% of the office space leased, according to a report from JLL. In Barcelona, that figure already amounts to 12%.

The consultancy firm forecasts that the European stock will grow by between 25% and 30% per annum on average over the next five years and will account for 30% of some corporate real estate portfolios by 2030. But those predictions hide the major challenges that are threatening the great promise of the sector.

One of the main challenges facing the model is that the operator is tied to a given property for at least five years, like in the case of a traditional office, but its tenants have contracts that last for months or even hours. When the next crisis hits, what guarantees does the owner have that the operator will be able to continue paying the rent?

“On paper, that does seem like a risk, but the reality is that the coworking phenomenon was launched during the crisis”, explain sources at Savills Aguirre Newman. All sectors suffer when there is a recession, but traditional offices are hit harder because whoever cannot bear those costs can afford a coworking space”, argue the sources at the consultancy firm.

Another of the risk factors is that coworking offices have capitalised on the lack of available office space in the centre of cities and also, on the shortage of appropriate spaces for the new ways of working within traditional companies (…).

“The players driving the sector are multi-nationals that are looking for appropriate spaces for their innovation teams or for project-based work”, says Manel de Bes, Director of the Office department at Forcadell.

But, what will happen when the offices of these large companies have adapted to the new scenario? “At the moment, most companies are in the experimental phase; if they consider that the trials do not meet their needs, they will be able to return to more conventional models”, explains JLL’s report (…).

From rock star to conservative player

Within the coworking phenomenon, the rock star is WeWork. The New York-based company, which became the largest lessee of offices in its home city last year, is worth USD 20 billion, but it recorded losses of USD 723 million in the first half of last year.

“Its model is based on taking over the best buildings, in the most prime areas and then competing with other operators on price: it is not sustainable”, argues a competitor in the sector. “Sooner or later, they will have to raise their prices”, he assures.

IWG’s model is more conservative. That firm has an umbrella of five brands and thirty years of history. “We have gone through three or four cycles and we cover our backs: first, by diversifying in terms of the type of tenant to minimise risk. We also ask the owners to invest and we do not select the best buildings or at any price”, said Philippe Jiménez, head of the group in the Spanish market (…).

De Bes from Forcadell forecasts that “Over the medium term, just four or five operators will remain: those that lease 200 m2 or 400 m2 in secondary areas will exit the market”. In fact, the market is already becoming more concentrated: since 2015, the five most important operators have accounted for 50% of all of the new flexible workspace in Europe (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Iria P. Gestal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Knight Frank: High Street Investment Soared by 84% to €1.3bn in 2018

31 January 2019 – Eje Prime

The real estate sector has closed another year with a strong performance in the Spanish market. As we approach the end of the real estate cycle in the country, the tertiary sector is continuing to maintain high levels of investment, with growing rents and sustainable yields.

In the retail sector, the investment volume amounted to around €3.7 billion in 2018, according to data from Knight Frank. The main driver of that investment was the high street, where spending soared by 84% to €1.3 billion.

Despite that, the bulk of retail investment in Spain continued to be directed towards shopping centres, which accounted for 54% of the total last year with major operations such as the sale of the Summit portfolio, owned by Sonae Sierra in conjunction with CBRE GI, and of which 87% is now controlled by JT Real Estate.

Moreover, the consultancy firm highlights that interest has increased from investors in shopping centres and isolated retail warehouses in good locations “which allow them to manage last mile delivery points”, said the consultancy firm.

Returns have remained stable across the three segments with yields of 5.25% for retail parks, 4.25% for shopping centres and 3% for high street assets.

Despite the strong performance of the retail sector in 2018, the jewel in the Spanish real estate crown is still the logistics segment. In 2018, investment in logistics assets amounted to €1.255 billion, close to the record set in 2017 of €1.28 billion.

In the last quarter, several large operations were closed, such as Blackstone’s purchase of a portfolio of 55 assets from Neinver for €300 million.

Interest in the segment continues to generate expectations regarding the compression of yields, and so Knight Frank forecasts returns of around 5% this year.

Finally, the office sector has also maintained a robust rate of activity, after the maximums recorded in 2017 thanks to operations undertaken by the Administration. Specifically, Knight Frank estimates that 2018 closed with a gross absorption of 493,000 m2.

Following the trend set in 2017, 52% of the surface area leased was located outside of the M-30, although during the final quarter, it was the secondary centre that accounted for the bulk of the space rented, around 35%.

Prime office rents remained stable at around €30.5/m2/month, and reached maximums of €38.5/m2/month in the most sought-after areas of the business district.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Is Málaga the Silicon Valley of the South? Its Offices Generate Yields of 7.25%

7 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Málaga is positioning itself as the possible Silicon Valley of the south of Spain. The second most populated city in Andalucía and the only Spanish city in the Top 10 for the best quality of life in Europe, according to Eurobarómetro, has attracted several technology giants in recent years. The interest from these companies in moving to the area and the lack of available space have driven up prime yields in the office market in Málaga to 7.25%, making it the most profitable place to own an office in Spain, according to data from CBRE.

The international consultancy highlights that Málaga is “consolidating its position as a city of reference in Spain in the development of the technology sector”. Oracle, Accenture, Microsoft, Huawei, Ericsson, Indra, Atos and Cisco, amongst others, have all opened offices in the city. The meeting point for these companies is the Andalucía Technology Park (PTA), recently included in the catalogue of European Digital Innovation Hubs, compiled by the European Commission, and which recorded a turnover of €1.9 billion in 2019, up by 8%.

In addition, the province is home to other smaller clusters, such as Málaga SmartCity and the ‘Polo de Contenidos Digitales de Málaga’, the first hub with those characteristics in Spain and which aims to accelerate projects and companies related to the digital sector.

The increase in demand for offices in the city also comes in response to the future forecasts for growth in the region. In fact, Oxford Economists names Málaga as the city where the economy is going to grow by the most in Spain over the next decade. The good connectivity of the province abroad and tourism are some of the factors driving those predictions.

In recent years, Málaga has enjoyed a facelift in recent years with improvements in its infrastructures, and the airport and port as anchors for tourism and business. In addition, the population has increased to 570,000 inhabitants in recent years and there are now more than 40,000 companies, of which 87.1% specialise in services.

These drivers have reactivated the office market, which has taken advantage of the boost in demand, on the rise since 2015. Rentals cost €17/m2/month in the city’s best buildings and the occupancy rate in the prime area exceeds 90%.

The shortage of competitive products in terms of location, finishes and facilities, has driven the increase in yields. In comparison with Madrid and Barcelona, the variation in prime yields is great, improving the yields of 3.25% and 4% that were being registered in the two major Spanish capitals at the end of the third quarter 2018.

Moreover, the office market in Málaga also generates higher yields than the market in Bilbao, although it is not far behind with average yields of 7%, as well as those in Sevilla and Palma, which do not exceed 6.75%. The yields in Valencia and Zaragoza amounted to 5.25% and 6%, respectively, in September last year (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Launches its 6th Socimi in Spain with 1,600+ Rental Homes

27 December 2018 – El Diario

Blackstone is increasing its position as the largest landlord in Spain. On Thursday, the vulture fund received approval to list its sixth Socimi, Euripo, on the stock market, which will make its debut with an initial value of €110 million. On its balance sheet, another 1,600 homes that will join the more than 20,000 properties that the fund already owns.

Euripo will make its debut on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB), the secondary market in Spain, where it will join other Socimis owned by the US fund, including Fidere, Albirana, Corona and Torbel. Blackstone also recently took control of 80% of Testa, the largest rental home company in Spain, ownership of which it shares with Banco Santander.

In this way, almost one in ten Socimis in Spain have Blackstone as a majority shareholder. As is usual in the operation of this fund, Euripo is owned by a company belonging to Blackstone that is based in Luxembourg.

In this case, Blackstone is listing a portfolio comprising more than 2,000 real estate assets including homes, garages and commercial premises proceeding from the divestment of two financial entities, BBVA and the now extinct Banco Popular. Of the total portfolio, it has direct ownership of 1,900 assets, whilst another 400 are in the hands of a related company, which will likely end up on Euripo’s balance sheet, according to comments included in the IPO document.

There are currently more than 60 Socimis listed in Spain on the MAB, the main stock market and the Ibex 35. Blackstone has been the most active investment fund, especially in the rental home segment, where it controls almost a quarter of the companies currently listed.

The set of assets that Blackstone is debuting on the stock market with this new Socimi is worth around €215 million, of which half are located in Madrid and Barcelona. The remainder are distributed across 35 Spanish provinces, according to the aforementioned IPO document.

Currently, less than 30% of the properties of this company are occupied. For this reason, the company expects to increase its revenues by improving the occupancy ratios and by increasing the rents charged for each occupied home by between 4% and 5%. Moreover, it says that 7% of its assets are illegally occupied.

Original story: El Diario (by Diego Larrouy)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: Real Estate in Sevilla Attracts Funding from Overseas Investors

15 December 2018 – ABC

The city of Sevilla and its metropolitan area are now on the international real estate map and proof of that is that the major overseas funds are putting up a lot of the capital being absorbed by the new commercial, hotel and logistics projects in the city, “whereby taking over from the real estate firms of yesteryear”. That is one of the conclusions of a report compiled by the consultancy firm CBRE, which highlights that the return on investment has been felt most intensely in the shopping centre sector.

“With almost 300,000 m2 of future supply planned, Sevilla is the province in Spain that will grow by almost the most over the next few years in terms of gross leasable area – exceeded only by Madrid”, it said. “This will be a key sector this year and next for the Sevillan real estate market”, said Rosa Madrid, Director of CBRE in Andalucía. The first newsworthy event was the entry into operation of Torre Sevilla, “an open and mixed shopping centre, with a hotel and offices, which we have not seen here before and which is regenerating the area”, she highlighted. The office market “has absorbed without great problems” the 18,000 m2 that Torre Sevilla brought to the market “whereby disproving those who predicted a new crisis in this segment”, she said.

Offices

In the office segment, the highest rents are achieved in the most modern buildings of Nervión (a district in Sevilla), with rents of around €12-13/m2/month. In this area, some exclusive office buildings that were left vacant following the departure of the Junta de Andalucía to Santa Justa were occupied within 18 months. In La Cartuja, office rents are somewhat lower, around €9-11/m2/month, according to the report.

But, “the turning point” in the shopping centre sector is going to be seen Sevilla with Project Lagoh, promoted by the Socimi Lar España in the Palmas Altas area, to the south of the capital, and currently under construction. “Finally, the new era of shopping centres is going to arrive in Sevilla. Until now, we have only had shopping centres from the 1990s and none from the 21st century, like Xanadú in Madrid or Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza”, said Rosa Madrid.

Hotel investment

The hotel market has been also reactivated as demonstrated by the major operations closed in recent years. “In addition to the modern Eurostars Torre Sevilla, since 2015, the flow of properties acquired to transform them into accommodation has been continuous”, she highlighted. The most noteworthy operations include the purchase by the French real estate company Bouygues of the former headquarters of Abengoa, to renovate it and transform it into a 5-star hotel, the purchase of Hotel Macarena and the acquisition of the Generali building in Plaza Nueva by the British fund Shaftesbury.

Logistics market

Demand for logistics warehouses has also been increasing, at the same time as the major e-commerce operators have increased their logistics network in the south of the peninsula, such as the case of Amazon and Inditex, which have opened platforms in Sevilla. “That sector is here to stay. And operators are not only looking for large spaces far away from the cities measuring between 30,000 m2 and 100,000 m2, they are also looking for small spaces inside the SE30 to serve the last-mile market and demand for immediate distribution”, explained the regional director of CBRE.

Student halls

Investors specialising in alternative sectors, such as student halls of residence, are also placing their focus on Sevilla, a city that is home to 16% of all of Spain’s university students (…).

Original story: ABC (by E. Freire)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Neinor & La Llave de Oro to Build 2 Residential Towers in Barcelona

10 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Neinor Homes and La Llave de Oro are joining forces to unblock two projects in Plaza Europa, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The property developers have jointly invested €20 million in the construction of two buildings that are going to add a total of 172 new homes to this municipality in Barcelona.

The construction of the buildings is going to be entrusted to Inbisa Construcción, which has already started work, expected to be finished within eighteen months. Neinor is going to develop one of the towers, which will contain 77 homes and which will be added to the development of 91 homes that the company led by Juan Velayos already has under construction in Plaza Europa. Meanwhile, La Llave de Oro will do the same with the second building, which will be 70m tall and will contain 95 homes.

These are two of the few plots that have not been developed yet in Plaza Europa de L’Hospitalet, an area focused primarily on the office market, which was first developed in 2007.

The area’s tenants include companies such as Inbisa, KPMG and GB Foods. Currently, the occupancy rate exceeds 85% with rents ranging between €14/m2/month and €16/m2/month, according to data from Savills Aguirre Newman.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake