TM Group to Build More Than 2,000 Homes on Last Major Plot of Land in Torrevieja

9 September 2019

The TM Grupo Inmobiliario has plans to build more than 2,000 homes on part of the last major plot of available land in Torrevieja. A total of 5,000 to 6,000 homes are in the works for the 1.9-hectare area, which is called La Hoya. TM would invest approximately 30 million euros. Urmosa, a local developer, will build the largest number of homes in La Hoya.

The real estate market in Torrevieja is booming, as developers built 5,225 new homes during the past year. The most significant difference between Torrevieja and other hot spots like Marbella and Estepona is in the price of the homes on sale. Torrevieja is considered a ‘low-cost’ market, with homes on the beach available for less than 100,000 euros. Prices in the city have also been increasing at a relatively moderate pace, up by 2.3% in the last year, according to Tinsa.

While the development still lacks the necessary municipal approvals, La Hoya is likely to consist of 5,000 to 6,000 new homes, down from an initial 7,000 homes, as demand these days is largely for bigger homes than had been in the past. Prices are expected to range from 170,000 to 200,000 euros (1,200-1,300 euros/m2), far below the price of similar homes in Orihuela itself.

Original Story: El Confidencial – E. Sanz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

El Corte Inglés Considers Creating a Socimi to List its Real Estate Assets on the Stock Market

15 February 2019 – Modaes.es

El Corte Inglés is looking for solutions for its portfolio of real estate assets. The Qatari sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the third largest shareholder in the Madrilenian department store group, has proposed the creation of a Socimi to manage the rental of its assets.

The plan proposed by Al Thani, who entered the company’s share capital last summer, involves creating a company in which El Corte Inglés would own a 51% stake. The remaining 49% of the shares would be listed on the stock market.

The Qatari investor already proposed this solution to the previous President of the group, Dimas Gimeno, but it was not successful then, according to El Economista. For the time being, the Board of Directors of El Corte Inglés has not received a formal petition regarding the plan.

The real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés is worth €17.1 billion, according to a report from Tinsa. The department stores and hypermarkets are worth €15.0 billion, whilst the warehouses, offices and mixed-use buildings are worth €1.1 billion. Finally, the high street establishments are valued at €1 billion.

It is estimated that, in the event that the operation proposed by the sheikh goes ahead, the valuation of the assets could amount to half their current value, around €8.2 billion, according to Tinsa.

In parallel, the group is continuing to work on the sale of 130 real estate assets worth €2 billion in conjunction with the consultancy firm PwC. The property that El Corte Inglés wants to divest now comprises land, offices and buildings defined as non-strategic. Those assets also include some logistics centres.

The objective of these divestments is to reduce the group’s debt so that it can obtain a level of solvency that will allow it to raise financing in the capital markets at a lower price. In this sense, Núñez de la Rosa, the President of the group, has committed to reducing the group’s liabilities by €1 billion in twelve months.

Currently, the real estate portfolio of El Corte Inglés comprises 94 shopping centres, which account for 87% of the total value of the company’s assets. Two of those properties are valued at more than €500 million each, and another two are worth between €400 million and €500 million each.

The department store group recorded EBITDA of €335 million during the first half of 2018, up by 4.4% YoY. Between January and August, the company recorded turnover of €7.6 billion, up by 0.4% YoY.

Original story: Modaes.es

Translation: Carmel Drake

House Prices Will Rise by 5%+ in 2019 & Sales Will Grow by 13%

8 January 2019 – Expansión

The normalisation of the market in Madrid and Barcelona will make way for high growth in provincial capitals such as Valencia, Málaga, Palma and Sevilla. Rents will rise by more than 10% in the large capitals and sales could exceed 600,000 units in total.

Housing is going to enter a new phase of the cycle in 2019. After a year of expansion in 2018, with growth brushing the records seen before the crisis, this is going to be the year of consolidation, but also of awakening in the medium-sized capitals.

A panel of experts consulted by Expansión foresees an average price rise of more than 5%, and an increase in the sales volume of between 10% and 13%, which means that house sales may exceed the threshold of 600,000 units. That would make 2019 the seventh consecutive year of improvement in the residential sector after prices decreased by more than 30% during the years of the crisis.

Madrid and Barcelona, which inaugurated the recovery in 2016 and which have been leading the housing charge until now, are going to begin a process of normalisation. The experts agree that moderation will be felt in those two markets in particular. In the case of Barcelona, the political uncertainty, control measures from the Town Hall and price levels reached could lead to corrections in some districts where prices have already peaked.

This year, it will be the new capitals that will lead the growth of the market. The last quarter of 2018 already closed with three revelations: Valencia, Málaga and Tarragona led the increase in sales prices, with rises of more than 15%, according to data from Tinsa. In 2019, the experts are placing their focus on those and other cities, such as Sevilla Alicante, Palma, Bilbao, Murcia and Zaragoza. In the large capitals, price increases will exceed 10%.

The rise in sales prices versus the stagnation of wages will continue to cause demand to increase in the rental market, which will rise by around 7%, and by more than two-digits in the large cities, where price tensions are even greater. The volatility of the financial markets will continue to make rental a very attractive investment option. Nevertheless, the experts warn that the uncertainty regarding the measures approved by the Government in terms of the rental segment could put future investments at risk.

Whether the sector tends towards a plateau or rather moderate growth will depend on factors such as the evolution of the economy, policy changes by the ECB and the measures that the Government decides to introduce.

Original story: Expansión (by Inma Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Anticipa: House Prices in Madrid & Barcelona Return to their Peaks of the Real Estate Boom

11 November 2018 – El Confidencial

The (real estate) recovery is really heating up. House prices in Madrid are on the verge of returning to their peaks of 2007. What seemed impossible, is now becoming a reality. That is according to a report from Anticipa Real Estate, which forecasts two-digit increases in house prices in the Spanish capital this year and next. Specifically, it predicts that homes will become more expensive by 10.2% in 2018 and by 11.5% in 2019, rises that are twice as high as the percentages that experts consider to be sustainable.

House prices have already been growing at rates of 10% during the last two quarters, according to the Repeated Sales House Price Index, prepared in accordance with the Case & Shiller methodology from the United States applied to Spain, which analyses repeat sales of the same homes. In other words, they are rising at double-digit percentages reminiscent of those recorded at the height of the real estate boom a decade ago.

Despite that, both property developers and banks are insisting that the market is very different to the one seen more than ten years ago and they categorically rule out that we are facing a similar situation to then. On the one hand, access to financing remains very restricted for solvent clients, whilst the recovery in prices is very uneven across the country. Whilst in the cities (and in certain neighbourhoods), prices are skyrocketing, in others, prices are still decreasing.

Although on average, by the end of 2019, house prices in Spain will be 15% below the peaks recorded in 2007, according to the report from Anticipa Real Estate, there are some hot spot areas where those prices have already been exceeded. In Cataluña, another of the hot spots in the Spanish market, increases of around 9% are expected next year and that despite the delicate political situation in Cataluña, which has had a direct negative impact on the real estate market – in Barcelona -, which, until a year ago, was performing extremely well in terms of transactions and prices.

Madrid stands out from the rest of Spain, with an evolution in terms of residential prices that has caused the first alarm bells to start sounding. In certain neighbourhoods, such as Chamartín, Chamberí and Salamanca, second-hand homes now cost the same as they did ten or twelve years ago, whilst in others such as Arganzuela, Centro, Moncloa and Tetúan, prices are close to exceeding those levels. In others, where prices are still well below their peaks of the bubble, the market is rising at rates of 20%, rapidly reducing the gap with respect to 2008.

They are peripheral areas of the city towards which price rises are moving like an oil slick. And that is because prices, both to the purchase and rental markets in the centre of the city have reached such prohibitive levels that much of the demand is moving en masse to more affordable areas, resulting in significant upward pressure on prices.

According to the latest data from Tinsa, in Vicálvaro, Ciudad Lineal and Villaverde, house prices have risen by more than 20% in the last year, compared with rises of 8.5% in Chamartín and 13% in the district of Salamanca. Meanwhile, the municipalities of Barcelona, such as L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Castelldefels, Esplugues de Llobregat and Sabadell, are experiencing a similar phenonemon with increases of more than 15% (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés & Merlin Negotiate an Alliance to Create a Real Estate Giant

11 October 2018 – El Confidencial

El Corte Inglés wants to fulfil the commitments it has made to the financial ratings agencies as soon as possible. At its recent, first-ever bond issue, it promised that it will reduce its €4 billion debt by half over the next 18 months. To this end, Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, President of the distribution group, has decided to expedite the sale of some of its real estate assets, the jewel in the crown of the holding company. According to financial sources, the company is negotiating an operation with Merlin Properties, the largest listed company in the real estate sector in Spain.

The same sources have confirmed the conversations between Jesús Nuño de la Rosa and Ismael Clemente, the CEO of Merlin Properties, the real estate Socimi in which Banco Santander holds a stake and which has assets under management worth €7.7 billion as at 30 June 2018. The negotiations are very open and cover all of the property types that comprise El Corte Ingles’s portfolio, appraised by Tinsa at €17.1 billion for the most recent annual report. Sources close to Merlin declined to comment on this information, whilst official sources at El Corte Inglés indicated that “the firm has not reached a global agreement with any operator”.

According to other sources, the most recent meetings have focused primarily on the purchase and management of the logistics assets owned by the department store company, which were already offered to several agents in the sector almost two years upon the advice of Morgan Stanley. Those conversations did not prosper due to the diversity of the portfolio, which comprises shopping centres, shops and logistics docks, some of which were worth very little at the time and so distorted the value of the portfolio.

But now, having made a commitment to Standard & Poor’s, Moodys and Fitch to reduce the group’s debt, De la Rosa has set himself the priority of divesting all of the assets needed to reduce the liability by around €2 billion. Through that, it will manage to reduce the ratio of debt to operating profit or EBITDA to 2x, compared to the current figure of 4x, which would give it an investment grade rating.

That would represent a very considerable change, which would allow the entity to obtain financing in the markets at cheaper interest rates – now it has paid 3% – given that its bonds could be purchased by all types of investors and not only by those looking to speculate such as now, given that fund managers that only acquire fixed income or equities with a minimum solvency and without risk of default are prohibited from subscribing to below investment grade securities.

Merlin Properties is the entity that is holding the most advanced negotiations with El Corte Inglés, which wants to close an agreement before the end of 2018 or, before 28 February 2019, at the latest, the date that marks the end of its financial year. The current proposal involves the acquisition of some of El Corte Inglés’s real estate assets and the signing of a contract as the manager of the portfolio. The distribution group’s portfolio comprises 94 properties, most of which are in Spain, of which 87% are shopping centres.

Of the total portfolio whose valuation amounts to €17.1 billion, almost €15 billion correspond to points of sale. But the physiognomy of those centres is very heterogeneous, as shown by the fact that whilst four of them are worth €2 billion, most of the assets could be sold for between €100 million and €200 million. But almost one third of the total are what El Corte Inglés itself calls unproductive. In other words, sites where they lose money. The group has tried to convert them into outlets for large brands, but the truth is very few of them have the characteristics to be able to be transformed into places of the calibre of Las Rozas Village and Factory.

In terms of the points of sale considered unproductive, the following stand out: Leganés (Arroyosur), Jaén, Oviedo, Elche, Guadalajara, Talavera, Albacete and Eibar. In addition to these shopping centres (which make losses), the company has another seven sites breaking even, such as those in Cádiz, Castellón, Córdoba and Arroyomolinos. The value of these shopping malls, as they are known in the sector, is more doubtful, given that a sale and leaseback contract could not be signed since the revenues do not cover the debt. Moreover, given their physical structures, most of them do not have windows, their transformation into offices, the main market of Merlin Properties, or hospitals would be more difficult.

Of the €7.7 billion in assets that Merlin manages, €5.5 billion correspond to offices, €934 million to shopping centres and €403 million to commercial premises on high streets.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: House Prices Rose by 15.6% YoY in Madrid in Q3

9 October 2018 – ABC

Whilst most Spanish provincial capitals have reached what the experts define as “a turning point” with the stabilisation of house prices, Madrid is still the most dynamic city in the whole country. It is leading the house price rises once again with increases of 15.6% in Q3 with respect to the third quarter of last year. That rise in value reflects the tensions that demand for homes in the Spanish capital is exerting on certain areas. The scarce supply of new build homes is not helping to balance a panorama where the pressure on house prices is now moving towards the peripheral neighbourhoods. Some areas are recording price increases of more than 20%, well above those seen even in the traditionally most sought-after districts. All of the districts, without exception, have seen an increase in their price per square metre. Of the 21, only three saw price rises in the single-digits – Usera, Chamartín and Villa de Vallecas-. In this context, the average price in the Spanish capital now amounts to €2,876/m2.

That is according to the latest local market report on finished housing – new and second hand – published by the appraisal company Tinsa at the end of the third quarter. In it, Madrid ranks as the third most expensive provincial capital to buy a home after Barcelona (€3,383/m2) and San Sebastián (€3,151/m2), both with more discrete YoY growth rates. Despite the warning that the consecutive increases generate, a priori, the capital is still a long way from the maximums that it reached in the third quarter of 2007 (27.6% lower), which marked the start of the crisis. The real estate situation has changed little since the middle of the year, although the trends that some experts, such as Pedro Soria, Commercial Director at Tinsa, were indicating in June have been confirmed: high prices in the city centre are pushing buyers to focus outside of the M-30.

The furore to purchase properties is still defined by a striking fact: it only takes 2.6 months to sell a property in Madrid at the moment. That period is still the lowest in Spain, even though it increased by one tenth with respect to the second quarter. Even with property developer activity below what the sector considers healthy for the real estate sector, demand for second-hand products is extremely high. And it is not exactly a favourable scenario for buyers. One piece of evidence that a major problem is starting to emerge in terms of access to housing in the capital is in the financial effort that families are having to make to live in Madrid. This has exceeded what is considered to be the “sustainable” limit. Those that have purchased a home in the last quarter are having to spend 26.1% of their gross household income (before taxes and other deductions) to service the first year of their mortgages. The national average stands at 17.2%. The experts consider that the red line, which has always recommended spending no more than one quarter of a household’s income on the mortgage, is now being passed. In districts such as Arganzuela, which has become one of the most attractive areas of the capital, household’s financial efforts now amount to 27.6% and the figure reaches 41.5% in the case of Salamanca neighbourhood. Once again, house prices in that area are the most expensive in Spain, at €4,762/m2. Chamberi is ranked in third place, after the Barcelona neighbourhood of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, with €4,521/m2 (…).

The most expensive municipalities

The municipalities that generate the most interest include Pozuelo de Alarcón, which registers the highest price of €3,017/m2, followed by Alcobendas, at €2,847/m2 and Majadahonda, at €2,537/m2. By contrast, the municipalities of Arroyomolinos and Aranjuez registered the lowest prices: €1,337/m2 and €1,446/m2, respectively, of those analysed by the appraisal company (…).

Original story: ABC (by Adrián Delgado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: Madrid, Pamplona & Alicante Led Spain’s House Price Rises in Q3

1 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Madrid, Pamplona and Alicante. Those three cities led the ranking in house price rises in Spain during the third quarter of 2018. The Spanish capital topped the podium with price rises in the residential market of 15.6%, although six other large cities in the country also recorded double-digit increases, according to data from the IMIE report compiled by Tinsa.

Along with the Spanish capital, Pamplona and  Alicante saw their house prices soar between June and September, with increases of 14.2% and 13.2%, respectively. Moreover, Palma (de Mallorca) continued to be one of the most expensive markets, after recording a price rise of 12.8% during the period. Meanwhile, in Málaga, house prices rose by 12.5%, Valencia recorded an increase of 12% and Murcia saw a rise of 11.1%.

The report reflects the boom in the provincial capitals, which were key drivers behind the 4.9% increase in new and second-hand house prices in Spain during the third quarter, to €1,317/m2.

With this new increase, house prices in Spain have been rising since the third quarter of 2016. Nevertheless, sources at Tinsa recall that “although the normalisation of the residential market is a general trend, there are still significant differences by region.

By autonomous region, Madrid is the region where house prices rose by the most in the last 12 months, with a rise of 13% in Q3. It was followed by La Rioja, with an increase of 11.8%; the Balearic Islands, with a rise of 9.9%; and Navarra, with growth of 8.7%.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Values its Real Estate Assets at €17.1bn

25 September 2018 – Expansión

The properties owned by El Corte Inglés are worth €17.147 billion, according to the most recent valuation entrusted by the company to Tinsa for the end of its financial year, February 2018. That is the valuation that the company shared with investors interested in the placement of €600 million of its bonds.

This real estate portfolio, which according to previous reports was worth almost €17.0 billion, comprises 94 shopping centres, of which two are located in Portugal. These shopping centres account for 87% of the total value of the company’s assets. El Corte Inglés warns investors that this valuation may have to be adjusted in the future, given the illiquid nature of its real estate assets.

Tinsa’s study segments the distribution company’s shopping centres by value. Two of them are worth more than €500 million each, and another two are worth between €400 million and €500 million. The bulk of the centres, 45 to be precise, have a valuation of between €100 million and €200 million. Six of the centres are worth between €300 million and €400 million.

32% of the value of the real estate assets of El Corte Inglés are located in Madrid, whilst 10% are located in Barcelona. Málaga and Valencia are home to 6% each; Sevilla another 4%; and the other Spanish regions, the remaining 42%.

The bulk of the valuation of El Corte Inglés’s real estate portfolio, €14.964 million, corresponds to its stores and shopping centres

The company highlights that it owns the largest portfolio of real estate assets of any of the companies in its sector in Europe. The total surface area of its real estate assets spans 3,994 million m2.

This independent valuation entrusted to Tinsa does not include the real estate operations carried out by El Corte Inglés since February of this year. In August, the company sold two shopping centres located in Madrid (Princesa) and Bilbao (Gran Vía) to Corpfin Capital Real Estate for around €100 million.

Quarterly results

The results of El Corte Inglés remained practically stable YoY during the first quarter of its financial year, which finished at the end of May. According to the unaudited provisional accounts, the company lost €50 million during that quarter, compared with losses of €51 million during the same period in 2017.

The company’s sales grew slightly, with net revenues of €3.417 billion, just above the €3.413 billion recorded during its first quarter last year.

According to the unaudited provisional data at the end of July 2018, corresponding to the first five months of the financial year, sales fell by 0.1% YoY and EBITDA decreased by 0.6%.

This result is explained by a decrease in revenues in the retail and technological departments, which were partially offset by an increase in sales in its travel agency and insurance departments.

El Corte Inglés explains to investors interested in its bonds that sales of clothing were hit during that period due the unusual climate this year (…).

Original story: Expansión (by A. Roa & D. Badia)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibiza’s Real Estate Market is a “World of its Own”

11 July 2018 – Diario de Ibiza

The real estate market in Ibiza is not encouraging (for the majority): the available stock of homes “is residual”, the majority of homes bought there are rented out, the peak prices reached in 2017 have been exceeded…and all of this is being compounded by a distinct shortage of land. All in all, it is a troubling scenario for those wishing to live on the island all year round.

Tinsa’s Regional Director for the East and South of Spain, José Antonio López, warned on Wednesday that the lack of land, combined with the demand for housing “is generating a dangerous melting pot” in the Balearic Islands. As such, he is asking the administration to get involved to facilitate the availability of land for property developers.

Those were the words used by López in response to a question from participants at a Proinba-Tinsa real estate meeting held in Palma on Wednesday, where the situation of the residential real estate market was discussed, in particular, the market on the coast.

López warned that this situation may “lead to serious problems” on the islands, where “young people need primary residences” and they “need options”. “For this reason, land is required, and the administration needs to get involved”, said Tinsa’s Regional Director, before adding that the supply of urban land with building permission is “almost non-existent”.

What’s more, “the supply is going to decrease” and with the “surplus demand”, we are seeing “dangerous growth that cannot be met”. In this context, “rental is not an option because those circumstances are also being taken advantage of”. In fact, according to data from Tinsa, in areas such as Ibiza (town), many people are buying to let (…).

Based on data from Tinsa, the average monthly mortgage payment on the Balearic Islands is very high, €792, well above the average for Spain as a whole, €543/month. The financial effort being made by families on the islands is also greater, given that they spent 22% of their household income on mortgages during the first year, compared with the national average of 16.8%.

Ibiza and Formentera set a new record

Of the 12 coastal municipalities analysed on the Balearic Islands, Sóller leads the increase in prices over the last year, with price rises of 21%. Ibiza and Formentera towns came in close behind, with 17.8%, followed by Santa Margalida (17.7%), Palma (14.7%) and Llucmajor (13.8%).

Palma is one of the top five most expensive capitals in Spain, with an average price of €1,951/m2, and in the last year, its growing trend has exceeded the average for the autonomous region.

By contrast, the municipalities that have grown by the least are Sant Lluís and Mahón (3.7%), Ciutadella (4.5%) and Manacor (7.1%) (…).

Ibiza is “recovering too quickly”

According to data from Tinsa, the real estate sector on the coast in Mallorca is “clearly recovering”, whilst in Menorca, there are “signs of recovery” and in the case of Ibiza, there may even be an “excessive recovery”, in López’s opinion.

Prices have been “rising rapidly” on the white island, on a consistent basis for the last few years, and the YoY variation is well above the average. In fact, current prices have already exceeded the maximums seen in 2007.

On the basis of all of these indicators, the Regional Director at Tinsa said that Ibiza’s real estate market could be considered “a world of its own, set apart from other islands and provinces” (…).

Original story: Diario de Ibiza (by E.P.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Land Oligopoly: 10 Cities Account for 55% of the Developments Underway in Spain

31 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The data is conclusive: ten cities account for 55% of the residential developments underway in Spain. They constitute a municipal land oligopoly, which is now showing signs of tension on the demand side given the lack of buildable land available for development and the delays by the public administrations when it comes to approving building permits. “The concentration of the population in the major cities is a phenomenon that is going to increase over the next few years”, predicts Sergio Gálvez, Director of Strategy and Investment at the property developer Aedas Homes in the context of the Madrid Real Estate Fair (SIMA) conference on land and its strategic market.

The executive of the listed Spanish company also explained that the delays in the granting of licences in certain cities are lasting for up to ten months. Gálvez regrets that “any delay suffered in the production chain clearly results in a higher sales price for the end client”.

The Director of Aedas, who believes that “the public administrations still have a long way to go in terms of the agility of the licence-granting process”, was accompanied at the roundtable by Ignacio Ocejo, Partner at Kronos Homes. The director of the Spanish property developer turned the spotlight onto financing: “the situation in the financial world has changed drastically with the new cycle; in the past, the supply could have been four times larger”.

Nevertheless, Ocejo was favourable of the fact that land financing is now “much more controlled” because capital can still be obtained under reasonable conditions. “I do not think that it is a problem, the banks themselves are being proactive when it comes to financing; the problem is more that there are fewer entities”, said the Director of Kronos.

Meanwhile, the Commercial Director of the appraisal firm Tinsa, Pedro Soria, seemed more concerned than his roundtable colleagues about land and its overheating (…) “In some places, we are already seeing price caps on land”, says Soria, “the only option left if we want to achieve the desired returns is to raise house prices”. In the event that land prices continue to rise, the Tinsa executive sees a “risk”, nevertheless, the market could be more profitable on the land investment side than when it comes to house building itself.

Spain is seeing an improvement in its new home permits once again, but the figures are still well below the more than 800,000 permits granted in the most active years of the boom in the 2000s. In this regard, Ocejo explains that “in a scenario of stability and compared with the previous cycle”, an increase in new builds at a rate of between 25% and 30% would be “positive”. “A healthy market for me would see the construction of between 130,000 and 160,000 new homes each year in Spain”, added the Partner of Kronos Homes.

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake