17 May 2018 – Expansión
The real estate market in Spain is striding towards a new investment record. That is according to the partner responsible for this area at the consultancy firm PwC, Rafael Bou, speaking yesterday at the presentation of a report about trends in the real estate market in Europe – he highlighted that the best international scenario favours the arrival of new projects.
Bou affirmed that there is “widespread optimism” amongst the main players in the sector. “Even 2017, with Brexit and Trump, was a year of record investment, and so 2018 ought to be even better, given that we do not have any of that”, he said. In this sense, he also indicated that there is greater political stability in Europe following the elections in France and Germany,
Another factor that will favour the achievement of this investment record is that the European Central Bank (ECB) is going to maintain interest rates low. Bou confirmed that the uncertainty hanging over the sector is not knowing when the current expansive cycle will end; he put a date on the horizon. “Next year, the uncertainty in this regard may increase with the appointment of a new Chairman of the ECB”.
Madrid, the fifth most attractive city
PwC’s survey, compiled in collaboration with the Urban Land Institute, places Madrid as the fifth-ranked European city for conducting real estate business. If we look at the small print, the Spanish capital is ranked in sixth place in terms of the development of projects and in fifth place for the capture of investment.
The research confirms that significant growth is expected in the capital’s office rentals. “Compared to other European capitals to the north, the growth in rental prices has been restricted by the setback that the Spanish economy suffered following the global financial crisis”, he said. PwC highlights the evolution of the retail and hotel sectors, and the repositioning of offices. Madrid has risen four places in the ranking with respect to last year.
Barcelona, which has risen by five places, is now ranked in eleventh place overall. The Catalan city was ranked in thirteenth place in terms of investment and in ninth place for the development of real estate projects.
The report indicates that Barcelona is one of the cities that could most benefit as a result of Brexit, although it warns of the dangers of secessionism. The analysis highlights that the retail, office and residential sectors are currently at a critical point. So too is logistics. “Boosted by demand from e-commerce companies, investors and property developers are buying logistics warehouses and developing new spaces in Barcelona in a speculative way, for the first time since the global economic crisis”, according to the report. “Some people are now talking about a price bubble in the logistics sector in light of the boom that it is experiencing”, added Bou.
The 800 surveys that have been used to compile the study were conducted prior to 1 October 2017, and so they do not reflect the impact on the real estate sector of the political crisis resulting from the Cataluña-independence process. “Having overcome the initial shock, investment has been recovering gradually”, explained Bou. Most overseas investors have returned. “Some people have decided not to invest, but others saw an opportunity in terms of prices and competition and came back quickly”, he said.
Would Barcelona and Madrid have occupied similar positions in the ranking if the surveys had been carried out after 1-O (1 October 2017)? Bou highlighted that Madrid is always ranked higher than the Catalan capital because it is a larger city.
Original story: Expansión (by Gabriel Trindade)
Translation: Carmel Drake