Global Geopolitics Fuels Demand for Luxury Homes in Madrid

12 May 2019 – El Confidencial

Wealthy investors and families from China, Russia, Venezuela and Mexico are particularly active in the luxury home segment in Madrid, in particular in the districts of Salamanca, Chamberí, Retiro and Moncloa-Aravaca.

According to the College of Property Registrars, foreigners accounted for 6.7% of all residential purchases over €500,000 in the Community of Madrid in 2017, a figure that rose to 8.4% in 2018.

There are several pull-factors motivating these buyers including tax exemptions, golden visas (thanks to Law 14/2013), (relative) legal certainty, low rates of crime and affordable prices, compared to Miami and other European capitals. The language, climate and excellent transport infrastructure also play their role, as do the world-class universities and business schools in the Spanish capital.

A number of push-factors are also evident, which is where the geopolitical developments come into play. The political and economic crisis in Venezuela, the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the President of Mexico in December, the political uncertainty in Cataluña and even the on-going Brexit saga, are all important reasons for wealthy buyers to turn their backs on their home countries in favour of Madrid when it comes to buying a property.

To date, since they were introduced in 2014, 2,948 golden visas have been granted for the purchase of luxury homes, with half going to Chinese citizens (1,476) and a fifth going to Russians (621).

Moreover, according to official statistics from Spain’s National Institute for Statistics, the number of Mexican residents in Spain has risen from just over 20,000 in 2014 to more than 25,200 by the end of 2018, of whom one third live in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the number of Venezuelan residents has increased from just over 32,000 five years ago to 57,120 in 2018. Nevertheless, in both cases, the real number of arrivals is higher since many move to Spain through family links making them entitled to Spanish passports.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos García)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

The Owners of Sambil Outlet Enter Spain’s Luxury Residential Market

4 April 2018 – Expansión

Having arrived in Spain in December 2012, the Venezuelan group Sambil, controlled by the Cohen family, has just launched its second project in the country. Whilst in the case of the first, its activity involved the purchase and subsequent transformation of the M-40 shopping centre – located in the Madrilenian town of Leganés and closed after it filed for bankruptcy – into the largest shopping outlet in Spain, it is now placing its focus on the luxury residential market.

Sambil has purchased a building located on Calle Ramón de la Cruz, in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood of the Spanish capital. After investing €11.5 million on that acquisition, the Venezuelan group has just launched its plans to create 14 luxury homes, with between two and four bedrooms.

“A year and a half ago, we purchased this small building, as a taster, to gain knowledge about the market. There we are going to build 14 luxury apartments, with a total investment of €24 million”, explains Alfredo Cohen, Director General of the Sambil group.

For its design, the company has engaged the architect Carlos Calero and the interior designer Ricardo de la Torre, whilst the marketing will be led by The Corner Group. “We expect the construction work to begin in May and to be completed two years later”, say sources at the company. The work will include the comprehensive renovation of the building, preserving the protected features such as the façade and the stairway. “We will undertake the construction work ourselves, given that we are builders”, said Cohen.

The homes will have a minimum surface area of 160 m2 and will span up to almost 300 m2 for the largest properties; they will cost between €1.5 million and more than €3 million for the penthouse. “There are going to be 14 super-luxury homes with common terrace areas with a jacuzzi, gym, sauna and robotic parking, amongst other services”.

A real estate giant

Founded 40 years ago by Salomon Cohen Levy and led today by his children, Sambil is one of the largest owners of shopping centres in South America. Most of its establishments are located in Venezuela, where the company is still working despite the problems in the country (…). Outside of Venezuela, the company, which has also developed hotels and other real estate complexes, has projects in Puerto Rico and on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

In addition to the project in the Salamanca neighbourhood, Sambil is working on new opportunities in the Spanish market, both in the commercial and residential segments. “As a construction company we look at everything, but what we would most like to do is to build more Sambil centres”, said Cohen.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake