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The State of the Spanish Real Estate Market in December

At the end of the financial year, the usual frenetic activity level in the Spanish real rstate market resulted in some major transactions, especially in the logistics and hotel sectors, and some interesting forecasts for 2022.

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2021 ended with a slew of reports in the real estate sector, mainly transactions, as a few large transactions in the hotel and logistics sectors were wrapped up.

Also in December 2021, internal problems appeared at Merlin Properties, with an attempted change of chief executive, as other large companies made changes to their C-suite roles.

Companies

Last year’s second to last week began with the news of the possible dismissal of Ismael Clemente as CEO of the socimi Merlin Properties. Differences with the main shareholder, Banco Santander, led to an extraordinary board meeting on December 20 to decide whether the CEO of the large Spanish socimi should be removed. The news had a major impact on Merlin’s share price, falling 6% on the day. In the end, no dismissal took place, although the socimi still seems to be troubled.

There was a change of executive at AQ Acentor, which announced the departure of its CEO Sven Schoel at the end of November. In 2021, the company delivered 900 homes, and it now has a portfolio of more than 6,000 new homes.

There were also new developments at Vivia and Newdock. The residential rental management company of the joint venture between Grupo Lar and Primonial appointed Majda Labied as CEO. Before then, she had been the CEO of the Kronos Group. Newdock, the logistics division of Godman Sachs, also appointed Fátima Sáez del Cano as its CEO in Spain.

Ten years after entering into insolvency proceedings, Nozar obtained approvals for its restructuring plan. Nozar’s agreement includes the repayment of 286.3 million euros of outstanding debt. The deal by the real estate company states that ordinary creditors whose debt is less than 25,000 euros will be paid in full within the first year.

Meanwhile, Realia continued to increase its stake in Hermanos Revilla. In contrast, Urbas continued its accelerated pace of acquisitions, finalising its purchase of the developer Al Andalus Real Estate, with 620 build-to-rent homes, in the last days of the year.

Residential

December provided an opportunity to take stock of the major developers’ housing deliveries. According to a ranking compiled by Brainsre.news, with data from its real estate big data platform and the companies themselves, the country’s 15 largest real estate companies will have completed 18,000 homes in 2021.

Also this month, in the residential real estate sector, we gleaned more data regarding the evolution of housing prices and transactions. According to the National Statistics Institute, house prices rose by 4.2% in the third quarter, the highest increase since 2019. The Association of Registrars stated that sales were up 24.3% at the end of October compared to the same month last year.

Major sales of land also continued apace. For example, Habitat strengthened its presence in Valencia, Ten Brinke did so in Madrid, while Culmia, which normally focuses on the capital, boosted its operations in Valencia.

Stay, the joint venture by Kronos and Nuveen, announced that they would develop 1,500 build-to-rent (BTR) homes in Madrid in a €170-million investment. Additionally, Lazora acquired 439 BTR homes from ASG Homes.

Brainsre.news exclusively reported that Axa is negotiating the potential acquisition of 700 homes from Testa with Blackstone. The US fund is selling the entire portfolio of its socimi Euripo.

Offices

On the first day of December, Silicius and its partners sold their office building Recoletos 23 in Madrid. The Mazabi Group’s socimi wrapped up the sale of a property with more than 2,000 m2 of leasable area, which it had placed on the market for around 12 million euros.

Ardian bought an office complex in Méndez Álvaro for 50 million euros in the middle of the month. The asset, located at Calle Retama 3 in Madrid, was owned by BNP Paribas.

In addition, IBA Capital and Naropa acquired an office building in the Spanish capital. The property, located on Calle Hernán Cortés, has 2,600 m2 of leasable space and 11 parking spaces.

Hines also finalised its acquisition of one of Barcelona’s most iconic office buildings, the Sabadell Tower, for around 90 million euros. The asset, located on Avenida Diagonal, has 11,823 m2 of aboveground surface area, is 83m high and has 24 floors.

At the end of the month, BNP Paribas Reim bought an office building in Barcelona’s 22@ district. Specifically, the asset manager paid €50 million for the more than 7,200 m2 complex previously owned by UK&European Investments.

Marathon also sold the headquarters of Pepe Jeans in Madrid. The complex, located at Avenida de la Institución Libre de Enseñanza 43, consists of two buildings and has a surface area of around 8,800 m2, 310 parking spaces and two storefronts.

Logistics

One of the major operations of the month was the sale of El Corte Inglés’s logistics platform in La Bisbal del Penedès to Panattoni. The land covers an area of 230,000 square metres.

Another of the month’s transactions was the sale of part of Logicor’s portfolio. EQT Exeter paid €280 million for four logistics assets; leased to C&A, Cortefiel, Primark and Leroy Merlin.

Aberdeen invested €227 million in acquiring a logistics platform from Davidson Kempner and Palm Capital. The assets are leased to Amazon, accounting for more than 40% of revenues.

The first transaction announced in the last month of the year was the acquisition of the Condis logistics centre in Montcada i Reixac for 65 million euros by Crossbay. Condis will remain as the tenant after the sale & leaseback transaction.

Mountpark announced a new project in Madrid, Mountpark Illescas IV, its fourth logistics project in the area. For this, it bought 90,000 m2 of land, on which it will develop a 45,000 m2 warehouse.

Goodman, Merlin, JLL and Bañuelos finalised their bids for the former land of the Nissan factory in Barcelona, which had shut down.

Morgan Stanley and Zanda Reim finalised a joint venture to invest in logistics assets in Spain. They also completed their first transaction: a plot of land in Azuqueca de Henares for developing a 30,000 m2 warehouse.

Hines announced its acquisition of two plots of land to build two industrial warehouses, including a turnkey project for Acciona Inmobiliaria. The land is in Atayuela, Madrid, 20 km from the airport and 12 km from the capital’s centre.

The British fund Roebuck Asset Management and the Bahreini investment bank GFH Financial Group completed their third acquisition, a last-mile warehouse leased to Amazon. They paid €25 million for an asset built on a 42,000 m2 plot of land.

In Europe, Elite Partners Capital and Macquarie Capital completed the sale of twelve logistics assets for 520 million euros, some located in Spain, to Blackstone.

Retail

At the beginning of December, Merlin Properties sold its portfolio of bank branches leased to BBVA for €2 billion. These assets, 693 in total, had brought the socimi an annual income of approximately 85 million euros.

In addition, KKH Property Investors bought the former Club Capitol in Barcelona. The premises, located at Las Ramblas 138, could be refurbished and become the flagship property of a large firm.

A few weeks later, Merlin finalised the sale of its Caprabo supermarket portfolio to Realty Income. The US company paid 110 million euros for some 30 properties.

Hotels

As in recent months, December saw a series of sales of hotel assets. Swiss Life, for example, acquired the Axel Hotel in Barcelona, while Mazabi also took over the Cap Roig Nature hotel, looking to reposition it. Starwood paid 100 million euros for the Las Dalias hotel in Tenerife. Finally, the Sixth Street investment fund acquired a portfolio of five hotels on the Spanish coast together with Pierre & Vacances.

Other investors in Spain included Brookfield and Experimental Group, which entered into a joint venture to invest in hotels in the country.

Robert de Niro and his partners are opening their fourth hotel in Spain with Millenium. At the same time, the luxury chain Mandarin is the best-positioned player vying to operate the five-star hotel in KKH’s project in the former Altadis factory in Seville. If negotiations are successful, it would be the third Mandarin hotel in Spain, after sites in Madrid and Barcelona.

NPL’s

The stock of non-performing loans (NPLs) in Spain rose to €83.1bn in the second quarter of this year, the highest figure since 2019, according to Prime Yield’s latest report.

According to Axis Corporate, Spain has the third-highest level of non-performing real estate loans in Europe, behind just France and Italy.

The Intrum group hired Antonio Fernández García-Fraile, offering participation as a co-investor, from Altamira to boost its advisory business.

Proptech

The company Clikalia finalised Spain’s largest-ever financing round, bringing in 460 million euros.

Student and Senior Citizens’ Residences

Azora, through its socimi Adriano Care, announced a new development in Madrid, a 162-bed senior citizens’ residence, in which it will invest €13.5 million. The asset will be managed, along with four others, by Colisée. Culmia also entered the geriatric healthcare sector, building an 8,700 square metre residence.

Round Hill acquired a 250-bed student residence in Valencia for 23 million euros. The joint venture by TPG and Urbania will develop a home in Madrid, next to the Autonomous University. Finally, the University of Barcelona opted to place a 225-bed asset up for auction.

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