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The Spanish Real Estate Market in March 2022

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In March 2022, the real estate sector witnessed a multitude of operations, whereby continuing the trend seen during the last few months of 2021. The deals involved the direct purchase of various assets, reflecting ongoing investor appetite for Spanish Real Estate, as well as several corporate transactions.

The month was also marked by the most direct consequences on the Spanish economy of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has caused the paralysis of many new construction projects. We also saw reaction from the Government, which has implemented some preliminary measures, including a temporary limit on rental price rises.

Residential

In the Spanish residential real estate sector, it was revealed in March that the rise in energy prices and the ongoing supply chain problems are forcing developers to consider suspending their building projects and/or transferring their rising costs onto end customers.

The situation comes at a time when the sale of homes, especially new build dwellings, has been growing significantly, specifically by 31% in January. According to forecasts compiled by CBRE, 580,000 homes will be bought and sold in 2022.

In terms of operations in the residential sector, two stand out: the purchase of 245 homes by Allianz, which paid Blackstone 185 million euros; and the acquisition by Primevest of two build-to-rent (BTR) residential projects in Valencia.

Also in March, the Constitutional Court annulled part of the Housing Law in Cataluña.

Companies

The main corporate news of the month was the launch of a takeover bid by the Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim for Metrovacesa. Through FCC Inmobiliaria, Slim has launched a purchase offer for 24% of the capital of the residential property developer, in which he already holds a 5% stake; if successful, Slim would become the second-largest shareholder of the real estate company, surpassed only by Santander. He has offered to pay a 20% premium on the share price, although that figure falls well below the net value of the assets.

There were also movements in another large listed real estate company: Neinor Homes, where Juan Pepa and Felipe Morenés increased their shareholding to 22.66%. Both executives participated in the creation of the residential company as key players at the fund LoneStar in Spain.

Following the publication of the results of most listed real estate companies in February, this month it was the turn of the other large companies in the sector: such was the case of
Sareb; of Vía Célere, which earned 62 million euros last year after delivering a record with 1,938 units; as well as of Habitat and Premier España.

It was also announced that the shareholders of the real estate company Quasar, Banco Santander and Blackstone, have started a process to refinance the real estate company created from the damaged assets of the former Banco Popular.

In terms of the Socimis, in March, Brainsre.news revealed that the Spanish Stock Exchange is preparing to welcome 17 new real estate investment vehicles in 2022. Also, VBare announced the beginning of a new investment stage, after it closed 2021 with record occupancy levels.

Logistics

In March, we learned about the progress of the most important logistics project in the pipeline in the Spanish real estate sector, specifically at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas airport. Its manager, Aena, has now selected five candidates as future partners for this macro-development involving a buildable surface area of more than two million square meters.

There was also news relating to one of the major operations closed in 2021. After acquiring a logistics portfolio valued at more than 1 billion euros, Bankinter is now transforming the
company into a Socimi and is preparing for its IPO.

In terms of transactions, the purchase of five logistics assets by Mirastar stands out, whereby enabling that company to expand its presence in Spain.

Hotels

The major operation of the month in this segment was the purchase by Brookfield Asset Management of the Hotel Palladium Costa del Sol in Benalmádena, in Málaga, from the British fund Benson Elliot. The transaction, involving an asset with 336 rooms, was closed for 50 million euros.

In addition, JPI Hospitality bought the Hotel Tres Playas de Mallorca, a complex spanning 8,000 square meters across 137 rooms, in Colònia de Sant Jordi, in the south of the island, on the seafront.

Offices

The star transaction in the office market during the month of March was the purchase by the Australian group Macquarie of an office building in Barcelona. In a transaction reported
exclusively by Brainsre.news, Macquarie made his first direct investment in the Spanish real estate sector by paying Starwood around 60 million euros for a building in the 22@ district.

Also in Barcelona, ​​at the end of March, we learned that Freo has put its office complex in the city up for sale; the firm hopes to obtain 250 million euros for the property. Meanwhile, in Madrid, two consultants are sounding out the market on behalf of El Corte Inglés to find a possible buyer for Torre Titania.

Also, Loom’s founders are suing Merlin Properties for breach of a non-compete clause as well as for alleged manipulation of the company’s valuation. The siblings Paula and José Manuel Almansa are claiming damages of 170 million euros from the Ibex-35 listed Socimi.

Retail

The South African fund Lighthouse acquired the Torrecárdenas shopping center for 172 million from the Sevillian property developer Bogaris. The asset has a gross leasable area of 61,589 square meters, of which 20,000 m2 correspond to the retail park and 40,000 m2 to the shopping arcade.

Also, in the shopping centre segment, some Brazilian investors bought the Ribera del Xúquer retail complex from CBRE IM for 45 million euros. That asset has a GLA of 81,000 square meters.

The Corpfin Socimis divested one of their prime assets, the commercial premises located on Calle Velázquez 68 in Madrid. The properties are leased to CaixaBank and a restaurant and were sold for 5 million euros.

In terms of new openings, Ten Brinke inaugurated its new commercial venture in Mirasierra, Madrid. It is a mixed space combining healthcare and retail in a gross leasable area spanning 9,500 square meters.

Land

In the Spanish real estate sector, there were several important operations in March in terms of land. In this way, for example, the residential developer Culmia bought 16 residential plots in Pozuelo, while Panattoni and Kajima acquired land for a new logistics project in Guadalajara.

Meanwhile, Madrid City Council announced that it is going to delay its big land auction whilst it adapts the conditions to new market prices. The purchase of land for the Madrid Nuevo Norte project has also been postponed until the end of the year.

NPLs and REOs

This month, Sareb published its results for 2021. The ‘bad bank’ generated revenues of 2.2 billion euros, up by 54% compared to 2020 and close to the amount recorded in 2019. In addition, it cancelled debt guaranteed by the State amounting to more than 1.25 billion euros, leaving an outstanding balance of 33.66 billion euros.

Finally, Intrum entrusted Aliseda with the management of the Cierzo portfolio, valued at 100 million euros. This is the first portfolio that the servicer is going to manage beyond its responsibilities for assets owned by Blackstone and Banco Santander. 

Read the original article in Spanish.

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