In 2015 Spanish commercial property investment reached a historic high

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Investment in Spanish commercial property had been growing continuously since 2013 and in 2015 reached a historic peak.

According to CBRE, total investment volume ran at €13 billion, which is 25% higher as compared with 2014 and about 28% higher as compared with the pre-crisis 2007.

The investment growth is due to the recovery of the Spanish market and, consequently, the price growth potential, as well as low interest rates.

According to Knight Frank, foreign investment accounted for 53% of all investment. The essential percentage of foreign capital (28% of all the investments) proceeds from the European countries followed by North America (12 %), Asia (11 %) and South America (2 %).

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Among the different types of investors Spanish real estate foundations (Sociedades Anónimas Cotizadas de Inversión Inmobiliaria, SOCIMI) prevail. They made 55% of the investments.

Office space

Office space is the most popular property type, accounting for 43% of the investments, over €5 billion, which is close to the 2007 record.

The main office space markets are Barcelona and Madrid. In 2015, the highest demand in nine years was observed in both cities. However, the vacancy rates remain high yet: in Madrid 15.9% of offices are vacant, in Barcelona — 14 %. With the capital’s office space investors not only the rental business but also the development and redevelopment projects are popular.

According to Savills, in Q1 2016 the office space market has slowed, and the segment has attracted €385 million of investment (excluding major transactions), which is 50% less as compared with the same period of 2015.

Retail property

In 2015, according to CBRE, the Spanish retail property segment received €3.6 billion of investments with €2.65 billion accounting for shopping malls and complexes, an all-time high volume. In 2014, about €2.4 billion was invested, in 2008–2013 — not more than €1 billion annually.

The growth of investment in the retail property segment is reinforced by an improvement in economic performance. In 2015 the private sector expenses grew by 3.6%, the unemployment rate shrank from 24% to 22%, the consumer confidence index increased, as well as well as the number of tourists.

According to the forecasts, in 2016 the investments in shopping malls and complexes will decline but still achieve a significant amount of€1.5 billion. Q1 2016 has already demonstrated that the year will be fruitful: according to the data from Savills, between January and March slightly more than €500M was invested in Spanish shopping malls. The street retail market, where private investors and family companies prevail, will also continue to be active. The largest retail markets are Madrid and Barcelona.

Warehouses

Investments in Spanish warehousing property in 2015 ran at €740M, which is also a historic record. This segment is expected to receive approximately the same volume of investment in 2016, largely thanks to the growth in online retailing.

The demand for storage facilities in Madrid and Barcelona exceeds the supply, and the number of vacant properties is shrinking. Therefore, an increase in rental demand in the vicinity of these cities, for instance, in the provinces of Guadalajara, Tarragona and Girona can be expected.

Hotels

In 2015, the hotel segment attracted €2.3 billion of investments. This is a record figure, exceeding more than twice the 2014 level. The previous peak took place in the pre-crisis 2006 when €1.6 billion was invested in hotels. Currently, Spain comes third in Europe in terms of the volume invested in the hotel segment (after the UK and Germany). The Spanish hotel market is expected to be just as active thanks to the tourism market growth.

68 million visitors came to Spain in 2015, which is 5% more than in 2014. In 2016, the total number of travellers can reach 93 million. The amount of tourists grows largely thanks to the political turmoil in the countries of the Mediterranean and Northern Africa.

The hottest hotel property markets are the Canary Islands, Madrid, the Balearic Islands and Barcelona.

Forecast

2016 is not expected to repeat the 2015 record. According to the expert estimates, the volume of investment in Spanish commercial property is going to run at €8.5– 9.5 billion. Investors will be less active due to both external (the influence of the growing dollar on the developing markets, geopolitical tension) and internal reasons (the unstable political situation in Spain because of the elections in the country).

Another factor that may slow down the investor activity is the lack of quality offers in the office space and retail market segments, the most popular ones with the commercial property buyers. For this reason, the interest in the Added Value projects, especially in the office space and residential property segments, can increase. The land for construction and speculative investment on the growing markets will also be in higher demand.

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