4 May 2017 – Real Estate Press

The British real estate fund Benson Elliot and the joint venture created by Walton Street and Highgate, have completed the purchase of the Hotel Silken Diagonal, located in the 22@ district of Barcelona, which will be managed by Highgate.

The establishment, which is located on the Barcelonan avenue in the 22@ district, has 240 rooms spread over nine floors and will now be renamed the Gates Hotel Diagonal Mar Barcelona.

Benson Elliot reached an agreement with the owner, a group of investors led by Oak Hill Advisors, at the end of last year. Nevertheless, it has only just formalised the operation, with the participation of the other two investor partners.

The new owners have decided not to disclose the amount of the operation, but, according to real estate sources, the figure amounts to around €80 million.

It is the second operation that Benson Elliot and Walton Street have completed after they acquired a portfolio of eight hotels worth €420 million in October 2015. Moreover, three years ago, the British fund purchased a plot of land on which to build offices, which it sold to Colonial last year for €45 million. In addition, it sold an office building located in Poblenou to a fund managed by UBS for €80 million.

Benson Elliot was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in London. It specialises in real estate investments and currently has €1,500 million in assets under management.

Original story: Real Estate Press


5 May 2017 – Real Estate Press

The Armando Álvarez group has acquired the iconic Hotel Innside Madrid Génova to form part of its Sardinero Hoteles hotel chain. JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group has advised the seller on the transaction.

This four-star hotel has 65 rooms, four of which are suites, as well as a breakfast area, a cocktail lounge, 2 meeting rooms, a gym and two magnificent terraces, all spread over a total surface area of 3,700 m2.

In its new phase, the Hotel Innside Madrid Génova will be operated by the buyer group itself, which has prior experience in hotel management. This is a strategic asset for the Armando Álvarez group, which sees the arrival of the Sardinero Hoteles brand to the Spanish capital, as well as due to the intrinsic real estate value of the building.

Inaugurated in 2013, following a refurbishment that involved the change of use of the property from residential to hotel, it offers a perfect balance between historical features and modern facilities. Moreover, it has an excellent location, next to one of the most exclusive areas of Madrid, in Plaza de Alonso Martínez, close to the main shopping areas (Calles Serrano/Fuencarral), businesses district (Plaza de Colón/Paseo de la Castellana) and cultural and leisure  offerings (Chueca/Malasaña/Alonso Martínez).

The price paid per room, which exceeds €400,000, sets a new precedent for four-star hotels in Madrid.

According to Luis Arsuaga, Director at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, “this operation is an example of the strong investment appeal that Madrid in terms of hotels. In 2016, investment volume in the hotel segment amounted to €2,155 million across the country, the second-best level in the last decade, of which almost 28% corresponded to properties in the Spanish capital. All indications are that the trend will continue this year and that the interest in Spain and in Madrid, in particular, still has a long way to go, and will continue increasing”.

Original story: Real Estate Press



24 April 2017 – Expansión

The Spanish real estate sector is enjoying a new phase of growth following its unprecedented crisis. Whilst over the last two years, we saw the boom of the Socimis, specialising in rental properties, 2017 looks set to become the year that the property developers bounce back.

Or at least that is according to the ambitious business plans that the six large companies –Neinor Homes, Aelca, Vía Célere, Aedas, Kronos and Metrovacesa Promoción y Suelo – have put in place, with the aim of benefitting from the growing increase in house sales, and the significant demand from buyers.

To that end, the companies have not hesitated to invest several thousands of millions of euros to create portfolios of land on which to begin their developments. These six developers alone now own assets worth €4,924 million, mostly buildable land, ripe for development. In total, these companies own 6.9 million m2 of land.


The entity Metrovacesa Promoción y Suelo stands out on this list of new property developers. The real estate company is looking to recover its sceptre as the Spanish real estate king, after selling its property portfolio to the Socimi Merlin Properties. Owned by Banco Santander, BBVA and Popular, the company currently has 472 homes under construction across 17 developments. Nevertheless, its greatest strength lies in its portfolio of land, which, spanning 2.3 million m2, makes it the largest owner of that type of asset in Spain. Moreover, sources at the company state that its portfolio may increase “considerably this year”, following the contribution of “high-quality land” by the shareholders.

Currently, the land allocated for residential use only is worth €1,050 million. Moreover, it has a portfolio of tertiary land (for offices and shopping centres) worth €325 million and it is already developing a 10,000 m2 office building in Madrid.

Meanwhile, Neinor Homes stands out for its asset value and because it has the largest volume of development activity. Last month, the company, led by the investment fund Lone Star, became the first real estate developer to debut on the stock market in a decade. It did so with a portfolio of assets worth €1,120 million, including land with a surface area of more than 1 million m2. The bell first rang on 29 March, with 4,002 homes under construction across 60 developments.

Vía Célere is following a similar strategy to Neinor. The Madrilenian real estate company is set to become one of the large property developers after it was acquired by five funds, led by Värde Partners, and following its merger with its counterpart Dos Puntos. The new Vía Célere has a portfolio of land spanning more than 1 million m2, with 2,494 homes under construction.

Meanwhile, Aedas Homes, with 1.35 million m2 of land and assets worth €1,100 million, has positioned itself as one of the leading players in the sector after just a few months of life. Led by the fund Castlelake and advised by the team at Merlin, Aedas is currently building 1,510 homes. This year, Aedas has set itself the objective of launching 28 developments and continuing to invest in land purchases. (…).

Another one of the new companies aspiring to the throne of the large property developers is Aelca. Created in 2012, the fund Värde owns a 75% stake in this property developer, which, in turn, owns a portfolio of land measuring between 700,000 m2 and 800,000 m2. Aelca currently has 2,200 homes under construction across 43 developments.

Finally, Kronos Homes is, currently, the company with the smallest portfolio of land. Nevertheless, its shareholders (a group of overseas investors) plan to invest €1,000 million before the end of the year purchasing land on which to build 4,000 homes.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

19 April 2017 – El Mundo

71% of Spaniards think that now is a “good time” to buy a home, according to a study conducted by Solvia, a subsidiary of Banco Sabadell, and the research institute Kantar TNS, which have prepared a real estate confidence index to quantify the perception and expectations of Spaniards regarding buying a home.

According to the results of the index, which ranges between values of zero (for the most unfavourable perceptions) to 200 (for the most favourable), the situation in terms of real estate confidence amongst Spaniards is “positive”, since the index value currently stands at 112. The index, which has been prepared on the basis of interviews with 1,000 people, reveals that 71% of those surveyed believe that, in general, now is a “good time” to buy a home. The report’s authors highlight the following main arguments as justification for respondents’ answers: “the decrease in prices that the housing market has seen; the notion that buying is a good investment; and the fact that the market is currently offering some genuine opportunities”.

By contrast, the study adds that the interviewees’ perception changes when they are asked about their personal circumstances. In this sense, 61% of Spaniards consider that from their own individual perspective, now is a “bad time” to buy a home.

In this regard, employment conditions and the limited capacity to save, with the consequent difficulties involved in accessing financing, explain the negative perception held by Spaniards when it comes to acquiring a home now. Nevertheless, the people interviewed hope that, within two years, they will be in a better position financially to buy a home, thanks to improvements in their employment conditions.

In terms of the evolution of house prices over the last year, 35% of Spaniards think that prices have risen, compared with 43% who believe that house prices have remained stable and 22% who consider that they have decreased.

Finally, buying a home is the option that the majority of those interviewed (55% of the total) would recommend to family and friends thinking about their primary residence.

Original story: El Mundo

According to BBVA, the recovery in the real estate sector in Spain “is really taking hold”. The entity forecasts a 7% increase in property sales in 2017 and that investment in homes will grow by 3.2% during the same period. Meanwhile, it predicts that house prices will rise by 2.5%.

These are the most recent forecasts about the sector for 2017 from BBVA, which highlights that the “positive evolution” of the real estate market in 2016 displayed significant geographical heterogeneity, with Madrid, a large part of the Mediterranean Coast and the two island regions leading the recovery.

The entity said that 2017 will be marked by more moderate economic growth forecasts, of 2.7%, compared with 3.2% in 2016, and positive expectations in terms of property price rises.

In this way, the entity expects residential sales to grow by around 7% this year, and for prices to continue their recovery, with an increase of 2.5% YoY.

The revival of the mortgage market in recent years is helping to fuel growth in residential demand, says BBVA. In fact, new loan operations to households to finance the acquisition of a home increased again in 2016 to reach €37,500 million, up by 5% compared to the previous year.

Similarly, construction is continuing to respond positively to the growth in demand and prices, which is why the real estate sector is expected to generate growth for the economy once again. Investment in housing is expected to increase by 3.2%.

Growth with uncertainty

Nevertheless, BBVA warns that a number of risk factors have been building up in recent months, which could limit the scope and speed of the recovery.

Firstly, it warns that uncertainty persists relating to the outcome of Brexit. In addition to this geopolitical factor in Europe, the potential effects of decisions taken by the new administration in the USA and the increase in energy costs should also be taken into account.

Meanwhile, the increase in inflation in the Eurozone may lead to a change in monetary policy. During 2017, the ECB’s stimuli are expected to decrease, which could lead to an increase in interest rates at the end of 2018. “This increase in financial costs represents a risk for the Spanish economy”, said the entity.

In any case, BBVA highlighted that positive financing conditions, and the strong economic outlook, mean that the real estate sector closed 2016 with 460,000 transactions, up by 13.5% compared to 2016 (…).

Last year, the stock of finished housing continued to decline and prices grew by 1.9% on average, which shows that “the industry responded once again to the boost in demand”. Similarly, the number of building permits grew by almost 30% in 2016 to reach 64,000 permits, to record the third consecutive year of recovery. (…).


Yesterday, Mapfre agreed to sell an office building in Madrid to the real estate group GMP for €72 million. GMP will completely refurbish the property from 2018, according to a joint statement issued by the two companies.

The building, located on Calle Manuel Cortina, in the district of Chamberí, has a gross leasable area of 14,424 m2, with ten office floors and a ground floor that is used for commercial purposes. Moreover, it has three underground parking floors, with 368 parking spaces.

At the moment, the property’s main tenant is Mapfre, but the insurance firm will vacate the office floors at the end of 2017. Nevertheless, it will continue to occupy the majority of the commercial space on the ground floor over the long term.

The Director General of Business at GMP, Xabier Barrondo, highlighted that the operation “is another example of GMP’s commitment to investing in high-quality office buildings and business parks”.

Meanwhile, the Director General of Mapfre Inmuebles, Melchor García, explained that the sale “formed part of the insurance company’s policy to rotate its real estate assets and diversify its portfolio”.


Radisson Blu – the hotel chain belonging to the Carlson Rezidor group, which is itself controlled by the Chinese giant HNA – arrived in Spain in 2009, with the opening of the Radisson Blue Hotel Madrid Prado. Three years later, it opened a resort in Gran Canaria, and just a few months ago it inaugurated its newest hotel in the country, the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, also in Gran Canaria.

Radisson Blu owns almost 300 hotels in 69 countries. Now, the company wants to strengthen its commitment to Spain and to this end, it is analysing Madrid and Barcelona with particular interest, as key destinations for the opening of new establishments under the Blu and Red brands. “Spain represents an opportunity. We perform most of our expansion through management contracts or franchises, which means that we are not interested in leases, however the properties must always be in good locations”, explained Richard Moore, Vice President for Western Europe, the UK and Ireland at Radisson Blu.

HNA Tourism Group completed the purchase of Carlson Hotels last year and so took over control of 51.3% of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where it competes with NH, in which HNA also holds a stake. (…).

Moore added that the chain has studied options on the Mediterranean coast but that, for the firm to open a hotel, it “has to fit with our brand. We are proud of the way we make our brands fit with the properties and of our relationships with the property owners”.

Specifically, in the case of its most recent hotel in the Canary Islands, the chain has reached an agreement with the Norwegian family group Wenaasgruppen, which owns 24 hotels. It is the second time that the company has worked with the Norwegian group, which also owns the other hotel that Radisson manages in Gran Canaria. (…).

Moore added “There are lots of reasons why we want to have a presence in Spain and, above all, in Gran Canaria”. He said that, in the last twelve months, the number of tourist arrivals in Gran Canaria has grown by 14% and the average revenue per room (RevPar) has risen by 18% – or 15% in the case of luxury hotels -. “25 airlines fly to 142 destinations from Gran Canaria in 25 countries. It is the second most popular destination after Tenerife”, he said.


In terms of risks to the business, Moore does not think that Brexit will have a significant impact on tourism in the islands and less so on the hotels that the group manages, which are upscale establishments (five stars) with a very diversified client base. (…).

The Socimi party in Spain is still raging. As the undisputed stars of the real estate sector over the last two years, these companies are still fattening up their asset portfolios and valuations through acquisitions. Such is the case of the Catalan firm Quonia, which after acquiring a property in one of the best area of La Barceloneta in the Catalan capital, has increased its valuation by 12% to €72 million, according to the annual accounts filed by the company.

The most recent asset acquired by Quonia, a vehicle managed externally by Rusiton XXI, a specialist real estate fund manager with extensive financial experience, is a property at number 60 on Passeig Joan de Borbó, in La Barceloneta, one of the most touristic areas in the Catalan capital, for €7 million.

The property comprises three commercial premises on the ground floor, which are currently occupied by the classic restaurant Can Manel, which has now closed its doors and which is going to be occupied by the Degus group, in an operation brokered by the real estate consultancy firm Laborde Marcet, according to sources in the sector.

The building also contains six homes on the first and second floors, and a terrace on the third floor. The gross leasable area amounts to approximately 1,658 m2, split into tertiary use (815 m2) and residential use (843 m2) which, according to sources close to the operation, will soon be subjected to a comprehensive renovation.

Following this acquisition, Quonia’s portfolio now comprises six assets, located in Barcelona, Asturias and Sevilla. The Socimi debuted on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) in July 2016 (…).

In terms of Quonia’s management team, the role of CEO is held by Enric Pérez Más, an executive who is closely linked to the investment business in Spain. The director has held senior management positions in groups such as AMCI, Habitat and Investmex, amongst others. The Socimi’s Board of Directors also comprises Alicia Solares, Ana Marías Saucedo, José Luis Llamas, Mayra Hernández and José Luis Rodríguez.



The UK fund is satisfying its investment appetite in the Spanish market by making acquisitions. In this vein, it has just added a plot of land in the 22@ district of Barcelona to its portfolio of assets. The plot is located at number 66 on Calle Cristóbal de Moura, according to Frédéric Mangeant, the Director General of the fund in Spain. Following this purchase, the group plans to construct an office building on the site.

Although the company did not want to make a statement about the amount of the operation, sources close to the deal say that the fund must have paid around €10 million. According to the same sources, Shaftesbury has purchased the plot of land from “a bad bank”, and is now waiting to receive all of the necessary licences from the Town Hall of Barcelona before it starts construction of the property.

Shaftesbury is thereby committing itself to one of the areas that is expected to grow by the most in the Catalan capital. The 22@ district is attracting a large number of companies, both from within Spain as well as from overseas, wanting to open offices in Barcelona. In the same way, a large number of real estate companies are committing themselves to the construction of new office buildings to satisfy demand (…).

Shaftesbury’s purchase of this plot of land forms part of the group’s plans to grow in the Spanish market. Headquartered in Luxembourg, the fund’s leader in Spain is Frédéric Mangeant, an executive who previously served as a managing partner of the international real estate consultancy Knight Frank and who is a member of the Board of Directors of Real Valladolid Football Club.

Shaftesbury’s Spanish subsidiary began its expansion in Spain in 2014, with the purchase of a building at number 48 on Calle José Abascal in Madrid, which it acquired from Sareb for €26.5 million. The fund has converted that property into a luxury residential building. According to sources in the sector, the 17 homes cost around €8,500/m2, and are set to become a benchmark for the multiple high-end projects that are currently underway in the capital (…).

The Shaftesbury Asset Management group manages more than €1,700 million of real estate assets and created the fund Shaftesbury Real Estate Partners 1 in 2015 with the objective of investing approximately €300 million.

source @http://www.auraree.com/