The volume of annual investment in the Spanish real estate sector amounted to €11.63 billion in 2018, which represented an increase of 8% compared to 2017. If we add the corporate operations with underlying real estate to that volume, then the figure increases to €19 billion, which represents an investment record since the end of the crisis, according to the latest report from BNP Paribas Real Estate in Spain. The report highlights that interest from investors in the Spanish real estate sector in 2018 was at its highest level for a decade.
During the fourth quarter of the year, the volume of direct investment in real estate assets – offices, logistics warehouses, hotels, retail and residential – amounted to €3.7 billion in total, which represented an increase of 58% YoY. The evolution of investor activity, therefore, exceeded the expectations of the sector at the beginning of the year.
“The good times that the fundamentals of the market are enjoying, with occupancy levels at maximums and rents that are stable or expanding in the most consolidated markets, together with the surplus capital and the limited alternatives offered by other financial products, have fostered a frenetic pace of activity in the investment market”, explains the report.
By type of asset, the commercial sector (retail) was the star of the year. The volume invested in commercial assets during 2018 amounted to €4.28 billion, which represents an increase of 23% compared to 2017. During the fourth quarter, investment reached €1.26 billion, and so the sector achieved a quarterly market share of 35%. The largest operation during the final quarter of the year was the purchase of a portfolio of three shopping centres – Max Center, Gran Casa and Valle Real – by Sonae Sierra and Perter Varbacka for €485 million.
Demand from investors for high street retail assets was high, given that they consider them to be a very stable product. Similarly, there was a high interest in land for the development of retail parks, in light of the scarce supply of this type of asset. The yields continued at 3.00% for prime premises; between 5.00% and 5.25% for prime shopping centres; and at 5.75% for prime retail parks.
In terms of the office market, the investment volume recorded during the fourth quarter was €986 million taking the total figure for the year to €2.228 billion. That represented a slight YoY decrease of 4%. The shortage of products for sale meant that fewer operations materialised in 2018 than in 2017. The prime yield in the office market remained at 3.25% in Madrid and 3.50% in Barcelona.
The logistics market continues to rise. The increase in e-commerce and the strong performance of the consumer sector and the economy, in general, have encouraged investment in this type of asset. The investment volume registered during the fourth quarter of the year amounted to €400 million, whilst the total figure for the year (€1.3 billion) represented a new investment record, and an increase of 30% compared to 2017. The shortage of products, combined with the high investment pressure resulted in a considerable adjustment in yields, which amounted to 5.30% in the prime logistics market in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Investment funds were the great stars of the market, representing 61% of the total volume transacted in 2018. Socimis have been very present in the investment market, both on the buy and sell sides in the main land transactions to develop new products. Finally, the presence of family offices (private investors) stood out, with acquisitions, in general, for volumes of less than €50 million.
Alternative investments remained in the spotlight of investors, who were mainly attracted by student residences, clinics and nursing homes for the elderly. The cumulative volume invested in those types of assets amounted to €600 million in 2018.