Amsterdam tends to attract most of the attention and the action, but there are other Dutch cities worth investing in, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Netherlands Investment Briefing, which was held in London last week.
As the market in Amsterdam becomes more competitive and more expensive, investors are looking at alternatives. The most obvious one is Utrecht, which has undergone quite a transformation recently.
‘If I had to choose one place to invest, I would bet on Utrecht,’ said Raphael Rietema, Director, EMEA Strategy & Research, CBRE Global Investors .’Utrecht has long had a solid local economy. It lacked a proper CBD, but now it has one. The entire area around the station is being revitalised’.
It is an example of the Dutch flair for urban planning and regeneration, panellists agreed.
‘Utrecht is like a suburb of Amsterdam now, it has an interesting dynamic,’ said Adam Irányi, Head of Investment, Europe II, Union Investment Real Estate. ‘It remains to be seen whether it will benefit from the over-performance of Amsterdam, whether it is just a spill-over effect or whether the city has its own momentum. It makes sense for us to be there, so we are currently looking to invest, but only in grade A assets’.
The city does have a momentum of its own, said Herman Kok, Head of Research, Meyer Bergman: ‘It is an infrastructure hub with a strong domestic economy and it is also the epicentre of the Dutch insurance sector. I like Utrecht as an investment destination’. Opportunities can be found in different sectors, he said, including retail, especially convenience and leisure retail.
Investors welcome a less competitive market but they must be careful not to expose themselves to risk. ‘We are open to investing in secondary locations but we do have concerns about liquidity over the long term and with the yield spread in secondary markets, which can narrow very quickly,’ said Irányi.
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