The experience of the last financial crisis served Spain well during this year’s pandemic, delegates heard at Market Snapshot: Investing in Iberia online briefing, which was held at RealX, the virtual real estate fair organised by Real Asset Media.
‘Spain reacted well after the GFC and Sareb is a proof of that’, said Paula León, head of institutional sales and investor relations, Sareb. ‘We created a bad bank and put the real estate market back on track. We have shown that we can act fast when we need to’.
That proof of resilience has given more confidence to the real estate industry that it can overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
‘The underlying fundamentals are very good, and the real estate market has shown that it is very resilient and adaptable,’ said Roger Maxwell Cooke, asesor internacional inmobiliario and president RICS Spain. ‘People and businesses have reacted well and shown great innovative skills in the last few months, which gives us some confidence that, despite the uncertainty, the outlook can be quite positive’
The retail sector has been an example of resilience as it adapted to the emergency measures and charted a way forward. The lessons of the past had been learned: density had already been reduced and there was no overdevelopment.
New shopping centre strategies improve footfall
‘Shopping centres in Spain had been working hard on new strategies integrating leisure, F&B and experience with good results, as sales and footfall were growing,’ said Eduardo Ceballos, chairman AECC, the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres. ‘Then Covid-19 came and changed everything’.
In general retail parks and food-anchored centres have done better than fashion-focused shopping centres. Retailers have invested in technology, strengthening their online presence and click and collect services, but e-commerce is still far behind other European countries.
‘Online sales are at 6% of total sales rather than over 20% in the UK so physical retail has not been affected in the same way,’ said Ceballos. ‘As soon as this exceptional situation is over, we will return to the positive pre-Covid trends. We’ll be back to fundamentals’.