‘Cautious optimism’ the mood at Iberian listed RE conference

EPRA CEO Dominique Moerenhout.

Despite the challenges the real estate sector has managed the latest crisis well according to European Public Real Estate Association CEO Dominique Moerenhout.

Speaking this week at the fifth Iberian Reit & Listed Conference, staged in Madrid and attended by more than three hundred delegates, Morenhout said: “In the coming years we can be cautiously optimistic. The sector has managed the latest crisis and is reasonably well positioned to face the future.”

BNP Paribas Real Estate Spain CEO Borja Ortega, explaining how real estate investors are reacting to the inflationary environment, stressed the need for “more and more analysis of transactions and urban policies focused on citizens.”

“Then the real estate sector must adapt to them,” he added.

More than three hundred managers and professionals attended the conference.

Ignacio de la Torre, chief economist of Arcano Partners analysed Iberia’s situation within the context of the altered global economy. Although inflation is currently above the level of wage growth, he said the main projections indicate this situation is expected to change in the coming months and that central banks will lower interest rates. “We have good fundamentals,” Torre said, “there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

Ismael Clemente, CEO of Merlin concurred. “The outlook is good for listed real estate companies; our shopping centres are already exceeding pre-pandemic figures, in the midst of a curiously negative trend.”

The situation is similar for Grupo Lar. However, the company’s vice-chairman Miguel Pereda said: “Although we have exceeded 2019 figures in terms of occupancy and sales, in 2023 we will maintain a cautious approach.”

And responding to questions from panel moderator, Antonio Gil Machado, director of meda company Iberian Property, Colonial’s CEO Pere Viñolas also stressed that “operations are going well, despite the interest rate hikes. We are going through a good operational phase”.

David Martínez, CEO of Aedas, commented that “the outlook is very good in the sector”. The build-to-rent sector is flourishing in Spain where, he added,  the mentality is changing “from ownership to pay-per-use.”

The conference also looked at the EU Taxonomy and its effect on real estate financing to assess the impact of carbon footprint on listed companies.

“Our issues and experiences need to be communicated to policy makers so that they can develop better policies,” said EPRA director of ESG policy and advocacy Jana Bour.

The final panel discussion, moderated by Real Asset Media’s publisher Richard Betts, focused on how the listed real estate sector can take advantage of new opportunities and convert them into real shareholder value.

Final panel: New opportunities and shareholder value.