‘We are very positive on the Paris market’

The Grand Paris project sets the French capital apart from other European cities because of its huge scale, ambition and reach

Andy Watson, Partner, Europa Capital, tells The Real Estate Day that good infrastructure underpins good real estate and the proof is the Grand Paris project, which sets the French capital apart from other European cities because of its huge scale, ambition and reach

Andy Watson, Partner, Europa Capital

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‘Logistics in CEE will continue to grow’

International investors really believe in the sector but they have to work harder to find assets because land shortages are a constraint and availability of labour is a major issue

Luke Dawson, MD & Head of Capital Markets CEE, Colliers International, tells The Real Estate Day that international investors really believe in the sector but they have to work harder to find assets because land shortages are a constraint and availability of labour is a major issue

Luke Dawson, MD & Head of Capital Markets CEE, Colliers International

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‘Central London offices will outperform this year’

David Inskip, Head of UK Strategy & Research, CBRE Global Investors

David Inskip, Head of UK Strategy & Research, CBRE Global Investors

London offices will benefit from the end of political uncertainty over Brexit and will see good demand and rental growth in 2020, David Inskip, Head of UK Strategy & Research, CBRE Global Investors, told The Real Estate Day. 

‘We look for pockets of outperformance and I would say that central London offices is the number one candidate in that regard,’ he said. ‘We have seen big improvement in the occupier market through 2019 and we expect that strength to continue into 2020. What was missing was investor sentiment, activity and pricing because of all the political uncertainty holding the market back’.

Now that the Brexit issue has been resolved things will change quickly, Inskip said: ‘It will mean that you get a bit of a re-pricing and a bit of yield compression coming through in the sector and a bit of outperformance as a consequence’.

The UK market will benefit from a stable Government and more political certainty, but there are still question marks over the country’s exit from the EU, he said: ‘Uncertainty will diminish but will not be completely eliminated. We want to move on quickly, but Brexit is a long process rather than just an event, so we will have to continue dealing with it and wondering whether the UK and the EU will reach a comprehensive trade agreement’.

The risk of a no-deal and the UK reverting to WTO rules would be damaging to the economy, but fortunately it is not the most likely scenario. ‘We think there will be a limited agreement at least and other things will be rolled over so that risk will be averted,’ Inskip said.

The UK has a number of things in its favour, like a strong labour market, good earnings growth and consumer confidence and the likelihood of higher government spending and fiscal policy providing a boost rather than being a drag.

In the real estate market 2020 is likely to be a year of ‘evolution of the trends we have seen recently rather than a year of sharp change,’ he said. ‘Putting retail to one side, generally in the occupier markets we strength, robust if not spectacular demand meeting fairly limited supply and that’s leading to modest rental growth, so it is a good story’. 


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‘Developments in technology are transforming buildings’

proptech is improving efficiency and delivering cost savings as well as leading to smarter offices which are sustainable, have cleaner air and promote well-being

Kevin Turpin, Regional Director of Research, CEE, Colliers International, tells The Real Estate Day that proptech is improving efficiency and delivering cost savings as well as leading to smarter offices which are sustainable, have cleaner air and promote well-being

Kevin Turpin, Regional Director of Research, CEE, Colliers International

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‘Global brands believe in the future of bricks and mortar retail’

Matthew Roberts, CEO Intu Properties

Matthew Roberts, CEO Intu Properties

Despite widespread negative sentiment, all global brands still believe in bricks & mortar retail, Matthew Roberts, CEO, Intu Properties, told The Real Estate Day.

It has been a challenging time for the sector but, in the end, what matters is quality so the good assets in the best locations continue to do well. 

‘I have had a lovely time since I took over as chief executive back in the spring of 2019, out meeting the leaders of our top 30 customers and most of them are global brands,’ he said. ‘The really good news is that they all believe in the future of bricks and mortar retailing’.

They might be shrinking their estate, but they want to go into the top locations in the markets that they are interested in. ‘We are lucky enough to have nine out of the top 20 shopping centre locations in the UK and three of the top ten in Spain, so our customers want to continue to invest with us,’ Roberts said. 

‘We did see a bit of a time out on some of those global brands taking space in the last 12-24 months with the political and economic uncertainty in the UK but that has changed now’, he said. 

Leases that had been negotiated for months were suddenly signed as soon as the Brexit uncertainty came to an end and there was a stable government, he said, so ‘hopefully those global brands like Inditex will be back investing in the UK and we’ll see the benefit of that’.

It is necessary to adapt to a changing retail environment and landlords will have to take more operational risk as shorter leases are clearly the future, but ‘landlords can still thrive if they have the right assets,’ Roberts said.

‘When I started my life in retailing a quarter of a century ago everyone took 25-year leases, but now the direction of travel on leases is shorter and shorter,’ he said. 

‘The average lease length in Spain is three years now, but we have a very good business there, our centres are full and rents are growing. We may have to end up with more turnover elements but because of the great assets that we have, I think it is a situation that we will thrive on’.


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‘Paris is getting critical mass’

Paris: usually investors start with core but in the last 18 months there has been more interest in core plus funds and value-add and more willingness to understand the market

Beverley Shadbolt, Country Manager, France, LaSalle Investment Management, tells The Real Estate Day that usually investors start with core but in the last 18 months there has been more interest in core plus funds and value-add and more willingness to understand the market

Beverley Shadbolt, Country Manager, France, LaSalle Investment Management

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‘The UK market is in a better place in 2020’

Chris Grigg, CEO British Land

Chris Grigg, CEO British Land

The outlook for the UK real estate sector is extremely positive, even if there will still be Brexit issues and share price volatility to deal with, Chris Grigg, CEO, British Land, told The Real Estate Day. 

‘We are in a better place overall,’ he said. ‘Not all the political uncertainty that we saw last year has disappeared, but now we are in a better and a stronger position.’ 

Confidence is returning to the market and that points to a ‘pretty decent year ahead’, he said, with signs of strong demand from occupiers and more international investors deciding to return to the UK and to London in particular. 

‘We continue to see good demand from our occupiers, particularly in the London part of our business,’ Grigg said. ‘I think there is a decent chance that we will see more international investments in London this year than we saw in the last 12 months’. 

Brexit as a process is not ‘done’ and the seesaw that characterised the listed sector last year will continue, but will be much more muted. 

‘I think it will be an interesting year for the listed sector,’ he said. ‘No doubt there will be some volatility because we still have to go through the Brexit process and, if the history of the recent past is anything to go by, that will create some volatility in the share price, but it will be nothing compared to last year’.


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”The yield factor will attract investors to Warsaw and Budapest’

both institutional investors looking for safe havens and opportunistic ones looking for oversized returns are showing an interest in the Polish and Hungarian capital cities despite the relative lack of liquidity

Thomas Frater, Founder & CEO, Hussar & Co, tells The Real Estate Day that both institutional investors looking for safe havens and opportunistic ones looking for oversized returns are showing an interest in the Polish and Hungarian capital cities despite the relative lack of liquidity

Thomas Frater, Founder & CEO, Hussar & Co

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‘Regional capital will play a bigger role in CEE’

Noah Steinberg, CEO & Chairman, WING

Noah Steinberg, CEO & Chairman, WING

Noah Steinberg, CEO & Chairman, WING, tells The Real Estate Day that now there are professional, well-connected and well-capitalized players who can realize additional synergies through their local presence and can better leverage the region’s significant growth potential


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‘Consolidation ahead for the sector’

The Student Housing sector has seen huge growth over the last few years and the participation of more institutional investors, but it continues to be fragmented. There will be consolidation ahead, according to Samuel Vetrak, CEO of BONARD, research specialists in the sector.

The Student Housing sector has seen huge growth over the last few years and the participation of more institutional investors, but it continues to be fragmented. There will be consolidation ahead, according to Samuel Vetrak, CEO of BONARD, research specialists in the sector. 

Of Europe’s current 107 student housing portfolios, 82 have fewer than 5,000 beds.

‘With significant room for consolidation, we expect many transactions this year that will involve both mid-sized and bigger portfolios,’ he said. 

As well as transactional activity in the market, there is a strong pipeline, with significant growth expected in completions this year.

New projects in continental Europe and the UK will bring 338 private PBSA projects (with 130,678 beds) onto the market in the next 2.5 years. A further 320 projects have been announced, representing 91,636 beds, but details have not been disclosed yet.  

London is ahead with a pipeline of 20,000 beds, followed by Lisbon with 12,000 and Porto with 6,500. The Portuguese city has the lowest cost in Europe for a single studio in private PBSA, E416, but it has also recorded the steepest increase in rent (+15% in the last year) due to high demand.

London remains the most expensive city for an international student, with average monthly rents of E1,547 and a +6% increase in the last year. In other European cities rents hover between E618 in Berlin, E698 in Rome,E848 in Barcelona and E934 in Paris.

Based on BONARD’s research into 5,600 PBSAs and data accumulated from

thousands of student surveys, product is increasingly determined by student preference.

The data shows that students prefer amenities, such as communal areas and quality of service over larger and better-equipped rooms.

Laundry rooms, study rooms, communal kitchens, a garden, a gym and a cafeteria are all a must-have for international students. New amenities are becoming more in demand, such as swimming pools, rooftop terraces, bike sharing and co-working areas. 

There is also a strong trend for new services like business incubators, event organizers, student life apps, workshops and residential mentors.

While the UK continues to be the strongest market, continental Europe is booming due to its low provision rates. BONARD research shows that  1 million beds are needed to match the current UK market saturation. 

This gives investors an opportunity to bring new product concepts, such as

Hybrid models or co-living, to under-supplied markets at an earlier stage. This will lead to increased provision of newly-built, purpose-made accommodation under the same roof for students and young professionals in order to exploit the synergies between the two.

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