Asian Interest in Europe
- Even with the turmoil brought about by the Brexit uncertainty, London remains an attractive destination for Asian capital, with the 5 largest deals in London involving Asian investments. UK’s share among European destinations was 65% until May 18.
- Restrictions on outbound Chinese investments have caused a slowdown, though Singapore and South Korea are compensating for it. The Chinese are shifting their focus from trophy assets to growth sectors like logistics and other operating assets.
- Korean investors are looking at Europe due to dearth of local assets. Their focus is primarily on core and value-add assets in prime locations, especially London offices.
- German logistics properties with their strong yield momentum have also attracted Asian attention.
Residential Development Financing in London
- In order to tackle the under-supply of housing in the UK, the government wants construction of new homes to increase to 300,000 per year which has resulted in an uptick in registered plans for new houses by developers.
- With banks retrenching from the development space, opportunity exists for lenders to take advantage of the gap between demand and supply.
- Key fund activity: KKR and Urban Exposure set-up a JV (£165 million) to provide debt capital to residential development projects, while Cain International acquired a majority stake in Fortwell Capital providing capital injection of £400 million.
Traction in Spanish Retail and Logistics Assets
- A favourable economic backdrop and recovering consumer confidence is being reflected in rising footfall and sales in shopping centres across the country driving international interest. This upsurge in demand has resulted in yield compression from 5.5% in Q1 2015 to 4.25% as of Q2 2018.
- There is a booming investor appetite in the logistics segment, with e-commerce giants looking for warehouses in less expensive alternatives to Madrid and Barcelona. A total of 865,000 sqm of new logistics GLA has been delivered in the past year.
Revival of European CMBS
- Four CMBS deals backed by London and Netherlands offices, and the UK, Germany and Netherlands logistics properties were closed last quarter.
- Latest securitisations from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley indicate widening spread (c. 100 - 110bps), a trend across structured finance market, post a wave of tightening spreads (c. 70 - 80bps) earlier this year.
Focus of the Month
The Retail Dilemma
The retail sector is seeing an ongoing reduction in demand for physical space in most parts of Europe resulting in a slowdown of the development pipeline. Increasing vacancies, decreasing rents and high-profile bankruptcies and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA's) have cautioned investors. In some countries like Belgium, even though occupier activity was at a normal level in Q2 2018, the sentiment in the market was not positive. However, core shopping areas in dominant cities are still performing better that others, as their catchment areas is expanding at the expense of smaller retail outlets. The best locations in major cities still remain attractive to investors. Retailers who provide immersive and personalised experiences are still thriving. Below is a snapshot of the various aspects defining the current state of the market.
Causes for trouble
Economic factors as well as growing interest in e-commerce have led to increasing pressure on the retail sector
- Economic slowdown – Countries like France are facing a slowdown due to new US tariffs, increasing oil prices leading to increasing inflation and adding pressure to consumers’ spending power, and a decline in job creation. In the UK, GDP decline due to Brexit has had a significant impact on business and investor sentiment.
- Bankruptcies – A number of high-profile retailers (Toys R Us, House of Fraser, Mothercare, New Look) have announced CVA's or store closures, adding to the negativity.
- E-commerce – With consumers shifting from physical stores to online shopping, footfall to physical retail is decreasing (contracting at 1% p.a. in the UK). This also leads to higher vacancies, especially in smaller towns and shopping galleries.
- Declining rents – Big players are negotiating rents in high streets. Due to a decreasing demand, rents in many market segments (including top locations) are facing a downward pressure. The UK High Street prime rents fell 2.7% outside of London
Transaction volumes have decreased, especially in non-prime locations
- Foreign funds – Investors are increasingly pursuing a pan-European strategy for achieving diversification, and are mainly interested in high-quality retail spaces in the best locations
- Drop in investments – The UK and Netherlands saw a drop of 47% - 50% in 2018, standing at £2.7 billion in Q2 and at €1.2 billion in H1 respectively
- Demand and supply – Vacancies are expected to increase in the coming months as store rationalisation programs continue. The development pipeline in many countries is shrinking as a result of rising vacancy levels, owing to an exponentially growing interest in e-commerce
- Yields – Prime yields have fallen on a yearly base for almost all dominant retail cities in Q2 2018. Prime retail parks in Germany saw a 5-10 bps compression in Q2, and the spread between prime and secondary yields in the UK widened from 360 bps in Q2 2017 to Q2 2018
A large amount of debt is maturing in the near future
- Maturing debt – £7 billion of debt originated between 2012 and 2015, across 200 shopping centres is maturing in the next few years.
- Refinancing opportunity – High risk-high return lenders are looking to use this opportunity of maturing debt to refinance borrowers. Underserved markets have become attractive as investors believe that these could also provide good returns.
- Track record – As debt is maturing, having a good track record is becoming increasingly important if owners are seeking to refinance
Owners are choosing the right tenant mix to achieve high footfall and attract investors
- Lease term – Shorter duration leases are being preferred as these allow non-performers to be replaced with new tenants, thus turning rent quickly.
- Preferred sectors – Discount retailers have remained attractive as they increase footfall. With the growth of e-commerce, click and collect stores are being desired. There is also a continued demand for e-tailers to have a physical presence to drive brand awareness and connect with customers
Even with most of Europe sporting a negative sentiment, there are a few pockets which are performing well.
- Ireland – A positive economic growth outlook, increase in wages and hence a strong domestic demand have provided a positive backdrop for retail in Ireland. Investments were strong in Q2 with a €176.4 million turnover.
- Portugal – A growing economy and increasing consumption have been responsible for an upward trend in retail during the first half of the year. However, the fashion sector is losing grounds to the food and beverages sector. Transactions in 2018 stood at €820 million with an impressive Q1 but a dip in Q2.
- Spain – Sustained private consumption expansion has led to retailers’ confidence being strong and driving them to strategic locations (from prime to near-prime). Well performing assets are still on the radar for investors. Spanish REITs are new players in the high street capital market.
Funds in the Market
Recent Fund Activity
- Despite yields on prime assets compressing in the UK, Germany and France, there seems to be a strong appetite for the asset class, coming from many lender bankers who have reinvented themselves as fund managers. The €52 bn of private real estate deals financed in Q2 2018 was indicative of heightened competition against traditional banks.
- Within the European space, fundraising is active for 25 debt funds with known targets above €100 mn. The largest of these debt fund managers include Blackstone Real Estate Partners Europe, Kildare European Partners, AXA Investment Managers, Orion European Real Estate Fund and Pramerica Real Estate Capital.
- European Markets also witnessed 804 private equity deals worth €88.5bn in Q2 2018. While the volume was largely driven by domestic firms, a number of foreign investors made substantial investments, with Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd leading the pack for the quarter. Ahead of private equity giants like KKR & Co and Bain Capital, GIC spent a total of €12 bn in Europe over the three-month period.
|Strategy||Institution||Regional Focus||Asset Focus||Status||Fund Size (mn)|
|Alternative Credit||NN Investment Partners||Netherlands||Residential Mortgages||Raising||€2,000|
|Value Added||Aermont Capital||Western Europe||Prime Assets||Raising||€1,600|
|Value Added||Tristan Capital Partners||pan-Europe||Diversified||Raising||€1,500|
|Value Added||Tishman Speyer||pan-Europe||Office, Mixed Use||Final Close||€ 750|
|Value added||CBRE Global Investors||Pan-Europe||Retail, Logistics||Final Close||€ 1,000|
|Value added||AEW||France||Residential, Senior Care||Final Close||€ 500|
|Value added||Hines||Pan-Europe||Diversified||Final Close||€ 720|
|Core||AEW||France||Residential, Senior Care||Final Close||€ 500|
|Value Added||Baring's Real Estate||pan-Europe||Office, Retail, Logistics||Raising||€ 297|
|Whole Loans||Laxfield Capital||UK||Diversified||Raising||€ 281|
Snapshot of Key Deals
|Asset Name||Buyer||Seller||Asset Type||Location||Price (mn)|
|MANGO’s Global Distribution Centre||Tritax EuroBox||Unknown||Logistics||Barcelona||€ 150|
|Verde Office Building||Deka Immobilien||Tishman Speyer/PSP Investments||Office||London||€ 515|
|15th century palace||Europa Capital||Private individual||Residential||Mallorca||€ 22|
|Residential Portfolio||Cerberus||Banco Santander||Residential||Pan Spain||€ 1,540|
|Hotel Portfolio||Corum AM||CapMan Hotels REw||Hotel||Pan Finland||€ 72|
|Mammut Shopping Centre||NEPI Rockcastle||Lone Star||Retail||Budapest||€ 254|
|Passy Kennedy||Cegereal||Unknown||Office||Paris||€ 218|
|Aldgate House||CDL||Hermes IM/CPPIB||Mixed Use||London||€ 205|
|The Shepherds Building||Workspace||Helical||Office||London||€ 140|
|Garden Tower complex||GEG German Estate Group||Tristan Capital Partners||Office||Frankfurt||€ 275|
|Broadway Plaza||LGIM Real Assets||Aviva Investors||Leisure||Birmingham||€ 53|
|Asset Name||Lender||Borrower||Asset Type||Location||Loan Amt. (mn)|
|Medical Centre||Aviva Investor||MedicX REIT||Health Care Centre||UK & Ireland||€ 297|
|Data Centre Portfolio||ING Bank||The Data Centre Group||Data Centre||Netherlands||€ 52|
|Middleborough’s Centre||M&G||Ashall Projects||Mixed||UK||€ 24.6|
|Logistics Portfolio||Aareal Bank||Apollo Global Management||Logistics||Pan-Europe||€ 800|
|Logistics Portfolio||Lloyds Bank Commercial||Chancerygate||Logistics||UK||€ 68.5|
|Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire||Black Rock||Green Square||Residential||UK||€ 84.2|
|MSCI World Real Estate||203.91||(3.9%)||4.1%||13.0%||0.6%|
|STOXX Global 1800 Real Estate||253.62||(3.3%)||4.1%||12.4%||0.7%|
|STOXX Europe 600 Real Estate||174.32||(3.6%)||7.0%||(6.2%)||35.8%|
|Dow Jones US Real Estate||318.33||(1.0%)||1.6%||15.9%||8.8%|
|STOXX APAC 600 Real Estate||238.53||(5.1%)||5.5%||13.4%||(14.7%)|
|Property REITS - Europe||28-09-2018||YTD||1-YEAR||3-YEAR||5-YEAR|
|Office & Industrial||253.62||3.4%||(4.0%)||(11.0%)||(0.7%)|
|Property REITS - US||28-09-2018||YTD||1-YEAR||3-YEAR||5-YEAR|
This information discusses general market activity, industry or sector trends, or other broad-based economic, market or political conditions and should not be construed as research or investment advice. This material is not financial research and was not prepared in compliance with applicable provisions of law designed to promote the independence of financial analysis. Investors are urged to consult with their financial advisors before buying or selling any securities. This information may not be current and Oxane Partners has no obligation to provide any updates.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities. The information contained in this presentation is not intended to be used as a general guide to investing, or as a source of any specific investment recommendation.
Views and opinions expressed are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation by Oxane Partners to buy, sell, or hold any security. Views and opinions are current as of the date of this presentation and may be subject to change, they should not be construed as investment advice.
Sources: PERE, Real Estate Capital, Gulf News, South China Morning Post, Savills, Knight Frank, Deloitte, JLL, Institutional Real Estate, Bloomberg, propertyfundsworld