News Article conferences Future of Real Estate investment Poland Property Forum RICS Warsaw
by Michał Poręcki | Report

According to a panel on the future of investments, held at the Future of Real Estate 2024 conference in Warsaw this month, the office industry in Poland is far from blooming but is slowly regaining investor interest. The event was co-organized by Property Forum and RICS.

The panel, which was moderated by Susanne Eickermann-Riepe FRICS, Chair of the RICS European World Regional Board, was meant to answer the questions of whether Polish real estate remains an attractive commodity for Western investors, which asset classes will be most popular and how the Polish office market needs to change to adapt to new economic conditions and legal requirements.

„What has changed In terms of the investment market? First of all, we are not spending December nights at the office anymore. That was the reality of the hot market - closing all the deals by the end of the year. Right now we have the comfort of spending the Christmas preparations with our families. Investors are pretty rare animals these days on the market, however, it doesn't mean that they do not exist. This is a very interesting time right now because, on the one hand, we have a chance to seek opportunities as a developer. On the other, we can buy assets and give them a new life either through conversion into new functions or through an upgrade to the sustainable needs of the market.  But at the same time, we observe more and more of a scarcity of premium assets in major Polish cities, especially Warsaw. Most likely not much should change in the upcoming 12 months”, predicts Jacek Zengteler, President of the Management Board at Yareal Polska

Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono, Business Development Director at fit-out company Tetris Poland, has confirmed that the office market in Poland is currently suffering from shrinking demand. ”We are observing much less of normal core-business fit-outs, which would be turning shell-and-core spaces into beautiful offices. If you look at the Warsaw office landscape, you will see not so many crowns that we usually used to have. Instead of new designs, we see a lot of refurbishment lately, because tenants are staying in the same locations. We are getting money from the landlords to do some refreshments and to upgrade their offices. So this is the demand which we see. When asked about our biggest transactions this year, I would say that we are not in the office market for now. We are rather in retail and PRS sector. These market segments actually became our second leg”, said Anna Malarczyk-Arcidiacono.

Office developers, in anticipation of a return in demand, are reducing their activity in smaller local markets, concentrating their activity in capital cities. „The most popular office locations in the CEE are Warsaw and Prague. In the capital of Poland, one can still buy a very well-located, high-quality office asset at a 7% yield. We also see here a great potential for the growth of rents. Also, our HQ believes in the Warsaw market firmly. We are present in four markets in the US, eight more in the Nordics and 10 markets in Central Europe. Last year, our HQ decided to build a speculative office only from equity in Warsaw. I think it is very meaningful”, said Adrian Karczewicz, Head of Divestments CEE, Skanska

Representing the investors, Anna Szelc, Senior Director, Investments, CEE at Invesco Real Estate claimed that despite the temporary cooldown, the Polish investment market has a chance for a revival. “Around eight, nine months ago, our outlook for the next 12 months was way more pessimistic than it is now. We were assuming that 2024 will be a lost year. But now we see the markets are slowly picking up, we see the equity and investors becoming more interested. For now, the focus is mainly on the Western markets, because it is believed that the opportunities there will be disappearing faster, and that the bottoming out has already happened. The outlook for CEE is mostly Warsaw and Prague. Which assets will sell there? We look at Poland and the Czech Republic as a whole, we are analyzing the market fundamentals in different asset classes. We still believe that this part of CEE will remain a strong logistic hub. For offices, I think it's not the time neither to sell nor to buy. We believe there is some more aggressive, regional or value-added capital that has his window of opportunity right now”, said Anna Szelc.

What kind of projects remains a hot commodity in Poland at the moment? Daniel Puchalski, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of shed some light on this matter. “The markets for land and small projects are still doing very well in Poland, We have closed around $200 million in the last three or four months, with five transactions, including two hotels. The interesting thing is that both of them will be destroyed in a few years, just to free the occupied land. The plans for these plots are PRS and a residential project, respectively”, said Puchalski.