by Property Forum | Report

Real estate transaction volumes in 2018 were the strongest on record reaching US$1.75 trillion; a 4% year-on-year (y/y) growth and surpassing previous highs of US$1.68 trillion in 2017, according to new data from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.


The Global Investment Atlas 2019 reviews international investment patterns from 2018 and anticipates market performance for the year ahead. The key findings are:
  • Global real estate investment volumes reach US$1.75 trillion in 2018 and are forecast to match this trend in 2019.
  • Real estate investment cycle is expected to extend, allowing time for investors to adjust to a period of rising interest rates ahead.
  • Cross border investment flourishing as a reflection of globalisation, with EMEA the top target.
The firm forecasts record levels to be maintained in 2019, in the region of US$1.75 trillion, as investors target a wider range of markets to find opportunity, and more sellers come forward as real estate strategies adjust to evolving monetary policy, geopolitical tensions and structural change. The report states that pricing is expected to edge ahead, however this will be driven by stable yields and steady rental growth for the best assets rather than yield compression which has typified recent years.
 
Report author David Hutchings, Cushman & Wakefield’s Head of Investment Strategy EMEA Capital Markets, explains: “The economic environment is weaker than expected just a few months ago but so too is the inflation outlook on a global basis. As a result, while risk is up, the day of reckoning on interest rates for corporates and investors has again been delayed. The coming year is therefore set to see a further extension of the property cycle, offering investors another chance to get their portfolio into shape ahead of a period of slower growth.
 
“With a stable, contracted income and exposure to growth and inflation, real estate continues to be incredibly attractive and demand remains strong for the right product. However, defining the right product has become ever harder as powerful, market-moving occupier strategies are reshaped by e-commerce, social and business change, low growth and affordability constraints.”
 
Central Europe growing strong
 
The V4 countries, namely Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, had another record year for investment volumes in 2018, with €11.93 billion in assets trading. That’s an increase from €10.5 billion in 2017.
 
The best performing market was Poland surpassing its previous record of €5 billion in 2017, climbing to a new high of €7.22 billion, leading by far across CEE. Czech Republic continues to perform well, competing in yield and capital, with transactions totalling €2.35 billion. Hungary reached €1.64 billion, just edging out its record last year (€1.63 billion), while Romania reached €970 million, Slovakia €720 million and Bulgaria €340 million. The largest regional deal was the platform acquisition by Starwood of the Immofinanz share (26%) of CA Immo. Other notable deals included the sale of the CTP portfolio in Czech Republic to Deka, worth €460 million, the largest industrial deal of the year. The largest retail deal in Czech Republic was the sale of Forum Nová Karolina by Meyer Bergman / HOOPP to Reico. Cushman & Wakefield advised Deka, Starwood and Meyer Bergman on these transactions. The largest retail deal in Poland was at the cusp of 2018, the sale of the Metro portfolio by Apollo Rida to Griffin RE in Poland, valued at €1 billion.
 
Jonathan Hallett, Executive Partner, Head of Central & Eastern Europe at Cushman & Wakefield says: „2019 is expected to be a strong year. The fundamentals of the market are good, with strong occupier markets, rents not overpriced, and interest rates not expected to rise. More investors have been focusing on core capital, and this should continue. In the Czech Republic, there is a lot of property on the market much carried over from the last year, so the first half of 2019 will likely be bigger than the first half of 2018.“
Jonathan Hallett

Jonathan Hallett

Managing Partner Central Europe
Cushman & Wakefield

Jonathan is Managing Partner for Central Europe and heads C&W’s operations in the Czech Republic & Slovakia. He manages a team of 400 staff, involved in all aspects of property services. He is also Chairman of the Board of C&W Romania and oversees the Retail Services in the CEE region. Jonathan has worked at C&W in Brussels, Paris and London. He became a Partner in 2001. Qualifications: BSc Honours in Valuation and Estate Management Member of the RICS More »
A complex international picture
 
Commercial real estate allocations in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) fell 2% and 1% respectively in 2018, the latter largely due to fewer global purchases over the year. European and Asian institutions are, however, increasing allocations to real estate, and both regions are also likely to see more inbound cross border demand, notably Europe in the short-term, and Asia in the medium-term as investors follow demographic trends.
 
EMEA investment volumes recorded US$331 billion in 2018, a 10.8% y/y fall owing to a pull-back from both global and domestic sources and the conclusion of some large portfolio deals. European retail documented its third consecutive year of decline (US$56 billion), with lower volumes across much of the region. Industrial and office transactions also contracted by -24.7% and -9.7% y/y respectively but was likely down to a shortage of investible stock. EMEA investment volumes in 2019, are predicted to reach US$339.2 billion, a 2.5% increase on 2018 levels, driven by increased demand across a growing range of tier 2 cities and new sectors.
 
Continental flows boosting cross border investment
 
In contrast to wider nationalist trends, cross border real estate investment has flourished, growing 10.7% to US$405 billion. This was led by stronger continental flows.
 
Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, Chief Executive of Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Capital Markets & Investor Services, said: “International capital flows are becoming yet more dynamic, increasingly cross border and more about balancing quality with quantity – this will be true whether you are referring to stock, yields, talent or living standards.
 
“An abundance of capital will continue to drive the market and sustain pricing in 2019, but structural forces, such as e-commerce, will be driving areas of outperformance even as the cycle slows. Hence there is a real need to look beyond market averages to see the detail of the local market, the deal, the vendor, the lender and above all, the user.”
 
While the USA was the top target for global CRE investment (US$45 billion), EMEA has retained its historical position as the most sought-after destination for international capital, with the most cities among the top ten cross border investment targets and attracting 53% (US$88 billion) of global investment.
 
The USA and Canada were the top sources of cross border investment capital, together accounting for 40% of all non-domestic investment flows last year (US$125 billion). German capital rounded out the top three at US$26 billion. Interestingly, despite UK investment managers strengthening their continental portfolios, French cross-border investment outflows outpaced the UK for the first time on record. The make-up of cross border investment from Asia Pacific likewise altered, with mainland China and Hong Kong dropping back but Singapore and South Korea moving up the rankings.