The industrial sector will remain on the radar of investors due to the ongoing nearshoring trend but development should also accelerate across other commercial sector once interest rates start to fall, concluded speakers of the investment trends panel of CEE Property Forum 2023, held in Vienna.
Ana Dumitrache, Managing Director, CTP Romania, who chaired the panel, cited the findings of a Property Forum investment survey that has placed Poland as a star of the region, with Romania coming second. She explained that the decision-making process for investments has been shifting to regions rather than countries. This year, CTP made the biggest transaction in the Romanian market, after purchasing 100,000 sqm of industrial projects from FM Logistics.
Poland and Romania are the markets to be in due to strong fundamentals, said Jan Bukovsky, Senior Partner – Head of Tax & Finance, Revetas Capital. He added that the company has €1.5 billion of real estate assets in several markets from Poland to Bulgaria. “Poland is the future of the region, and we are looking to expand further in eastern Germany,” says Bukovsky.
A lot of industrial is driven by geopolitics in the CEE due to nearshoring, explained Victor Constantinescu, Managing Partner, Romania & Co-Head of Real Estate, Kinstellar. “We are seeing opportunities in military and defence spending that are creating opportunities for local production,” said Constatinescu. He went on to say that offices and retail are still trading, but there is a mismatch in price expectations.
Christopher Mertlitz, Managing Director, Head of European Investments, W. P. Carey, explained that from a sale-and-lease-back deal perspective, the right time is now. “We are pro-CEE, and we are willing to invest and take a long-term view. We are an all-equity purchaser,” said Mertlitz. He mentioned that W. P. Carey manages around $25 billion of real estate from the Baltics down to Croatia, with the investment focused on missions' critical assets that have tenants with long-term contracts.
Poland is in a pole position from a nearshoring perspective because the country has a huge land bank for industrial projects compared to the Czech Republic, according to Dominik Stojek MRICS, Partner, Leader of Real Estate Group, Deloitte Poland. “Banks want to finance industrial, and it is a liquid market with demand,” added Stojek.
We are going to come up stronger from this crisis, but the question is if the CEE will come as strong as it came in the last cycle, said Piotr Trzciński, Head of Poland, Savills Investment Management. He mentioned grocery-based retail, industrial and student housing as some of the assets with future potential in the region.
Andrei Văcaru, Head of Capital Markets CEE, iO Partners, said there is a wait-and-see approach to investments due to the increasing cost of capital. He added there is an expectation that rates will start to go down next year. “There will be higher transaction volumes in the next 12 months, but it does not mean that pricing will be better. In the long run, it will be industrial and retail as classes with potential in the region. In the medium run, residential for rent, student housing is something that is in early days in most markets,” he explained.
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