News Article CBRE CEE Czech Republic interview Poland Romania Slovakia
by Ákos Budai | Interview

2017 was a great year for the CEE property market and the scene is set for 2018 to be even better. However, there are always risks to be wary of. Andreas Ridder, Chairman CEE at CBRE revealed Property Forum his expectations for the CEE investment market in 2018.

Andreas Ridder will chair the retail & logistics roundtable at the upcoming Bratislava Property Forum 2018, co-organised by Property Forum and RICS.
CEE investment markets have posted strong results in 2017. Do you expect the current growth to continue into 2018?
In principle we expect the growth to continue in 2018, but the growth will be uneven in different CEE countries. In Poland and Czech Republic, the two biggest markets, growth should be moderate. Not because there is no investor interest, which is immense, but more because there is not so much product coming into the market. On the other side of the spectrum should be Slovakia and Romania, where investors´ interest is constantly increasing and good product is available.
What are the potential threats investors need to be more wary of?
Everybody seems to agree that interest rates will have to go up after having been at historically low rates for a few years. And increasing interest rates are not good for investors. Therefore the speed of the rise of interest rates is probably the main threat to investors. However, we expect interest rates to only increase gradually and slowly.


Looking ahead at the next 12 months, which CEE countries have the strongest growth potential?

In terms of investment volume, Slovakia and Romania should see the highest increase. The increasing work force shortages and low unemployment rates of qualified staff mainly in Czech Republic and Poland should also have positive spillover effects for SEE countries
Which business segments have seen the largest growth in 2017 at CBRE?
We had a fantastic year in CEE in 2017 overall. In Russia we have probably seen the best country improvement for us, in terms of business segments Investment has been our rising star last year, closely followed by Office Agency and Asset Services.
Would you say that in this booming market environment competition among advisory firms is getting stronger? Do you expect new players to enter the race in any CEE markets?
We have seen new entrants into the CEE markets recently. As the markets are growing so quickly, we do not feel the new competitors too much right now. However, when the markets should turn again, history has proven that the number one player is not much affected and the number two player is still doing relatively well, but the rest of the players will have a really hard time.
How do you think technology will affect your profession during the next few years? Do you view proptech as a threat or an opportunity for the advisory business?
Proptech is both a threat and an opportunity for us. If we get it right, it should be a big boost to our business and consequently we are investing enormous amounts of management time and money to get it right. It reminds me of the impact of online trading on retailers. Those retailers who have successfully embarked on an omnichannel journey are doing well, most of the others are suffering.