The preliminary investment volumes for the CEE region for Q1 2020 have reached ca. €3.7 billion, despite the onset of COVID-19 in CEE at the beginning of March. This volume was significantly boosted by the ca. €1.3 billion acquisition of the Residomo portfolio in the Czech Republic by Heimstaden, however, it still represents a y-o-y growth of 68% over Q1 2019 (ca. €2.2 billion) and 28% over Q1 2018 (ca. €2.9 billion).
According to the latest RICS Commercial Property Monitor, occupier and investment sentiment remains mostly positive across main CEE markets with the exception of Bulgaria where the outlook is slightly negative. Retail continues to suffer across the region as demand for retail assets fell on both the occupier and investment sides of the market in most countries.
Bulgaria-based insurance company DZI, part of Belgium's KBC Group, has acquired Mall Varna, an office building located in Varna, Bulgaria. The seller was Hidrostroy, a local company. The transaction price has not been disclosed.
The Park Center shopping centre in Sofia, managed by Ceres Management Services, is now fully leased. On the last business day of 2019, the lease agreement for the last remaining vacant space in the mall (60 sqm on floor 2) was signed, which will be transformed into a new dining concept.
According to the latest RICS Commercial Property Monitor, occupier and investment sentiment remains positive across main CEE markets, even though the Czech Republic has posted its most subdued set of readings in four years. In many countries, demand for retail assets fell on both the occupier and investment sides of the market. Based on rental and capital value projections, secondary retail is visibly suffering in Austria, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.
According to the latest RICS Commercial Property Monitor, CEE countries – most notably the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania – are still global leaders in occupier and investment sentiment. The Central European region’s most mature market, Austria is on a different path, however, with respondents reporting a broadly flat outlook.
The share of food & beverages in modern shopping centres in Sofia is two to three times below the European benchmark, according to the latest report by Colliers International. From 5% a decade ago, it grew to 10-15% of GLA in European cities in present times and is forecasted to reach 20% by 2025. The share of F&B in Sofia shopping centres is about 6% or 20,000 sqm of the total space.
According to the RICS Commercial Property Monitor, Hungary has the strongest occupier sentiment and the Czech Republic has the strongest investment sentiment among the 40 countries surveyed in Q1 2019. Market expectations remained fairly positive across Central and Eastern Europe in the first quarter of the year, with the share of those stating that we have reached the peak of current property cycle decreasing compared to previous quarters.
Investment market momentum is still firmly positive across Central and Eastern Europe but an increasing share of market players feel that commercial property has become expensive in the countries surveyed by the RICS Commercial Property Monitor. Although the majority of the survey’s contributors believe that the market is in the peak phase of the property cycle, growth is set to continue in the coming year.
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