Back in 2006, Ric Lewis, CEO and chairman of Tristan Capital Partners, a London real estate investment management firm, decided that the property market was getting a bit frothy and sold almost €1 billion worth of assets out of the portfolio that he and his team managed on behalf of institutional clients. Some of those clients exclaimed “What the heck, you’re calling off the party too early,” and demanded that their money remain invested. Other fund managers did the same and hesitated, but unlike Tristan Capital they plunged back in. The combination of the lure of cheap debt and the burden of capital in pocket was too much and they double-dipped. Most other real estate fund managers never even hesitated, they rolled on and on and…
From the Current Issue
Real estate may be facing some hefty challenges — the euro zone sovereign debt crisis, the likelihood that boom-era investments will fail to refinance, and expectations that valuations and rental growth will continue to disappoint. But real estate managers are hopeful that weak performance in other asset classes — namely government bonds — will entice increasingly cautious investors to property.
The world is forecast to experience huge demographic shifts over the coming 90 years. Changes in population size and configuration will have profound implications for economic and political power, resource distribution and aggregate demand — including the demand for real estate.
The 2012 meeting of The Letter – Europe’s editorial board, which met in the bowels of the Hotel Arts in Barcelona in September 2012, certainly needed no reminding that risk was still on. July and August 2012 were characterised by continuing ructions in the euro zone; this was the time that some of the European Union’s mollycoddled technocrats and politicians found that they couldn’t just blithely go off on their lengthy summer holidays but had to stay behind to help deal with the mess and come up with solutions.
Editor Richard Fleming spoke recently with Philip Cropper, head of real estate finance at CBRE and an executive director at the firm, about the current situation in European real estate markets and the role that is being played by debt finance — or rather, not being played.
My wife Rita and I spent the better part of the Christmas/New Year holidays in Chile this year. Although most of our time was spent visiting with her family (she’s Chilean), I did manage to squeeze in a few business meetings. These included visits with the CEO of a mid-sized Spanish-owned conglomerate, and two of its holdings, one a metal plating and repair business that serves the mining and hydroelectric businesses throughout South America, and the other, an integrated fruit grower, processor and exporter. In the course of these meetings and throughout my travels in and around Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar and Temuco, I learned a lot.
The French economy was stagnant for most of 2012 and, with austerity measures approved in summer 2012, contraction is expected in early 2013. However, while confidence indicators in different areas are all well below historical averages, some of these indicators saw modest improvements toward the end of 2012. The Bordeaux office market is relatively small and leasing activity remains low, with the majority of lease events driven by renewals and lease renegotiations.