Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Romanian Real Estate Market in 2014

Representing an important investment area, the real estate market went through major transformations imposing new strategies for both developers and investors. At the end of 2013, even still callous, the overall result was positive providing a valuable reinforcement for business approaches in this domain.

The real estate market progressively recovered during 2013 announcing positive results for a 2014 which cannot be defined as excessive but rather looking cautious and premeditated. Transactions in this area are expected to gradually increase providing notable opportunities for the commercial real estate sector. In this perimeter, the office segment seems to be the most engaging unit. Another aspect which is frequently brought into debate concerns the risk appetite which provides sometimes an opportunity for business initiative more venturesome and, in other situations, identifies the most secure alternative which might not guarantee a large profit but it is undoubtedly regarded as entirely reliable. For 2014, the Romanian office segment continues the upward trend of last year since large BPO companies decided to extend their businesses in Romania. As stated in a recent report, not only outsourcing companies announced their intention to extend operations in our country but IT corporations as well, mainly convinced by high performance employees. The overall offer for office spaces to be provided in 2014 covers an average of 120,000 sq m and some developers might postpone deadlines because of an unexpected increase of transactions signed by companies interested to extend their business. As expected, most important projects announced for 2014 are located in Bucharest: Green Gate (30,000 sq m), AFI Business Park (24,000 sq m) and City Offices (25,000 sq m).

Apart from the office segment, supermarkets and hypermarkets intend to expand indicating for developers a clear demand in the retail park-type approaches which comes with a unique format: a relatively short execution period and lower execution costs. Operators in the supermarket/hypermarket field are determined to broaden their activities creating an important niche for developers concerned with the almost motionless overall perspective of the real estate market during the last economic crisis.  Another area which proves highly dynamic is the one representing industrial and logistics projects. A particular characteristic for 2013 was the increasing demand for production spaces. This promising tendency was particularly animated by initiatives coming from the automotive industry. The US based Lear Corporation which is a global automotive supplier signed a lease agreement for 12,000 sq m within Solo Industrial Park. This appears to be one of the most important contracts in Romania for this sector, in 2013. An approximate evaluation performed at the end of 2013 indicates an average of 1,8 million sq m designed for industrial use. Interests for new retail space came from franchisees willing to expand their operations. This particular movement seems to be generally influenced by the positive response obtained through profits coming from shopping centers and galleries. For 2014, analysts predict as well a dynamic evolution in non-core fields such as smaller office buildings or even distressed retail centers. The general attitude expressed towards the real estate investment in Romania, for 2014, focuses on conservative movements, evaluating all risks and generating initiatives in areas showing major potential. Developers and investors are interested in securing their approaches avoiding perimeters which involve risky speculative actions.

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