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“The Amazon effect” – American e-commerce giant influenced 2013's warehouse market landscape

     
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Tomasz Olszewski, JLL
Tomasz Olszewski, JLL

Thriving economy, good GDP growth prospects and Amazon's decision to enter Poland has significantly accelerated warehouse space demand, according to the latest report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Jones Lang LaSalle presents 2013 summary and the key trends for 2014 on the industrial market in Poland.

Demand – record volume of warehouse space leased in 2013

The net demand for warehouse space accelerated quarter on quarter along with GDP growth dynamics, reaching a total of 1.26 million sq m in 2013, 26% out of which were contracts signed by Amazon in Wrocław and Poznań. However, even if one excludes the Amazon deals, last year’s net demand was 926,000 sq m, which is well above the 755,000 sq m seen in 2012. Also, gross demand, which includes new take-up and lease renewals, reached a historical maximum in 2013 - 1.87 million sq m (38% larger than in 2012 and 11% more than in the previous record result in 2011).

The great importance of deals signed by the American e-commerce giant has also been reflected in the regional structure of demand. They have largely contributed to the top positions of Poznań and Wrocław regions, where gross take-up stood at 423,000 sq m and 415,000 sq m respectively. In the case of Poznań, this translated into rising from fifth to first place on the list of the most popular industrial regions.

The highest demand for industrial floor space came from retailers, whose share (largely due to Amazon deals) amounted to 49%, followed by logistic operators (23%) and automotive sector (12%).

Vacancy rates – slight increase registered  at year end

According to www.warehousefinder.pl, at the end of Q4 2013, a total of 850,000 sq m was unoccupied, equal to 11.4% of existing market stock - up from 10.1% largely due to high levels of tenant churn and not to an increase in supply, the market also saw a few bankruptcies resulting in space being vacated.

The highest amounts of vacant space are found in the markets of Central Poland (15.8%), Warsaw (14.6%) and Wrocław (11.7%), the lowest - in Poznań (4.4%).

Less new stock, but large projects under construction

At the end of Q4 2013, the total stock on the Polish industrial market was 7.45 million sq m. During 2013, the market expanded by 305,000 sq m, which was the second lowest figure in the history after 2010 and a fall of 41% comparing to 2012 completions figure. Such a low result has been caused by a number of factors - tenants attracted by lower rents offered in already existing projects, lease space optimization and the long winter causing many projects to be started late.

The regions which saw the highest volume being completed included Wrocław (117,000 sq m), Warsaw (78,000 sq m) and Upper Silesia (51,000 sq m), Panattoni was the most active developer, delivering 90,000 sq m of new space, followed by SEGRO (85,000 sq m), Prologis (42,000 sq m), Goodman (25,000 sq m) and MLP Group (20,000 sq m).

Five BTS projects, with a joint floor space of 82,000 sq m, were completed in 2013, which results from notable increase of interest in Poland as a location for production facilities. Although companies representing this sector predominantly choose to handle operations in owner-occupier buildings, some may consider more flexible leases.

As of December 2013, 714,000 sq m of industrial space was in the construction stage, which was the largest amount since 2008. Almost half of that volume was attributable to Amazon - the largest amounts are now under construction in Wrocław and Poznań.

The share of speculation on the market is still insignificant. The largest speculative volumes are currently being constructed on markets with limited supply, such as the Tri-City or Szczecin, and their total floor space stands at a mere 42,000 sq m.

In spite of the low share of speculative construction in the pipeline underway (5.8%), developers look set to start this type of projects. The largest market players have secured titles to large amounts of industrial land, and are ready and able to swiftly deliver buildings. One can assume, however, that the market will not to be returning to the pre-crisis times, which were characterised by a high level of speculative projects.

Rents - minor fluctuations in 2013

The high level of tenant activity during 2013 did not influence the rents found on the market. Rents are largely influenced by location, type of project, length of lease, size, technical improvements needed for the client’s requirements, tenant’s credibility and its long-term ability to handle the rental burden. Rents for Small Business Units are markedly higher. Large distribution warehouses, on the other hand, predominantly located on the outskirts of cities, are characterised by lower rents.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle data, published on the www.warehousefinder.pl, at the end of 2013, the highest effective rents were typically found in the urban regions -Warsaw Inner City (€3.6 to €5.1 /sq m / month), Wrocław (€3.4 to 3.9 / sq m / month) and Łódź (€2.75 to €3.7 / sq m / month). High rents are also a feature of the markets with scarce supply - Kraków (€3.3 to €4.0 / sq m / month) and Szczecin (€2.8 to €3.4 / sq m / month). Lower effective rents are found in the Warsaw Suburbs (€2.1 to €2.8 / sq m / month), Poznań (€2.5 to €3.15 / sq m / month) and in Upper Silesia (€2.4 to €3.3 / sq m / month).

Regional Analysis – a succesful year for Wrocław and Poznań

At the end of 2013, the total industrial warehouse and production stock totalled 7.45 million sq m, of which 6.88 million sq m (i.e. 92%) is the stock of the five largest markets: Warsaw, Upper Silesia, Poznań, Central Poland and Wrocław. The remainder can be characterised as subsidiary markets of importance on the local level.

Tomasz Olszewski, Head of Industrial Agency in Central and Eastern Europe, Jones Lang LaSalle, comments: “The differences between main industrial regions in Poland are starting to get more and more defined. Upper Silesia is attracting numerous automotive and production companies as well as logistics operators. Poznań and Wrocław are, to a larger degree, becoming nearshoring locations for western European logistics, and export-bound production. Warsaw region is predominantly focused on catering to the logistics needs of the capital city and the premises of many retail chains. Finally, Central Poland, which is increasingly integrating with the Warsaw region, is the main distribution centre for companies operating across the country”.

With industrial stock totalling 2.63 million sq m, Warsaw remains by far the largest market in the country, followed by Upper Silesia (1.43 million sq m), Poznań and Central Poland (each of 1.02 million sq m). However, a major reshuffling in the ranking this year is expected. When the projects now underway are completed, Poznań will markedly outstrip Central Poland, and the latter region will be competing with Wrocław for the fourth position.  

2013 summary and 2014 outlook – demand expected to reach 1 million sqm

According to numerous economic forecasts, Poland is expected to experience a period of accelerating GDP growth. Because of the strong correlation between the overall shape of the economy and the trends observed on the industrial market, it is expected to translate into a higher demand for warehouse space.

“Despite promising economic prospects, it will be extremely difficult for 2014 to match last year’s excellent result, due to the unlikely event of another investment on such a scale as Amazon. In an optimistic scenario, net demand for industrial space shall reach 1 million sq m in 2014. We also expect that more space will be developed as built-to-suit-projects. The supply vs demand ratio remains relatively well-balanced. Taking into account all the forecasts, it is reasonable to assume, that the demand for warehouse space will be increasing at a pace, that shall lead to a drop in space availability, meaning that rents will either remain at current levels or be pushed up slightly in the main regions”, Tomasz Olszewski summarised.

Źródło: JLL
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