In the first half of the year, commercial real estate market recorded the highest value of investment transactions in history, over twice as high as last year. In the first half of the year, investors paid almost EUR 3.9 billion for commercial, office, warehouse and hotel properties purchased in Poland. Analysts of Walter Herz consulting company predict that 2018 will be another year, which just like 2017, will bring a record value of transactions concluded in this market sector.

Despite the Sunday trade ban, investors focused primarily on the commercial buildings. They invested over half of the total capital on such facilities. Agreements concluded in this segment had a total value of over EUR 2 billion. The subject of almost 30 per cent of the value of finalized contracts was office real estate. The buyers paid over EUR 1.2 billion for them. The remaining part of expenditure, about EUR 0.6 billion, was allocated to the warehouse and hotel sector.

Transaction worth a billion euro

The largest transaction concluded in the first half of the year, was taking over of 28 shopping centers by Griffin RE, including among others, M1 centers for around EUR 1 billion euro. The office sector also saw strong demand from investors. Among the major contracts concluded during this period, Walter Herz specialists also mention the takeover of the Tri Granit investment portfolio by Revetas for approximately EUR 325 and funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which included Cracow office complex Bonarka for Business and Katowice’s Silesia Towers and other projects with a building permit.

In addition, Madison International Real Estate Liquidity Fund VI LP acquired 50 per cent shares in the 220 meter office tower Warsaw Spire A from Ghelamco for approximately EUR 175 million. Whereas, Globalworth Poland bought a five-building office complex Quattro Business Park in Cracow from Starwood Capital Group for EUR 139 million.

In the first half of the year, Atrium Centrum and Atrium Plaza office buildings in Warsaw, with a total area of ​​around 32 thousand sq m have also changed their owner and joined the portfolio of CPI Property Group. Globalworth Poland also purchased Warta Tower office building in Warsaw for EUR 55 million from Kulczyk Real Estate Holding. Moreover, Warburg-HIH Invest fund from Germany became the owner of Pegaz office building in Wrocław, which cost EUR 54 million.

Another record year

The first six months of the year showed that global companies recognize Polish commercial real estate market as an attractive location for investing their capital. However, according to Bartłomiej Zagrodnik, the CEO of Walter Herz, the number of transactions and the volume of real estate offered for sale in Poland allow to anticipate a record-breaking result also this year, when it comes to investment purchases in our country.

– Poland, which has already advanced in the opinion of the world to the status of a mature market, benefits from favorable economic conditions. The group of investors interested in our country is growing from quarter to quarter. This is particularly visible in the office segment. The factor that encourages to invest in our country is the continued strong demand from tenants, resulting in a regular decline in the vacancy rate. Undoubtedly, the wider selection of high-quality properties available on the main office markets in Poland, is also a factor in the increase in transaction value. The potential of the sector is very large. Due to intense activity of developers, the domestic resources in the office segment have recently exceeded the level of 10 million sq m of space, the demand for which has never been greater, – says Bartłomiej Zagrodnik.

Attractive rates of return

– Notably, the investors arriving in Poland can count on much more attractive capitalization rates in our country than in Western European countries. In the case of the best office buildings in Warsaw, they are at the level of 5 per cent, and in the regional cities - about 6 per cent up to 7.3 per cent. The rental rates also encourage to invest money on the Polish market, which should increase over a longer period of time. And there is also the prospect of increasing the value of the investment, – adds Bartłomiej Zagrodnik.

According to the expert, high investment dynamics on the office market, despite rising real estate prices, should also continue in the second half of the year. This is indicated by significant transactions concluded in recent weeks.

Wide range of investment purchases in the office sector

The recently signed contracts include sales of the newest C and D buildings in the Warsaw Gdański Business Center complex, offering a total of 53 thousand sq m to one of the global pension funds for over EUR 200 million by HB Reavis. As well as, the purchase of Pałac Jabłonowskich located at Senatorska Street in Warsaw, with 17 thousand sq m of office space by S+B Gruppe development group from the Commerz Real fund. In addition, the acquisition of Atrium Tower office building located at Al. Jana Pawła II Street in Warsaw, which offers 11,5 thousand sq m of space by the Vienna Vienna Insurance Group.

In recent weeks, the purchase of Plac Małachowskiego office building measuring ​​14.5 thousand sq m has also been concluded by Generali Real Estate. The building is located near Piłsudskiego Square in Warsaw from Europa Capital and White Star Real Estate.

Crown Square office building in Warsaw has also recently changed the owner. The facility is located in the immediate vicinity of Rondo Daszyńskiego metro station, offering over 16 thousand sq m of space that M&A Capital acquired from Invesco Real Estate. Echo Investment sold an office building of 9.7 thousand sq m in Łódź to EPP company for EUR 19 million. The building, located at al. Piłsudskiego Street, was constructed in the second stage of implementation of Symetris Business Park. Finally, Spektrum Tower office building located at Twarda Steet in Warsaw, offering approximately 29.5 thousand sq m of space, was purchased from the Europa Capital fund for EUR 101 million by Globalworth Poland.

Favorable market conditions

Walter Herz analysts emphasize that the investment boom that we observe today is favored by low interest rates, which motivate to look for an alternative to low-interest bank deposits and sovereign bonds. The increase in the number of investments is also supported by the very good economic situation and the improvement of consumer sentiment in our country.

American capital is a primary investor in Poland. It accounts for almost 40 per cent of commercial real estate sales and companies from Western Europe. Asia (South Korea, China, Malaysia) and Africa (South Africa) also increase their participation in investments. The involvement of Polish capital is limited to a small percentage of transactions. It has been that way for many years and there is no indication that something will change in the near future.