Total commercial real estate investment volume in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) reached €2.6 billion in the first quarter of 2013 (Q1 2013), three times the level achieved during Q1 2012 and the highest first quarter result since 2008, according to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE.
The most active markets were Russia (€1.8 billion) and Poland (€400 million), although the smaller economies within the CEE have also seen an increase. The largest transactions were in Moscow: Metropolis shopping centre was acquired for around €900 million by Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and AFI Development’s completion of its acquisition of the remaining 50% in Aquamarine BC III, a project close to the Kremlin. In Poland significant deals were RREEF’s acquisition of Green Corner and Hines Global REIT’s acquisition of New City, both in Warsaw.
Offices and retail continue to dominate, representing 44% and 37% of the market respectively. Industrial properties are increasing significantly in popularity however, now constituting 19% of total property investment volume during Q1 2013.
Jos Tromp, CBRE Head of CEE Research & Consulting, commented: “Interest in industrial properties is driven by a variety of factors including relatively low rent levels, limited development activity (both with the exception of Russia), and a relatively high income component in total returns compared to more traditional asset classes.”
Mike Atwell, CBRE Head of Capital Markets, CEE & Poland commented: “The upturn of interest in the CEE is entirely in line with the forecasts made in CBRE’s 2012 Real Estate Investor Intentions survey. Our 2013 research throws light on how the market may change further in the coming year. Specifically, of the 14% of investors who see the CEE as the most attractive investment choice for 2013, the majority considers Poland to be the most attractive market, and the preference for Poland exceeds that of France, Spain and the Nordics.
"In terms of cities, Warsaw was seen as the third most attractive city for purchases in 2013. Clearly this is very positive news for Poland and with improved market circumstances generally we hope to see a knock-on effect elsewhere in the region.”