Cushman & Wakefield today presented an overview of its domestic operations for 2015 and outlook for 2016.
Eric van Leuven, Cushman & Wakefield managing partner, said, “2015 was an exceptional year for the real estate industry and especially the investment sector, with total investment volume lagging Cushman & Wakefield's estimate of €2 billion only because many transactions have been carried forward to this year. Offices, retail and industrial markets also showed improvement, with demand in the office sector as of November exceeding transaction volume across 12 months in the previous year, and with the retail sector also showing a clear recovery in demand, now no longer limited to prime locations and assets but also including secondary markets”.
“Cushman & Wakefield saw its best performance in Portugal ever, with revenues up 27% on 2014. The best-performing departments were investment, offices and retail. Non-transactional departments also delivered very strong results, primarily asset services and valuation”, added Eric van Leuven.
“The volume of real estate investment in Portugal's commercial sector exceeded the highest on record at approximately €1.9 billion, 90% of which derived from foreign investors. The increasingly pronounced trend toward portfolio transactions nearly doubled the average transaction size to around 36 million in 2015. This strong investment demand should continue into 2016, possibly reaching another all-time high in investment volume,” he says.
In 2015, Cusman & Wakefield's investment department was involved in over 20 real estate investment transactions in offices, logistics, retail and urban redevelopment. A record year for the broader real estate investment market, this was also the best year ever for this department. Some of the highlights in the year were the sale of Torre Ocidente, Expo Tower, Edifício Caribe, Liberdade 71 and Quarteirão Duque de Loulé; the acquisition of 9 office buildings in Quinta da Fonte and two buildings for refurbishment on Avenida da Liberdade.
The offices team, which delivered strong results in 2015, , was involved in the leasing of some 30,000 square meters of new office space, including the completion of the lease for Art’s Business Center and Torres Adamastor, a range of renegotiation processes and the sale of an Alcatel building in Carnaxide.
The team is currently tasked with representing a number of multinationals in developing their real estate strategies for Portugal and the lease of some 35,000 square meters of office space in the greater Lisbon area, including Café Lisboa and Liberdade 108 (Avenida da Liberdade); Torre Fernão Magalhães (Parque das Nações); Defensores de Chaves 45 and Almirante Reis 65; Office 123; Parque Suécia (Carnaxide); Elevo (Alfragide), Miraflores Premium 1 and 5 (Miraflores) and 10 buildings in Quinta da Fonte (Porto Salvo).
Our retail department's results in 2015 were consistent with the broader real estate market. Street retail deals totalled more than 10,000 square meters including new flagship stores for Porsche Design, Rimowa and the emblematic Boutique dos Relógios Plus on Av. da Liberdade. The team was also assigned to the sale of a range of high-profile urban redevelopment projects, particularly in retail.
International client representation, which has long been central to Cushman & Wakefield's retail practice, accounted for 20% of total revenue and posted significant growth with 3 new mandates in this segment.
Long a part of the firm's DNA, Cushman & Wakefield's shopping centre team advised investors and developers in commercial feasibility analyses for more than 314,000 square meters of gross lettable area.
The industrial team had a relatively good year despite the stagnation still lingering in this market, and especially the logistics segment. The year was marked by the sale of several industrial assets including Unilever's old Jerónimo Martins plant in Sacavém, Merck's former facilities in Mem Martins and an industrial unit in Abrunheira, Sintra. Tenant representation activity was also particularly strong and included assisting Bounce Portugal in identifying and negotiating its first trampoline park venue in the retail area of Alfragide.
Cushman & Wakefield's non-transactional departments also posted excellent results.
The real estate asset services team had a very positive year as a result of the excellent performance of assets under management, which has helped improve clients' confidence and further cement existing contracts. This department currently has 36 office blocks, 5 shopping centres and 4 logistics plants under management, amounting to an area of around 330,000 square meters and annual revenue of 41 million Euros.
Cushman & Wakefield’s valuation & advisory team has maintained its position as market leader, advising leading local and international investors and valuing properties worth more than 20 billion Euros in the year. We have also further expanded our market share in retail, residential and hospitality, with this last sector taking considerable weight in as a result of working closely with Cushman & Wakefield's international Hospitality group.
The project management department was highly diversified in 2015, and its activities included the remodeling of an industrial unit for ABB and owner representation and project management for an urban redevelopment project on Rua Augusta, in Lisbon. The team also completed fitouts, architecture and project management assignments for 3M, Techdata, Cerner and Sky, and a project management assignment for the new Top Shop store in Colombo, which is due to open in the first quarter of 2016.
The Research & Consultancy department performed strongly in cross-disciplinary market studies, largely working with the Valuation and Agency Leasing teams in analyses of best alternative uses. The rebound in investment activity has brought back demand for performance analyses largely for shopping centres.
In research, the team released 4 new publications regarding the local real estate market and has remained the primary source of reference for the industry.
Looking forward, Eric van Leuven commented: “We go into 2016 with renewed confidence, but still cautious due to the weakness of the economic recovery in Portugal and Europe, and geopolitical tensions. On the plus side, the excess liquidity in many geographies and the weak supply of real estate investment options should continue to benefit the real estate market, and Portugal in particular, which despite being small and in recovery, is viewed as relatively mature, transparent and low-priced. Urban redevelopment will remain a priority, but new developments should also begin to rebound, helped by a more dynamic occupational market in both retail and offices, and by banks' slightly improved willingness to lend. We also predict an ongoing decline in yields, especially for secondary products, narrowing the premium between secondary and prime products”.
“We predict continued growth as we celebrate our 25th anniversary in Portugal, with our new majority shareholders following the merger with DTZ looking to grow both organically and via acquisition”.