European Real Estate Outlook for 2018
Despite the geopolitical uncertainties looming in the year ahead, the outlook for European real estate remains positive with a broadly supportive economic backdrop and bullish market sentiment. Even Spain, one of the hardest hit European countries during the 2008 financial crisis, has come back strongly and is now seen as one of the stable investment bets in the region.
“Germany replaces the UK as Europe's Number 1 safe haven’’ A number of institutional investors are betting on Germany as one of the winning locations and they are not alone. Transaction volumes in Germany overtook the UK for the first time in 2016 since 2012, due to the cooling down of the London market in particular. Thomas Barrack, CEO of US private equity company Colony Capital, and incidentally one of Trump’s key advisors, believes that Europe as a whole represents a big opportunity. Interestingly, his firm has also been targeting Germany, in particular Berlin, as well as markets such as Ireland, our CapitalWatch editor Robin Marriott writes in his monthly.
For 2017, Hutchings sees room for prime yields in Western Europe to tighten by 30- 40 bps while rents are set to rise by 2-3% across the board. Spain in particular is well positioned for the coming years, our Madrid briefing heard. Following its new-found political stability, the country is heading for a period of sustained and sustainable growth as it continues to move from being one of the most uncertain to the most stable market in Europe. As David Brush, chief investment officer of Merlin Properties, put it: ‘Spain is the adult in the room.’
Despite the many political and economic uncertainties clouding Europe’s future, the real estate industry is upbeat about most of its major markets. But Brexit is re- shaping the European real estate map.
CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
TURKISH CITIZENSHIP WITH INVESTMENT
Enacted on 12th January 2017, Ankara will grant citizenship to foreigners who buy at
least USD 1 million worth of real estate or have at least USD 3 million deposited in
Turkish banks, under the condition that this money won’t be withdrawn and the real
estate sold for at least 3 years. After the July 15th attempted coup there has been a
slowdown in foreign sales, and the government hopes that this new policy will act as
an incentive and attract foreign buyers.
NEW TURKISH APPEAL SYSTEM INTRODUCED
On July 20, 2016, a new appeal procedure has entered into force in Turkey with
respect to the relevant articles laid down by the Turkish Civil Procedure Code, named
as “İstinaf Mahkemeleri” in Turkish. In this regard, 7 regional courts in major cities
(İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Samsun) have been
established initially and the previous appeal system has been changed. Decisions
given by the Turkish Courts of First Instance prior to July 20, 2016 will however be
subject to the former appeal system
EB-5 US Investor Visa / Green Card Program
The EB-5 investor visa is a green card option for a foreign entrepreneur who is willing to buy or start a business as direct Investment or to invest in a job-creating project in the USA.
The bill regulating such program was originally due to lapse on September 30, 2015 but was extended several times over the year. Prior to the expiration of the most recent extension until December 16th 2015, the US Congress was considering various immigration bills that would renovate the EB-5 program. Some of the changes that were being discussed within that scope was as follows;
- Minimum capital threshold requirement would be increased to $800,000 for high unemployment areas and $1,200,000 for other areas
- Targeted employment area definition would be amended in a way that eliminates important metropolitan areas from consideration
- Development of a system to ensure that new EB-5 capital investment projects are pre-approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide security to investors with more predictable USCIS processing of visa applications.
However, the EB-5 program has been renewed in its present state until September 30, 2016 with no changes, as there were many controversies going on the proposed amendments and it became clear that certain points of the draft needed further negotiation, comment, and study.
The upcoming months will be critical in ensuring that members of the EB-5 industry
work together to ensure that meaningful reforms take place that will protect all
players of the industry
TURKISH ENERGY NEWS
Turkey’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan has announced that the the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) Project is ahead of schedule, and its completion may likely be earlier than the projected 2018 date. TANAP will bring natural gas primarily to Turkey, but will also supply other European countries via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
The International Court of Arbitrage ruled in favor of Turkey over a gap price dispute between Turkey and Iran, leaving Iran to pay USD 1.9 billion in compensation. In 2012, Turkey sued Iran for overpricing on gas purchases during the four-year period between 2011 and 2015. The two countries have also agreed on a 13.3 percent discount on gas prices delivered from Iran to Turkey.
Renewables to mark energy growth in next 25 years: IEA chief
The renewable energy sector will see the highest growth among all sectors in the next 25 years, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said, while warning about a serious slowdown in the oil sector. “With the launch of ambitious renewable energy policies and the accompanying incentives by China and the U.S., we expect the lowering trend in renewable energy costs to continue,” he noted
NEW JAPANESE INVESTMENTS IN TURKEY
Many Japanese companies have recently set their sights on investing in the Aegean province of Izmir, a region seen as the opening gate to European, Middle Eastern and North African markets. Investing companies include Japanese food giant Nippon Ham, spare automotive parts manufacturer Denso Corp and Yanmar Corp, and Japan’s Sun Chemical, which has started a factory in the Aliağa district in a USD 30 million investment. Inci Holding, one of the Aegean’s largest conglomerates, and Japan’s GS Yuasa Corp signed a deal to collaborate in research and development to co-produce car batteries.