According to the data provided during the meeting the major investment transactions to mid-year 2012 have taken place in Russia, Poland and Czech Republic, followed by Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. During H1 2012, 51% of transactions were made in the retail market (which continues to dominate), 28% in the office market (which is below long-term average), 8% in mixed-use, and 6% in both the industrial market and multi-used portfolio. According to Colliers, deal volume has been quite healthy under current economic circumstances. The net value of assets is down to EUR 83 billon from a peak of EUR 87 billion. Legacy debt is starting to thaw, but re-positioning will take time. New debt funds are unlikely to infiltrate the bulk of Eastern Europe, barring Poland; the focus on new debt remains on core/core-plus product in large, liquid markets. Seekers of larger distressed debt portfolios are also largely focused on opportunities in non-EE markets.

“No major upturn in Eastern European transactions is likely in 2013, but gradual improvement can be expected,” said Damian Harringtion, Regional Director, Eastern Europe - Research & Consulting at Colliers International. “Private, local investors are increasingly present, particularly in smaller deals focusing on markets with financial liquidity and core and core-plus product.”

An overview of the markets in Bulgaria and Romania rounded out the event. In regards to the Sofia market, the total supply of Class A and B buildings stands at 1,570,000 m2, in a total of 308 buildings. The vacancy rate is 22.7%, but this has started to decrease for the second consecutive half by 2%. At present only 24 buildings meet international company standards and can be categorized as Class A space; true Class A totals 299,300 m2 (19%). 2011 total demand was a record high at 122,300 m2. 2012 H1 total take - up was 33,700 m2, while 2012 H1 class A take – up came in at 41,900 m2. An important trend to notice, according to Colliers, is that new tenants are continuing to enter the market.

On the Bucharest market, the total stock stands at 1,520,000 m2, with a vacancy rate of 17.5%; out of which there are two main business areas that offer the highest office space category: Floreasca Barbu Vacarescu (124,000 m2, vacancy rate 2%) and CBD (186,000 m2, vacancy rate 18%). Planned office space in Floreasca Barbu Vacarescu (FBV) is 163,000 m2 and in CBD 70,000 m2. The FBV area has displayed more than double the demand compared to CBD in the last 18 months and it has the highest pre-release rates out of all the Bucharest submarkets since 2009.