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The Romanian investment market grew in the first half of the year. Investors active in land transactions continued to seek new projects

The first half of the “pandemic year” closed with a total value of investment transactions worth 408 million euro in Romania, around 18% above the first semester of 2019, with office assets accounting nearly 86% of volumes, according to Colliers International’s market report for the first semester of 2020. Still, the outlook is uncertain since several large big-ticket items have either been frozen or fell through. On the opposite pole, the local land market continues to see deals closing and significant interest.

2020 was expected to be the best year in the post-crisis cycle for the real estate investment market in Romania, Colliers International consultants say, but the coronavirus pandemic context slowed its performance in the first half of the year. At the same time, several large transactions, in excess of 100 million euro, including one that would have set a record for the local market in terms of size, have been postponed in the current context or have even been cancelled. 

The predictability of revenue streams remains the biggest issue over the short term for offices and hotels in particular. Nevertheless, there is now more capital than ever due to liquidity injections from central banks and fiscal programs from governments. Consequently, there is a strong case that investment activity will snap back once occupancy returns around normal levels”, explains Mihai P─âtrulescu, Senior Associate Investment Services at Colliers International. 

There is potential to see some opportunistic or value-add transactions

In spite of a lack of benchmark trades in Romania, the CEE trend of higher yields as well as deteriorating sovereign risk for the country would have offered arguments to see a rise for both office and retail assets in Romania, but we increased only the latter. We base our decision on market talk to keep office yields unchanged (i.e. levels yet to be tested by the market in the new context) as well as the fact that before the coronavirus issue, quite a few large deals were in fairly advanced stages at below 7% yields.

New plots are put up for sale with rather normal prices, as if the pandemic did not exist

In the land market, the activity is almost normal and some deals even went ahead during the lockdown period. Demand from retail players has arguably been the best in the first semester of the year. Though demand for plots geared at big shopping centers/malls has indeed stagnated, retail park developers and big box owners all continued to look towards new projects in various parts of the country that have a subpar offering of modern retail spaces. We even have a new entry on this space that surfaced during the lockdown period.

A rising category on the residential side after the COVID-19 lockdown is that of houses: hence, several developers are also looking at land plots on the outskirts of major cities, where prices are also lower. Offices are a different story: given the healthy pipeline, particularly in Bucharest, and uncertainties on the leasing side for instance, related to work from home and other aspects, many buyers are in wait-and-see mode. Still, even here, those following a strategy of developing and selling must continue to look for new projects. Hotels, which were one of the hot areas before the coronavirus, continue to see good interest, perhaps also on account of the possible timing: buy now at a good price, develop and open the new project in around two years, when the market could be in decent shape”, says Sînziana Oprea, Director Land Agency at Colliers International.

Supply remains adequate, from various categories of sellers which have been present in the market in the last years.On the price front, Colliers International consultants expect things to remain rather flat (with potential downward adjustments only on a case-by-case basis), unless things take a sharp turn for the worse.  

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You can download the Colliers Mid-Year Romanian Real Estate Market Report here.


Related Experts

Silviu Pop

Head of Research | Romania

Bucharest

Before joining Colliers mid-2017 as Head of Research for Romania, Silviu Pop worked with ING Bank for close to three years as an economist, covering macroeconomic/financial market themes for Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. His previous professional experience includes working almost 7 years as a financial journalist at various media outlets in Romania, including the sole business-oriented TV station in Romania, where he hosted a daily show for a period of time; during this interval,  he won a number of scholarships, including a stint with Reuters. He holds a BSc in economics at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies.

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Sinziana Oprea

Director

Bucharest

Sinziana started her activity in Colliers in 2006 within the administrative team and 1 year later was promoted Assistant for the Land Department.

 

As a result of her remarkable progress and her will to build a brokerage career, in 2009 Sinziana took another step up in her career and became Associate within the Land Department. As one of the main agents of the team, she focused on client needs analysis, ensuring effective communication and building up long term relationships. She specialized in retail parks developments and played a key role in assisting major retailers to find strategic locations for their future expansion plans.

 

Upon her promotion to Senior Associate position in 2012, Sinziana gained a broader portfolio of clients and switched focus to office and residential sectors, two markets that have started to become particularly active. Due to her deep

expertise in the land market and to her client focus orientation, Sinziana fulfills with success the highest expectations by making perfect matches between the vendors’ and buyers’ interests. She is also in charge with market prospecting and budgeting, as well as with drawing up financial analysis for various project developments.

Starting with mid-2014, Sinziana became Associate Director within Colliers Land Agency. Under the new role, she also provides assistance and coordination to the other team members and is responsible for drawing up the Land Agency

overall strategy.

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