From January until September, more than 300.000 m² were traded, which represents a yoy increase of 11% over 2017. This cumulative shows, besides, a new record in trading for the first nine months of the year confirming the good moment of the office market in Barcelona. Besides the current high numbers in trading, the market’s net absorption also registers maximum figures with a yoy increase of 36% over last year, with 136.000 m² until the end of the third quarter.
The trading increase from companies which offer flexible spaces services, such as Regus, WeWork, Utopicus among others, which have been responsible for around 10% of the trades so far this year, should be highlighted. Besides, despite the general uncertainty generated at the end of last year, foreign trading is still high, representing 60% of trading during these first nine months. On that issue, Lindy Garber, director of A&T Investor Leasing in Barcelona for CBRE, opines that «the bid on Barcelona is firm and it is now being reflected in the trade of office spaces that’s to the city’s attractiveness for foreign companies».
One of the problems with the Barcelona market is the lack of availability in broad and quality spaces, something that lead to many unsatisfied demands, the market’s new stage of contruction has inspired trade under the formula pre-rental which represents nearly 25% of trades so far this year.
On the other hand, the current levels of demand keep raising the rental prices. During the third quarter of 2018, the prime rent was at 25 €/m²/month, which represents an increase of 8% in one year. Since reaching the lowest level of the cycle between 2013 and 2014, prime rent has increased some 41% and, although it still hasn’t reached its pre-crisis maximum value, CBRE expects for the rising tendency to be maintained for the medium term.
Recovery in the investment market
Concerning the investment market, the year started with the inertia caused by the political uncertainty which appeared at the end of 2017, when many investors paralysed temporarily their activity.
Although the investors slowly started regaining their trust in the Barcelona market, it was in the third quarter that this intense recovery was shown in the numbers. As a result, during the third quarter there transactions within the office sector for a total amount of 445 million de euro, with this being the best quarter since the end of 2016.
In this sense, Xavier Güell, director of Capital Markets in Barcelona for CBRE, comments that «the investment market’s recovery we are experiencing and the investment numbers we’ve been seeing are based especially in Barcelona’s real estate good behaviour during the last 12 months, with particular note for the strength of the international occupants market in Barcelona during the last months, These are the factors that bring confidence to the Barcelona market’s investors».