Office take-up in Bucharest amounted to 132,000 sqm in H1 2014, up by 12% year-on-year, according to the latest survey of The Advisers/ Knight Frank. Pre- leases and relocations each accounted for 29% of leasing deals, while renewals represented another 20%. Notably, firm expansions and new market entries are on the rise- representing 22% of activity- supported by strengthening economic conditions. The Romanian economy powered ahead in 2013, with GDP growth exceeding expectations, reaching 3.5%. Growth of approximately 2.5% is forecast for 2014. Business sentiment continues to improve, with more international firms considering Bucharest as a major outsourcing location in Central and Eastern Europe.
|Green Court Bucharest- building A|
Occupiers in the IT & C sector were the most active players in the first half of 2014, with telecommunication providers Vodafone and Orange signing the two largest deals. Vodafone agreed to prelease 16,000 sqm in the Bucharest One project with the option to further expand, while Orange leased 13,700 sqm in Phase one of Skanska’s Green Court, delivered by OCTAGON CONTRACTING & ENGINEERING in 2013. OCTAGON also built the superstructure of the second building of Green Court office complex, located in northern Bucharest on Gara Herastrau Street.
Another A class office development built by OCTAGON, which was fully leased, is the first building of Hermes Business Campus, stretching over 37,000 sqm and rising eight floors above the ground. The building also has 4 basements, one ground floor and one technical floor. OCTAGON has just finished building the infrastructure of the second building of the project and is now working on the structure.
|Hermes Business Campus- building B|
Bucharest has recently seen a rise in development activity, with a total of nine new and refurbished schemes completed in H 1 2014, providing 120,000 sqm of class A space. The development pipeline has also expanded and currently stands at 200,000 sqm; of this, 55,000 sqm is expected to cover over H2 2014.
Despite the increase in new supply, the average vacancy rate for class A and B stock fell by 6 percentage points year-on-year to 17.4%. This is largely on the back of significant lettings at completed buildings, including the recently delivered Floreasca Park, which was fully leased by The Advisers/ Knight Frank.
Over H 1 2014, headline rents across all major submarkets remained stable. While headline prime office rents are expected to remain in the range of 18- 18.5 US per sqm per month, over the second half of the year, incentives are likely to harden slightly.
|Hermes Business Campus- foundation works on building C|
The first half of 2014 saw a marked increase in property investment activity, with total volumes reaching a remarkable 460 million USD. Investment volumes in 2014 already exceed those of 2013 and, with several prime assets on the market, further major transactions are expected to be completed in the second half of the year. 2014 is on the track to surpass the total amount transacted over the last two years, potentially breaking 2010’s record of 543 million USD.
While transaction activity was dominated by domestic restructuring deals, investment demand remains robust, with both domestic and international effort focused on office and retail assets in Bucharest.
While transaction activity was dominated by domestic restructuring deals, investment demand remains robust, with both domestic and international interest largely focused on office and retail assets in Bucharest.
The largest deal in H 1 2014 saw investment fund Globalworth purchase the Upground complex in Pipera from Deutsche Bank’s RREEF for some 200 million Euro. The deal included the sale of a residential compound, as well as both BOC and BOB towers, for 110 million and 42 million Euro respectively.
While the current strong economic backdrop is attracting greater investor interest, the limited availability of prime office stock across major markets has proven to be a hindrance to activity. However, this is set to change, as Bucharest’s stock of class A buildings continues to increase, helping to improve office market conditions and offering a wide range of opportunities to international investors.
As a result, prime office yields in Bucharest have seen moderate compression over the last twelve months, hardening by 25 bps to stand at 8.00%. Sustained investment demand over the second half of the year is likely to drive prime yields below 8.00%.
OCTAGON CONTRACTING & ENGINEERING
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