Modest resurgence in liquidity on the investment market
Investment in new-build homes declines by 73%
In the third quarter of 2023, investment in real estate totalled €2.3 billion, up 28% on the second quarter. Receding inflation and stabilising interest rates have encouraged parties to return to real estate investment. A degree of liquidity seems to be returning to the market, though parties continue to adopt a rather cautious, wait-and-see attitude.
In terms of investment allocation in office real estate, a reversal in the trend appears to be emerging. Most striking, however, is the marked decline in investment volume in the new-build residential market, down 73% on last year. This is reported by CBRE Netherlands – part of the listed CBRE Group, the world’s largest real estate consultancy – based on figures for the third quarter of 2023.
Although performance in the third quarter traditionally outshines the two preceding quarters, this year CBRE notes that the decline in investment volume has been less marked in comparison with last year. Investment in the first quarter of 2023 was down 63% compared to the previous year. In the third quarter of 2023, the decline had slowed at 48%.
This suggests that a degree of liquidity is returning to the market, albeit at a much lower price level. CBRE is seeing a slight pick-up in the market as inflation seems to be receding and interest rates are stabilising. Most of the activity is on the part of buyers who have recently raised considerable liquidity to invest in real estate.
Investment allocation in the office sector still at a historic low
CBRE points out a historic low in the volume of office investments as a share of total investments. Only 15.8% of total investment volume was invested in office properties. For many years, this share had been as high as 30%, clearly indicating a trend reversal which began during the Covid pandemic. A sharp drop in value and uncertainty surrounding hybrid working are two key factors in this development. That said, it is worth asking whether this altered view of the risks associated with office investment is justified when the operating results of office properties are taken into consideration.
Investment in new-build homes drying up
The most notable trend of all is the huge drop in investment volume on the new-build home market, down by approximately 73% compared to last year. This can be explained by the rise in the necessary yield on these investments, partly due to rising construction costs and the stringent building programmes (geared towards affordability) which property developers are currently facing.
An adjustment to or expansion of housing programmes could serve to offset the pricing decrease. However, real world experience suggests that there is little chance of such measures being implemented in consultation with municipalities. To make the housing sector more shock-proof and enhance the financial viability of projects in economically volatile times, a more flexible attitude to the affordability programme is needed.
Buyer increasingly adopting smaller scale purchase strategy
For investments in existing housing complexes, the loss of momentum has been less dramatic. In this area, investment volume has declined by 44%, compared to new builds where the transaction volume declined by no less than 67%. Within this submarket, however, a clear change in the type of buyer can be observed. Prompted by rising interest rates, decreased investment value and the ongoing threat of regulation, these buyers are mostly investing in existing housing complexes as part of an individual sell-off strategy.
Investors pursuing this strategy make these purchases with the aim of eventually selling the properties on an individual basis on the owner-occupied housing market. The surge in investors buying housing complexes through this strategy is an indication that many more properties will disappear from the rental housing market in the coming years. This is partly driven by a sharply deteriorating investment climate in which the continued management of rental properties provides insufficient returns compared to the individual sale of rental properties on the owner-occupied housing market. If this trend continues, the rental market will shrink by several thousand more housing units in the coming years.
Source: CBRE Research
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE: CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company with headquarters in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company employs more than 105,000 people worldwide and provides services in over 100 countries. CBRE offers strategic advice and guidance in real estate sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our websites at www.cbre.nl and www.cbre.com.