The logistics sector has been shaken in recent months by the changes in contracting caused by the end of the pandemic and, even more so, by the rise in interest rates, which has caused a 67% drop in purchases of ships, the delay of many construction projects and a drop in sales prices of around 20%, according to the investment director of the Industrial and Logistics area of the CBRE consultancy, Carlos García Redondo.
The manager, who presented the XI Logistics Market Study at SIL, stressed that despite everything, the vast majority of logistics operators are optimistic, because the demand for warehouse rentals is maintained, and 66% expect it to grow in the year coming, which will cause a new rise in rents, after the increases of 8.7% and 3.3% suffered in the central area and in Catalonia at the end of last year.
García Redondo explained that the rise in interest rates forces investors to pay less for real estate (because they are financed with loans, which now have a higher cost), which has reduced sales by 67%. Property valuations have dropped by 20%, but it is not enough to match operations. "It will be difficult for the claims of sellers and buyers to balance -García acknowledged-, surely until next year, because there are still rate hikes."
The higher cost of financing is also having an impact on developers, as well as the increase in construction costs, and has led to the delay of part of the projects that were planned. 20% of the projects in the downtown area have been halted and 10% in Catalonia, where demand is stronger and there is a lack of more modern, flexible and sustainable warehouses, such as the ones logistics operators now need. In the community, García Redondo points out, there are now 440,000 m² of logistics warehouses under construction, 96% available for rent. "The developers here are willing to take more risks because in quality warehouses, in the first and second metropolitan areas, there is currently less than 1% empty space."
In the first quarter, 690,000 m² of logistics warehouses were rented in Spain, 1.5% more than a year ago, although the areas of Madrid and Barcelona have fallen slightly.
In recent years, García explained, the profile of tenants has changed. E-commerce operators, who in 2020 came to rent 43% of the warehouses in the Downtown area and 27% in Catalonia, have absorbed barely 2% in the first quarter. Other sectors have taken over. Thus, the operators that provide order preparation services stand out, having contracted 25% of the warehouses in the Central area and 33% in Catalonia. Following them stand out the supermarkets, which contracted 22% of the area in the center and 19% in Catalonia, and the transport and distribution companies, which rented 27% of the warehouses in Catalonia and 21% in the center.