Hotel investment in Barcelona reaches 160 million this quarter

Real estate investment in the hotel sector remains very active in Barcelona, ​​stimulated by the good evolution of tourism in the city in the last two years.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 17:10
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Hotel investment in Barcelona reaches 160 million this quarter

Real estate investment in the hotel sector remains very active in Barcelona, ​​stimulated by the good evolution of tourism in the city in the last two years. In the first quarter, the sector started with five sales for a total volume of 160 million euros.

The figure could have reached 240 million if the sale of the AC Hotel Barcelona Forum for 80 million had gone through, but the operation was blocked at the last minute by a Barcelona City Council committee.

The main transaction in the first three months of the year was the sale of the Hampton by Hilton Barcelona Fira Gran Via by ASG to the British fund London

Compared to last year's start, the volume is 30% lower, although, if the operation of the AC Forum is taken into account, it is equal. In addition, it should be borne in mind that the 2023 financial year began with the sale of the Sofia hotel for 180 million. Over the past seven years, the average investment in hotels in the city has stood at 340 million, including 2021, when the city's record 778 million was set because covid forced many hoteliers to box.

The sector considers that the acceleration of activity in the market in 2023 and at the beginning of this year shows a trend. "Some of the operations closed this first quarter are the result of a very long maturation process, although it is not a coincidence that they have been closed now," comments the Cushman hotel specialist partner

"When we came out of the pandemic, there was a lot of talk in the sector about the champagne effect. This savings bank has already been exhausted, but the demand has remained even with inflation. There is a change in consumption, in which tourist products have gained positions in the order of preference of consumers", explains the partner of 3 Capital Real Estate, Juan Gallardo.

In recent years, investor interest in hotels in Barcelona has collided with the high prices that owners were asking for the assets. The sector has always pointed to Peuat, the hotel regulation promoted by ex-mayor Ada Colau, as the main reason for this mismatch; considers that it has revalued the establishments already open in the city because it prevents new openings.

"A price adjustment is not taking place as has happened in other sectors such as offices or retail trade," says CBRE's head of hoteliers in Spain, Jorge Ruiz. The consultant also points to the good evolution of the sector as the main basis for sustaining the investment market. On the other hand, he points out that, with this scenario, Peuat no longer slows down operations, but ends up speeding them up.

"In Barcelona, ​​the supply is limited because no new hotels can be opened. It's not like Madrid, where you can reposition an office building in the tourism business. If an asset goes on the market at a reasonable price in the Catalan capital, there is usually a lot of interest", comments the expert.

For the end of the year, the consultants prefer not to make forecasts, but they recognize that the signs are good. In this sense, they point out that there are several operations already underway that could bear fruit in the short term. On the other hand, it must also be taken into account that all this activity is being recorded in an environment of high interest rates. "Funds have been out of the game for a long time because the cost of debt prevented them from buying, but it is foreseeable that from the summer, when the European Central Bank corrects the cost of debt downwards, they will gradually return to the market ”, says Halle.

On the other hand, heritage hotels can play an important role. "The bank is encouraging the sector because it also values ​​the evolution of the hotel business very positively", comments Gallardo. "Just as in other segments of the real estate market the tap is turned off by the bank, the situation is different in the hotel sector", adds Ruiz. With cheaper debt, the market is expected to accelerate operations.