Central and Eastern European (CEE) investment volumes remained strong in the first quarter of 2020 (Q1) but are expected to drop in Q2 and Q3, according to new research from Colliers International.
Preliminary CEE Q1 investment volumes reached €3.7 bn, despite Covid-19 starting to impact the region at the beginning of March.
This volume was significantly boosted by Heimstaden's €1.3 bn acquisition of the Residomo portfolio in the Czech Republic, but still represents a year-on-year growth of 68% compared to Q1 2019 when volumes reached €2.2 bn. The figure is also 28% higher than volumes for Q1 2018, at €2.9 bn.
After a record-breaking year in 2019, Poland maintained its leading position in the region with a 48% share of the Q1 volume, followed by Czech Republic with 39%, Slovakia (5%), Romania (4%), Hungary (2%) and Bulgaria (2%).
Kevin Turpin, regional director of research, CEE said: 'Due to the various measures imposed to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus, including flights and border restrictions, we expect that the volumes in Q2 and Q3 could be significantly impacted as all parties involved in transaction processes are largely unable to meet or visit properties.'
In addition to the current restrictions, many property owners and managers are currently busy assessing and managing risks relating to their assets. Individual responses to the pandemic by the region’s governments have, to date, mainly been focused on addressing salaries of employees and supporting businesses, particularly those most impacted by the restrictive measures.
Colliers said that other than some potential short-term tax relief, many property owners may well feel left out when it comes to the protective measures. However, an ongoing survey from Colliers suggests that investor appetite remains strong, with volumes of capital for deployment unchanged, and potentially likely to increase.
A key factor remains investors holding off on making decisions for a number of weeks until the situation becomes clearer, Colliers said, with doubt surrounding financing, pricing and the ability to physically view potential opportunities.