CEE volumes surged to €10.7b in 2022 - research

CEE real estate investment volumes reached €10.7 bn in 2022, a 6.6% rise on the previous year, according to new research from Cushman & Wakefield.

With more than €5.7bn worth of deals, Poland continued to lead the way across the region.

In 2022, buyers’ interest focused mostly on offices, particularly in Poland and Romania, which accounted for the highest investment volume in this market segment.

Meanwhile, the industrial sector experienced a slight fall back, especially in the second half of the year. This was partly due to a lack of product in the Czech Republic and investors having to adapt to a higher interest rate environment and anticipating rental growth in Poland.

'Last year also saw a gradual expansion of interest towards retail assets, including shopping centres. However, the most consistent demand was reported for retail warehouses due to the unwavering popularity of e-commerce,' said Jeff Alson, international partner, Poland & CEE capital markets, Cushman & Wakefield.

Poland in the lead
According to Cushman & Wakefield, Poland’s commercial real estate investment volume reached more than €5.7 bn last year. This year, buyers’ interest is expected to focus on offices in regional cities. Regional high-yielding office assets are likely to maintain liquidity and demand, particularly thanks to CEE investment funds.

In Warsaw, due to the limited availability of smaller volume investment deals (around €100 mln) in 2022, market players will be particularly interested to see how this asset class performs in the coming months.

Meanwhile, investment activity in the industrial sector slackened in 2022. However, new supply constraints and an upward pressure on rents are likely to spark renewed interest in industrial assets in the months ahead.

Total investment volumes in the Czech Republic came in at over €1.5 bn. The Czech real estate market is facing the same challenges as other CEE countries: higher financing costs and volatile energy prices.

Its competitive advantages, however, are low vacancy rates and rental growth reported for industrial properties and centrally located office buildings, with an unwavering demand for Czech real estate coming from local and cross-border capital.

However, due to the limited willingness of sellers to transact in the current market environment, Cushman & Wakefield does not anticipate investment volumes to grow significantly in 2023.

Romanian record
After a record year in 2022 in terms of investment volumes which totalled close to €1.3 bn and were driven mainly by local and regional investment funds, 2023 is expected to witness a rebound due to the limited number of core products currently available on the market.

Meanwhile, volumes in Slovakia climbed to over €1.1 bn, as Slovak and Czech investors returned in their droves. Local buyers were virtually absent from the real estate investment market during the financial crisis in 2009 and just after it, but have been slowly ramping up their interest in the past decade. In 2021, domestic buyers accounted for 71% of the country’s total investment volume, followed by 76% in 2022.

The transaction volume in Hungary in 2022 totalled nearly €1 bn. The fundamentals of the Hungarian market remain strong, which is expected to drive strong performance in the latter half of 2023.

'Looking forward to 2023, we expect investor sentiment to improve across Central and Eastern Europe, with a gradual return to single asset transactions in the coming months, especially on the Polish industrial market. However, investors relying on their own financing will enjoy the upper hand,' Alson concluded.


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