The supply gap on the Polish office market means that office buildings across the country will continue to enjoy great interest from both tenants and investors, agreed the panellists of Eurobuild CEE’s 6th Invested Interest – Investment Market Conference at the Intercontinental Warsaw hotel on February 27th.
There was no such unanimity, however, when it came to the impact on the Polish real estate investment market of the current pandemic . Almost everyone present had something to say about the coronavirus, starting with the opening lecture by Witold Orłowski, the chief economic advisor of PwC in Poland, right up to the closing panel of the meeting on the investment market’s development prospects, which was moderated by Przemysław Felicki, the director of the capital markets department at CBRE.
“New office hubs are draining tenants from older buildings, which may soon become a challenge for their asset managers. The area around Rondo Daszyńskiego in Warsaw city centre is one such magnet, as the mistakes made with ‘Mordor’ in Mokotów have been avoided and it was created from the outset as a quarter in which the office development complemented retail and residential. And with the metro station there it couldn’t fail,” commented Piotr Trzciński, the Poland head of the transactions at Savills Investment Management.
“We are now looking at the regional office markets and now have even drawn up a plan to establish an office investment platform for provincial cities this year – the situation there is healthy and stable, you can predict entry and exit levels with some confidence. Our plan is to invest in real estate in the centres of these cities,” revealed Piotr Fijołek, a senior partner at Griffin Real Estate.
“The Polish investment market has high liquidity and is diversified in terms of sources of capital. In fact, the only challenge is the problem with the availability of development sites. As for the coronavirus – this could cause ripples, but only in the short term,” insisted Peter Pecnik, the CEO of HB Reavis Poland. “I wouldn’t be so sure,” countered Piotr Trzciński. “Even if the epidemic does not dampen investment activity in Q2 or Q3 of this year, it could be doing so by the end of 2020 or early 2021. Some capital could be withdrawn, some frozen and some development projects planned for the end of the year might be put on hold. It all depends on when the virus is brought under control,” added Savills IM’s expert.
The difference in opinion also extended to the situation on the retail real estate investment market, which has clearly been in retreat. Interest in transactions has dropped but this may be a good time to go shopping when there is a big discount due to the lack of large players – believed the participants of the discussion.
Further reports from the conference will soon be available on the Eurobuild website, and an extensive photo report from the event can be found in the April issue of the magazine.