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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » April 16, 2008
SPECIAL REPORT - Residential Market: Changing Times
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Hunting for Real Estate Finance in CEE
April 16, 2008   
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Enrique Lacalle, Chairman, Central Europe Meeting Point

What is the leading theme of this year's Central Europe Meeting Point on April 22-24?

Given the international credit crunch, how to get bank financing for real estate developments in CEE will be the CEMP's "star" issue at symposium sessions as well as in the conversations at the exhibition area. Proof of this is that two of our sponsors are banks: La Caixa and Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG.

What are the most prominent subjects at the third CEMP symposium?
The most important issues to be discussed at the CEMP's symposium this year are: 1. how to get bank financing for real estate developments in CEE; 2. non-residential property markets in Poland; 3. residential markets in Central Europe in general and in Poland in particular; 4. analysis of the residential market in Poland; 5. the construction industry in Poland; 6. country analysis of Bulgaria and Hungary; and 7. the legal and urban development barriers in Poland.

In what ways is Poland an attractive market to Spanish investors?
Polish residential markets are now experiencing a high rate of supply growth and this tendency should be expected to stay for a few years to come. The growing number of operating companies and rapid increases in land prices in the country's top cities have forced many developers and investors to search for new promising and more profitable alternative markets such as for instance "third-tier" Polish cities (such as Bydgoszcz, Olsztyn, Szczecin, Rzeszów) Also, non-residential markets are starting to be very attractive to Spanish developers because in 2007 yields have stabilized across both the office and retail sectors, with the prime product traded at around 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, the prime industrial yields settled at around 6.75. This almost brings the yields in Poland to Western European levels. This means that investors view Poland as a core European market with little additional risk, which, in my opinion, is very positive.

Over the past 14 years, Spain has been an El Dorado for construction companies. Is Poland developing as dynamically?
Certainly, Poland is becoming one of the most attractive countries in all of Europe for real estate investors. Poland will receive 75 billion euros from the EU, which, in my opinion, will have very positive effects. However, there are two differences to be highlighted. On one hand, in Spain, a good deal of foreign investments in real estate in the 90s were on the Mediterranean coast, a very warm and sunny place. And on the other hand, administrative and legal processes in Spain were easier than they are today in Poland.
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