Posts tagged with Europe

(I) Construmat 2011: Internationalization process to China and possibly to Brazil

20 September, 2012 No Comments

(Video with English Subtitles)

Construmat 2011, the International Exhibition of construction that was held in Barcelona in 2011, renewed its biennial meeting announcing its progress despite the crisis. The Organization signed an agreement for this show to take place in China in 2012, aiming to help the brick industry penetrate in the Asian market. At the same time they were also awaiting to close a deal with Brazil, to host the show there, with the consequent impact on the Latin American market.

In Spain, it is the most important exhibition of the construction industry, and in Europe one of the largest along with Batimat. The following take place during the show:

* Is a place where builders, developers, architects, and manufacturers of materials converge.

* New processes and developments of innovative materials arise.

* It is a meeting point to analyze, discuss and present the major technology releases, market news, and new industry trends.

Due to the current crisis, demand for construction material has fallen in Europe. Companies that want to grow must go outside (which is also a way to dispose of the surplus in construction machinery that Spain currently holds). Construmat helps especially SME’s, which are the ones that present more difficulties to send missions to China, by participating on their expansion process and advising them about the peculiarities of  other markets (i.e the large Chinese market). Construction is growing dramatically in China due to the internal migration of people from rural areas to the big cities (which I explained in previous posts).

The internationalization of companies that manufacture building materials that were already positioned in other foreign markets, has allowed them to increase their sales (i.e. the group Cosentino, producer of Silestone). According to an interview published by El País, May 15, 2011, Cosentino was well positioned in the U.S. market and stated that 70% of its revenues were from outside of Spain, and hoped to reach 82% in 2013. Its main projects during 2011 were to enter in Asia and Latin America, and to have a total of 30 people in their ​​R&D department, currently focusing its research on new technologies and designs, such as ECO (its organic product, winner of a European award…) “What gives us strength is to do different things“.

(II) Mipim2011 the World’s property market: analyzing topics

13 September, 2012 No Comments

I would like this post to be a meeting point for reflection in this crucial time for the real estate and the financial sectors.  Dr. Nouriel Roubini in 2006, was one of the few to alert the financial community of the crisis that was underway.

Nouriel Roubini, who attended to the 2011 economic forum in Davos, is an advisor in the subject of international economics to the White House, the IMF, The World Bank, and is a professor at NYU’s Stern’s School of Business, and Yale University. Mr Roubini has a Phd. in economics from Harvard University among many other degrees and awards for his work.  In this video Mr Roubini presents in a schematically way the current and future situation of the advanced economies and emerging markets so that real estate investors can direct their investments to markets that they consider will have greater potential of response.

* In the first part of his presentation in 2011, Mr Roubini highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the global economy today:


1 + Despite the severe economic and financial crisis, we are at a stage in which we perceive a slight recovery. In the last two years (counting from 2011 and back) the economy, both in emerging countries (Brics..) and advanced economies (USA and parts of Europe) has shown symptoms of growth.

2 + Due to the crisis, corporations in both the U.S. and Europe have had to cut on expenses (personnel, and overall costs…). Therefore, they are now more prepared to invest as they are stronger than two years ago. HOWEVER, the question posed by Roubini is: Will these companies decide to invest in advanced economies (which are slow-growth countries) or in emerging market economies (for faster growth)?.

3 + The rapid growth of the economies of emerging markets, presents itself to the public as the new item that can be the locomotive of the world’s economy (until now it was solely the US and the advanced economies). Mr Roubini does not only speak about BRICS, China, or India, but also other countries from Central Asia, Middle East and Latin America, where great progress is taking place, as these markets are growing very rapidly.

For the real estate market, growth in emerging markets will be a positive event in the medium to the long term, as it leads to industrialization, and thus to the urbanization and the improvement of infrastructures. China and India are currently under a process of rapid and massive urbanization and industrialization.

4 + 2010 was a year of “risk on” “risk off”. Last spring season people got worried amid the recession in Greece, and the US’s double dip recession.

However, throughout the fall, things began to improve in the financial markets, and when looking at the overall 2010, we could say that it ended up with better perspectives as a result of the fiscal stimulus in the U.S. and other measures taken in Europe to help the countries whose economies were in trouble.

Since the global economy is slowly recovering, it follows that financial markets will also recover (becoming a vicious cycle). It would be the opposite of what happened in 2008 when prices and investment sunk, causing the economy to contract.

- Negatives:

1 – In many advanced economies, the recovery is almost inexistent, due to the large amount of debt of the public and private sectors. This will slow growth since corporations and governments must spend less and save more to reduce debt.

2-This paragraph is related to the previous one. There is a significant and sudden increase in risk of the advanced economies. Not only in countries of the Euro zone such as Spain, Greece, Portugal or Ireland but in countries such as the US, the UK, or Japan among others, due to budget deficits and a big stock of public debt. This increased risk due to public debt will remain a problem for many years to come.

Besides the amount of public debt in these economies, another factor comes into play; the aging population will mean an additional cost to social security, pensions, medical care for the elderly, … this will rise even more their debt.

3 – The financial and economic problems still exist in the Euro zone:  in countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and other potential countries, whose financial problems are becoming chronic and won’t be resolved anytime soon despite the aid given by the European Union. We also have to take into account that Spain and Ireland had the real estate bubble, which in hand with a large amounts of private debt will be even harder to straighten up.

Some of these countries are losing competitiveness in the Euro zone, and are experimenting a negative growth. Spain, Ireland and Greece are still struggling with a contracted economy, while Italy’s is a bit more positive.

A summary of the existing problems:

a-Large deficit and public debt as well as private debt

b-Lack of competitiveness in the international market

c-Lack of structural reform

d-Lack of economic reform.

4-Important public sector debt: lets take the US as example and set the problems the country faces

-Unemployment is high and job creation is insignificant.

-The housing sector has fallen again since 2010 to 2011, with the consequent negative effect on consumption. Failure to pay home mortgages requires owners to leave their homes.

-The states government’s fiscal deficit is very high. While Europe and the UK, are paying attention to their own fiscal problems, in the U.S., politicians don’t conclude any measures.

Until this point of the presentation, we have discussed Roubini’s  global economic analysis. In the next post, there is a reference to emerging economies, entering to further analyze the current economy and future prospects in certain specific countries.

(II) Real Estate Investment in Punta del Este – URUGUAY

15 September, 2011 No Comments

Uruguay is a tourist destination where people who went once, usually like to repeat. This makes a positive effect on the return of any real estate investment, especially of vacation properties.

Uruguay finds itself in a full expansion that has allowed, after a period of growth, to achieve economic stability. It focuses on low public spending policies, competitive tax rates, in addition to an improved tax collection, and a relatively open trade regime.

Besides the economic stability and the country’s strong legal system, the Uruguayan government has an open attitude towards foreign direct investment (FDI), by eliminating unnecessary paperwork such as previous registrations and authorizations, as well as restrictions that discriminate against local or foreign investors. This allows foreign capital to have no restrains in case they desired to participate in local companies. The legal and mercantile procedures to establish a corporation in Uruguay are simple, and the initial capital invested can benefit from tax exemptions, or VAT.

Punta del Este is emerging as one of the best business opportunities in the country. It is the most attractive real estate investment due to its location, like a “VIP real estate destination”. Despite Montevideo, Punta del Este has registered the highest number of transactions of second hand/vacation homes, whose main buyers come from Brazil, Argentina, United States or Europe, with an increasing number of Uruguayans as  their society gains purchasing power.

This part of the country offers virgin landscapes, combines nature and a very well designed modern city, with  its commercial and residential neighborhoods while respecting the area’s coastline natural beauty, which enables you to enjoy countless “first line views to the beach”, adding value to the property. Usually, properties acquired in Punta del Este are occupied most of the time, fostered by a climate that has an average temperature of 30 º C in January, which compared to Barcelona or Madrid, is “a bit warmer”.

As a relevant fact, I would like to highlight some investment figures that attempt to develop different markets with less conventional structures. They base their functioning in ways that are more secure in contrast to the potential risks, promoting a more efficient development:

* Building Trust at cost, which would be associated to the market of residential housing.

* Condo Hotels, associated to the development of second homes in tourist areas and for selling purposes.

In a future post I will make a deep analysis of these figures that are increasingly becoming more powerful in this housing market.