The land market in Bucharest has remained active over the past 12 months, in terms of acquisitions made by residential, logistics and retail real estate developers by particularly targeting the former industrial platforms within the city, which provide easy access, according to data from the Cushman & Wakefield Echinox real estate consultancy company.
Almost 60 hectares of land plots suitable for the development of real estate projects (industrial parks, residential or retail schemes) were transacted in the Bucharest – Ilfov region in the H2 2022 – H1 2023 period. Most transactions involved land plots belonging to former industrial platforms, those specific acquisitions generally targeting the development of mixed – use projects, mainly consisting of residential, office and retail components.
The industrial & logistics developers, some of the most active buyers in recent years, were less present in the market, as their current land banks provide a consistent pipeline (under construction and planned) both in Bucharest and in the main regional industrial hubs, the land banks in question exceeding 5 million sq. m across Romania.
Office developers were absent in the market, with no land acquisition with a purely office destination being closed in the last 12 months, mainly due to the suspension of the Zonal Urban Plans (PUZ), which generated unpredictability for future developments.
Some of the largest properties transacted in the past 12 months include the former Titan Mar platform on Soseaua Progresul (45,000 sq. m), the former Muntenia oil factory near Parcul Carol (57,000 sq. m), the Atlas platform in Pipera (28,500 sq. m), and the Helitube platform in Colentina (89,000 sq. m).
Retail chains, mainly the German ones (Kaufland or Lidl respectively), continued to acquire land in order to expand their portfolios in Romania, while also purchasing former industrial platforms in densely populated areas.
The land aquisitions were split between Romanian and foreign investors (Belgian, German, Swedish, Hungarian, and Turkish). Belgians were the most active among foreign investors, primarily through the acquisitions made by Speedwell, which has a diverse portfolio of real estate projects in Romania, while also acquiring 18 ha of land during the analyzed period.
“Bucharest continues to offer interesting opportunities for land buyers, even if the available land plots are located in less well-established areas, but which have the potential to become new real estate development hubs. On the other hand, a moderate demand is forecasted for the next period due to the global and local macroeconomic uncertainties, as many developers might adopt a wait-and-see approach on the short term. In this context, we believe that sellers may become more flexible with their expectations, without necessarily resulting in significantly lower amounts being paid for the most sought after land plots available on the market. The prices generally followed a linear trend in the analyzed period, as most transactions were closed within a normal margin of negotiation, which was 15% below the requested prices on average,” said Alexandru Mitrache, Head of Transactions – Land & Investment, Cushman & Wakefield Echinox.