Deloitte: Poland enters the phase of economic expansion

The divergence of economic moods in Poland...

Two Years On: War in Ukraine and Its Global Impact

On February 24, 2022, a full-scale Russian...

Experts: A window of investment opportunity is opening in Polish real estate

REAL ESTATEExperts: A window of investment opportunity is opening in Polish real estate

Experts gathered at ULI Poland’s annual Game Changers in the Real Estate World conference agreed that current market conditions are creating a window of opportunity for real estate investors willing to act quickly and thoughtfully. For the time being, smaller transactions by regional players dominate, but there are also occasional larger purchases by Western capital. This gives hope for a gradual return of major international players to the Polish property market.

Market analysts predict an increase in interest in property investment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the coming years, especially in Poland, the largest property market in the region.

“Despite a slowdown in cross-border capital flows and a general deterioration of liquidity in global markets, the CEE region remains attractive to investors and its strong fundamentals suggest that investment activity will increase. CEE has been a major beneficiary of the logistics boom over the past decade, but now is the time to diversify investment portfolios. Investors’ attention is turning to real estate from the broader residential sector, office purchases are emerging, but the most important criterion is whether a project meets ESG requirements,” says David Inskip, Head of EMEA Research at CBRE Investment Management.

On the other hand, Dorota Strauch, CEE Lead and Head of Research at Raiffeisen Bank International, points to the importance of consumption for Poland’s economic recovery, supported by EU funds, which should have a positive impact on domestic investment.

“A focus on consumption and smart use of EU funds can have a positive impact on investment in 2024,” Dorota Strauch predicts. “The Polish economy is recovering at an unspectacular pace, but in a regional context the outlook is still rather optimistic, with GDP growth of 3.1 per cent forecast for 2024 and 3.8 per cent the following year,” adds the Raiffeisen Bank International expert.

Before large global capital returns to the Polish investment market, regional players and bargain hunters are looking for their chance. “Although investors are more cautious now, the next few years offer a unique opportunity that comes along once in a decade,” David Inskip emphasises.

Regional investors on the offensive

The low level of domestic institutional capital and the withdrawal of global capital is a challenge for the Polish property investment market. However, such a situation is very attractive to players from neighbouring countries.

“This was particularly evident last year. To put it simply, without the influx of capital from countries in the region, which was responsible for the majority of transactions on the Vistula, the investment market would have almost dried up for good,” says Dorota Wysokińska-Kuzdra, Senior Partner at Colliers.

Among the active players on the Polish investment market are investors from the Baltic States.

“Poland currently offers attractive investment opportunities and the chance for organic growth for medium-sized buyers. As a regional investor, we benefit from the fact that Western capital is much less active. Like any investor, we are interested in the right choice and the best possible time to invest. It is a buyer’s market at the moment and we are acquiring properties with very attractive return parameters,” says Paulius Stulgaitis, Chief Investment Officer at Lithuania’s Eika Asset Management.

In addition to Baltic investors looking for opportunities in Poland, entities from the Czech Republic are also very active.

“Czech funds are usually interested in buying individual properties. They invest a dozen, a few dozen to maybe €100 million and often in the office market, which is broader and larger in Poland than in the Czech Republic. In addition, yields on Polish properties are 150-200 basis points higher than in the Czech Republic, which attracts funds whose shareholders are looking for double-digit returns. There is enough attractive real estate in Poland and if investors cannot find opportunities in Warsaw, they will find them in Gdansk or other regional cities,” says Radek Kucera, founder and managing partner of Grafton Property Partners in the Czech Republic.

Opportunistic investors on a buying spree

The current market situation is very conducive to opportunistic buying, and some Western funds are already making such deals.

“The fact that the existing players are no longer active is an opportunity for us, but when we make new investments we always think about the exit horizon. We cannot rely on local capital for the time being, so market liquidity is very important to us. The Polish market has very good macro-economic fundamentals and has proven to be an attractive investment over the last decade,” says Colman McCarthy, Partner at Signal Capital Partners. “We have recently invested and committed around €120 million and have an appetite for more. One of the things we are doing is creating an PBSA platform with local partners. We are also involved in good projects with liquidity issues as a common denominator. The residential sector, due to its solid fundamentals, remains of interest to us, and we are also interested in any opportunistic investment opportunities with good fundamentals,” McCarthy adds.

Buyers from the region and opportunistic players will not immediately restore the investment market to its full glory. Poland will have to wait for that, but there are signs of improvement.

“Although interest rates have the potential to move downwards, they are still at relatively high levels, which favours opportunistic activity. At the same time, we are witnessing a narrowing of the gap between buyers’ expectations and sellers’ possibilities,” says Marcin Juszczyk, Managing Partner and Deputy President of the Board of Capital Park and Chair of the Urban Land Institute Poland. “The investment market in Poland is experiencing a period of activity characterised by numerous smaller transactions as well as occasional large deals, often backed by American capital. These larger investments are a glimmer of hope for the return of major international players to the Polish property market,” adds the Chairman of ULI Poland.

Check out our other content
Related Articles
The Latest Articles