France's commercial real estate sector, though among the best developed in the world, has underperformed during recent months, mirroring the trend seen in the wider economy. While international investors continue to be attracted to certain areas of the market - notably high-end retail - rental rates and yields continue to show little dynamism. In 2014, our core outlook is for rates to remain stable across the three sectors we cover of office, retail and industrial. Yields are also expected to remain fixed at currently levels, reflecting a relatively balanced supply-demand dynamic across the market. With a focus on the country's principal cities of Paris, Marseille and Nice, the Q214 France Real Estate report covers rental market performance in terms of rates and yields across the commercial office, retail and industrial sectors.
We expect the most positive impact to be seen across the retail sub-sector, which will benefit from a continued improvement in consumer spending and robust tourist numbers. France is also benefiting from improving external demand, with export growth of 5% forecast for 2014 and expected to drive growth in the industrial real estate market over the year as a whole.
- Saudi-Arabia based Olayan Group and UK-based Chelsfield Partners has acquired nine French retail properties for a combines EUR1.23bn (US$1.68bn). The properties cover an area of 82,000m2 and include commercial buildings in Paris's Golden Triangle fashion district.
- Global real estate portfolio and asset manager AXA Real Estate has sold its majority stake in France's Saint Sebastien shopping centre to UK-based real estate investment trust Hammerson for GBP109mn, representing 75% of the gross lettable area. Hammerson is closing the deal on behalf of one of its clients, with the transaction expected to be completed by end-March 2014.
- German real estate fund SEB ImmoInvest has sold its multi-tenant office property France to a French institutional investor for around EUR20.6mn (US$28.25mn). The property's selling price is about 22% more than the purchase price and nearly 13% higher than the current market value. The property is situated in the Euralille office district Lille, the third most important financial centre in France. The ninestorey building covers an area of more than 7,470m2 and is currently 100% leased.
- European financial services group Catella has announced plans to set up a property asset management business in France in early 2014. The business will be led by Francois Brisset, former managing director and co-founder of DTZ Asset Management, and will focus on investment, asset and property management on behalf of investors from France and other countries.
Key BMI Forecasts
- Rental rates are forecast to remain stable across each of the office, retail and industrial real estate segments during the October 2013- March 2014 period. Rents will remain fixed at current levels at both the minimum and maximum end of the market.
- Rental rates in the retail sector will continue to outperform the rest of the market in terms of price. Maximum rents in Paris are forecast to remain fixed at US$367.50 per m2 per month while those in Marseille and Nice are set to stay at US$217.50 and US$207.50 per m2 over October 2013 - March 2014.
- The industrial sector will continue to see the highest net yields of the three real estate segments with yields forecast to remain stable at 7-12%; 7-9% and 5-12% in Paris, Marseille and Nice, respectively.