Build to rent drives increasingly complete housing complexes.
Rental in Spain’s major cities is undergoing a period of change. The build to rent trend has led these new buildings to be conceived, unlike older properties, as communities that provide added value for tenants. The latest trends in additional tenant amenities and services are focused on providing experiences and amenities that enhance the quality of life for residents.
New complexes appeal to tenants for many reasons, but it is clear that spaces such as a coworking space, fitness center, wellness area or game room are an added attraction. These spaces must be well designed and properly managed so that they do not fall into disuse, and this is where property management must play an active role.
We must not forget other key issues in this array of ‘extras’ that today’s rental apartments offer. Concierge services are a clear example of this, as they cover banal issues such as the organization of cleaning services, gardening, and parcel delivery services – nowadays so necessary in view of the rise of e-commerce – but sometimes they also offer a reservation service for common areas, activities or restaurants.
Another example of elements that represent added value for tenants and that are being taken into account are those related to the integration of technology (home automation) and energy efficiency. It is clear that people’s growing environmental sensitivity is bringing issues such as recycling systems or charging stations for electric vehicles to the forefront.
These are just some of the latest trends in additional services and amenities for tenants. The rental industry is constantly evolving to adapt to the changing needs and desires of residents, providing more comfortable and enriching living experiences.
Profitability, closely linked to good social and environmental practices.
Profitability in the real estate business is increasingly linked to good practices in the area of social responsibility. Implementing improvements in the areas of sustainability, social sensitivity and good corporate governance (ESG) clearly has an impact on the attractiveness of properties, as well as their value. In the context of building construction, ESG considerations can include factors such as the building’s energy efficiency and carbon footprint, the materials used in construction, the building’s accessibility for people of diversity, and the company’s labor practices and governance structure. Incorporating ESG considerations into building design and construction can help promote sustainable development and reduce negative impacts on the environment and society. Aware that it cannot be otherwise and that we are facing a very obvious reality, at B Capital Partnes we are committed to responsible investment management. We have been working with our clients for some time now so that the buildings we manage can obtain a good ESG rating. Our in-house facility management team is a partner at Breeam. Today there are different ways to determine the level of sustainability of a building. There are different types of certificates such as BREEAM, LEED, DGNB, etc., as well as ratings such as GRESB, which allow us to know how sustainable a building is and its impact on our economy regardless of whether it is owned by a company or an individual. The Breeam Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method certificate allows us to know the relationship of a building with the environment. This certificate was developed by the BRE Global organization in the United Kingdom and began to be developed in 1988, but it was not until the 1990s that it came into use. Initially, the Breeam certificate was used for commercial and residential properties. Over time its use has been extended to new types of buildings.
B Capital Partners, present at The District show and at the National Congress of Real Estate Servicing
Barcelona and Madrid recently brought together the real estate industry. It was within the framework of two major events: The District and the National Congress of Real Estate Servicing. And how could it be otherwise, B Capital Partners actively participated through some of its professionals who attended both appointments.
The District in Barcelona brought together more than 7,000 professionals with the aim of analyzing the behavior of capital today and advancing investment trends for 2023. The District was structured along three main axes: the development of capital market structures, the value of meeting ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria and the transformation experienced by Residential, Office, Logistics, Hospitality, Retail and alternative assets, such as student residences, senior ‘living’ or the ‘build to rent’. In addition, the application of new technologies in real estate projects also had its leading role in the event.
The District was attended by investment funds, sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks, alternative sources of financing, large landowners, administrations, operators, developers, brokers, marketing agencies, consultants and property managers.
Meanwhile, the 4th National Congress of Real Estate Servicing was held in Madrid, an event that is already an icon for dealing with the perspectives on the evolution of the market, the development of new business models and the main challenges that asset management has ahead. Throughout the two days that the congress lasted, the topics that most interest the sector were discussed, such as: the macroeconomic situation and the underwriting of portfolios in Spain, public-private collaboration for effective housing management in Spain, the real estate sector as a refuge value for accumulated post-pandemic savings, in addition to various specialized topics in real estate, rental, promotion and sale of real estate, land management and investment opportunities in NPL Secured portfolios.
Build to rent (BTR) is seductive. Real estate investment in residential rental is on the rise. Real estate investment in the ‘living’ sector has exceeded €1 billion in the first quarter of 2022. Specifically, BTR transactions have reached €700 million transacted, while PRS (private rented sector) transactions have exceeded €200 million.
Faced with these volumes, it is very important to know and understand the terrain. This is clearly an asset on the rise, but you have to tread carefully and fine-tune your approach in order to achieve the expected results. That is why the know-how of the Property Management expert is key from the outset. Reaching the goal will depend on the project having a solid foundation. Thus, it is necessary to define the product well, determine the amenities of the building and the qualities to be used.
Once the project has been defined, the Property Manager will become a key figure in the relationship with the builder. He/she knows the product to perfection and will therefore be very effective throughout the entire process, from the initial contractual negotiation, through the construction itself, pre-delivery and post-sale.
The post-sale period of a build to rent must be managed properly. We must take into account that there will be homes that can be rented months after the work has been completed, so that the guarantees are no longer in force. That is why the private supplies are not contracted until then and some problems may arise in the operation of some facilities or appliances.
All this well managed and planned should not be a problem. In the same way that maintenance costs related to supplies, elevators or other elements of the building often escape the investor’s radar. A good Property Management will save a lot of costs in this area. Let’s keep in mind that, for an investor, paying the maintenance fee -accounting-wise- is a cost because if the asset is not well maintained, its profitability as well as the purchase value and capital gain could be affected. The good Property Manager will apply a series of analytical techniques to identify or deduce a series of measures and relationships that are significant. Working this from a good start and making a good selection of suppliers are always important elements in this regard.
A final element that the investor should not disregard is the pre-marketing marketing campaign, an element that Property Management experts are working on with increasing dedication and with a high degree of specialization in the segment.
Real Estate Asset management: Where strategy meets Execution
Unlike financial investments, real estate assets are at risk of damage, tend to deteriorate over time and need to be acted upon.
And that is where Asset management emerges. It is about implementing a commercial, economic and technical strategy that allows maximizing the return on investment.
The Asset manager is the figure that configures the most suitable team of professionals for each case, works so that the client’s investment is not depreciated and adopts measures to mitigate the risk of the investment’s inherent exposure.
One of the greatest values provided by Asset management is information management. And today data management is essential. The new proptech tools allow trends to be extracted where previously only data was observed and to do so in an efficient way, in time and costs. Decisions based on data must serve to nurture and adapt the strategy at all times.
In recent years, ESG policies (Environmental, Social and Governance) have been configured as a true driver in the selection of investments. The pandemic, the rise of social unrest and the pressure from citizens for sustainability and social justice have affected the investment criteria of many players.
ESG actions must be implemented in an appropriate and complementary manner to the underlying investment strategy, and in support of the value proposition that the building must offer to the market. The current trend is to move towards smart buildings, to attract -and retain- occupants willing to make a greater economic effort in exchange for a building with higher quality and sustainability standards. In this way, it will be possible to comply with both the environmental and financial objectives of the investment. The strategy must be able to align both objectives. Good asset management is key.
B Capital Partners grows by more than 500 units in property management during the last year
B Capital Partners has added 294 homes to its property management portfolio this January. In this way, the company maintains its thriving trend in 2022 in an area in which it has more than 40 buildings and 1,500 managed homes. In the last 12 months, the company has reinforced its portfolio with 501 homes.
The 294 homes that B Capital Partners has just added to its portfolio correspond to three buildings located in Badalona (Barcelona), Madrid and Logroño. The first of these is a new building owned by an international fund, located on the seafront and with a total of 216 homes. The Logroño building adds another 68 homes and the Madrid building is a small building with ten homes. These buildings are added to those that the company already managed throughout the Spanish geography with a special presence in locations with an urban profile such as Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.
B Capital Partners, which operates in this field under the Medasil brand, expects to continue growing strongly in the field of property management by 2022. In this line, the company is studying the possibility of reaching strategic joint venture agreements with third parties for the management of its properties.
B Capital Partners has defined an ambitious plan that includes reinforcing its presence as managers also in destinations with high potential at the vacation tourism level through its subsidiary Holiday Rentals.
Digitization is an unstoppable wave, also in Real Estate
Although it may seem that residential Real Estate is still dominated by traditional models, the truth is that the influence of digitization and new technologies is increasing. The new and growing demands of users have led to the appearance of new actors who come to cover needs not satisfied by traditional agents. The rise of proptechs (companies that use technology to reinvent certain real estate services) is a good ally to face the challenges of the sector. Similarly, the exponential growth of real estate fund investment and the expansion of products from other industries into the real estate sector (banking, insurance, mortgages…) are a breath of fresh air for the sector and have come to shake up the current business model.
The Real Estate industry has traditionally focused on the product, which is why many have not been able to generate relevant intelligence around the needs of users. This has led to a lack of sophistication in its business processes, as well as a brake on digital evolution and personalization.Build to rent consists of constructing new properties specifically for renters; it is a new way of understanding the business. The developer builds the homes as a turnkey project, which is then handed over in its entirety to the investor, who may or may not finance the operation. The investor then exploits it directly or hires a rental property manager. Meanwhile, tenants get access to a new-build home, with extra services, for as long as they wish and at competitive prices.
Innovation in Real Estate has to do with everything that surrounds it: its administration, its protection, its day-to-day life, its rental or purchase process, etc. We have been doing this reflection for years at B Capital Partners, it is not something recently “imposed” by the pandemic. We set out to anticipate and somehow lead the digital transformation in the real estate sector. What processes can be automated to make life easier for the user? Is all the paperwork really necessary? Can we simplify or make interactions friendlier through self-management or digitization? What role should we reserve for human interaction in the Real Estate journey? These are questions that we asked ourselves at the time and to which we have been providing digital-based solutions
The growing desire to self-manage each person, their relationship with companies with which they need to interact and obtain information, as well as manage their data, makes connection channels between company and client, such as apps, not only convenient but essential.
At B Capital Partners we have adapted traditional business processes to the opportunities generated by technology and to the new needs of users. The client is always at the center of all our developments and work. We want to offer the best user experience in their real estate rental and purchase-sale process, using the best digital solution for this. Our solutions evolve day by day to be at the forefront.
We have understood that, in a digital environment, and especially during occasional and complex journeys such as Real Estate, users demand 365-day attention; a happy path that consistently exceeds your expectations in any interaction. Understanding the particular needs of users and their active pre-management become key elements in our business relationship.
Today, the digital platform of B Capital Partners aggregates all services -from removals to reforms or insurance-, managing to capitalize on the complete life cycle of clients to exploit the value around the rental, purchase or sale. Our clients are the best testimonials of all this. And they have been able to benefit from our desire for continuous improvement that materializes in aspects such as digital reservation, electronic signature of contracts, process optimization, digital consultation of invoices and receipts, improvements in the usability of our platform, constant updates on cybersecurity issues, connectivity with other platforms, etc…
Build to rent has been the hot new concept for months now. Whilst much of that is no doubt due to the pandemic, there is no denying that this new approach to part of the real estate business is catching on. Although many Spaniards still dream of owning a home one day, the tough job environment coupled with the long-term financial commitment makes that difficult. As a result, the rental option is gaining ground. And this is where build to rent is making a niche for itself.
Build to rent consists of constructing new properties specifically for renters; it is a new way of understanding the business. The developer builds the homes as a turnkey project, which is then handed over in its entirety to the investor, who may or may not finance the operation. The investor then exploits it directly or hires a rental property manager. Meanwhile, tenants get access to a new-build home, with extra services, for as long as they wish and at competitive prices.
Outlook for Spain
Initial estimates by experts suggested that, starting in 2022, around 8,500 build-to-rent buildings would be constructed each year. This number could gradually increase to around 80,000 by 2028, although these figures will surely be affected by the impact on the market of the future Spanish Housing Act. Only time will tell.
What is certain is that build to rent is only just getting off the ground in Spain, meaning the number of projects and homes can be expected to increase substantially in the coming years. There is plenty of room for growth in the sector. In Spain, only 18% of the population lives in rental properties, well below the European average. All told, an estimated 1,800,000 more rental homes may be needed to meet the demand.
What makes build to rent different?
The build-to-rent formula can undoubtedly be of great interest to all stakeholders. As noted, for people seeking access to housing, it can be an ideal solution. Developers need to weigh several key factors, including the added challenges of operating costs, vacancy rates, time to rent, and service management.
One of the keys to success for a build-to-rent development is for it to project a quality brand image to potential renters. In other words, the property needs to have a quality brand, and customers need to perceive it. Other keys include creating a loyalty plan to build lasting relationships with tenants in order to maximise lease duration, reduce vacancy rates and capitalise on cross-selling opportunities. Investors and managers also need to take non-payment into account. This means having a good scoring system in order to select the right applicants to reduce risks. Another challenge posed by build to rent is the impossibility of selling off-plan. From day one, a large number of vacant properties need to be filled.
The speed of construction and quality standards must be adapted to a product whose appeal lies in its design, amenities and professional management service. At B Capital Partners, we leverage our understanding of developer and operator business models to help create better projects. Knowing the future target also allows us to make decisions as future asset, property and facility managers and design customised loyalty plans.
Although the types of build-to-rent properties may be similar to those built for sale, their layout and connection to communal leisure and work spaces vary considerably. The interior design, amenities and associated services are often what define the brand that operates them. Use of the ground floor for communal purposes and the creation of rooftop spaces are the main draws of these developments.
Market studies make it possible to better select the amenities that spark the most interest and add value to the development. They also tell us which services these spaces should be equipped with to enhance the customer experience.
Services: a distinctive feature
In addition to all the features of the building itself, in the management of rental buildings operated by specialised investors, tenant services are key to boosting tenant loyalty in the form of longer stays that reduce turnover. Operators thus maintain communication channels with tenants and have specialised departments to handle any incidents that might arise, such as malfunctions, payments or maintenance issues. Any problem has to be solved quickly. The tenant experience in buildings under the management of professional operators is much more positive than that of traditional rentals from private landlords or classic managers.
B Capital Partners expands its services and grows with its entry into the field of commercial management
In order to continue growing and strengthen its position in the real estate sector, B Capital Partners has launched a new commercial management division. With this initiative, the group continues to grow, expanding its service portfolio and adding commercial management to its proven track record in the field of real estate investment and asset management.
B Capital Partners will operate in this field under two new brands. Medasil will focus on residential sales and long-term rentals, whilst Holiday Rentals will focus on the management of tourist and short-term residential properties. The company is publicly announcing its new focus on commercial management following successful experiences with several projects in the field.
The Medasil project will centre on the MAR-Méndez Álvaro residential complex in Madrid, which has a total of 135 units. Holiday Rentals has started its operations with the management of two holiday apartment buildings in Seville: El Tempa Museo, with 41 units, and Los Salados, with 33.
B Capital Partners has defined an ambitious growth plan for its subsidiaries, which, includes a future presence as managers in urban locations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga and Valencia, as well as at high-potential tourism destinations, such as the Costa del Sol, areas of Huelva and Cadiz, and the southern part of the island of Tenerife’.