Dec 9, 2010

Japanese’s whispers

I have put on a paper some thoughts while I was in roadshow in Asia, following meeting with investors and investment analysts. As a disclaimer, I am writing this in the middle of a jetlagged night, and I clearly do not pretend to know what I am talking about here.

1- In China, it seems that it is more reasonable to invest into less known secondary cities, than in the majors. Rational being that a lot of speculation is driven by some cities names, not by economics. Ring a bell in Germany as well. Except that Frankfurt is by no way a major city by Chinese standards

Dec 4, 2010

Same Player Shoot Again.

A recent article in PropertyEU ( and other real estate newsletters report on the last IPD/IPF conference where a number of commentator have indicated that the solvency II directive will increase insurance companies willingness to lend to real estate. This might as well be true, but between you and me Solvency II will have potentially more far reaching implication for the real estate market as a whole than just additional lending. 

More interestingly, one of the main commentator is reported to have said: "I expect CMBS to return 'in some form or shape ... because without access to the capital markets we don't stand a chance".

Nov 24, 2010

Real Life

Picture from the construction site of the New Ohnsorg Theater.

Nov 12, 2010

Hold your fire

We had the question on alstria’s quaterly call this week. Listening to other German real estate companies call, and reading a number of analyst note, it seems that there is a growing number of (non German) market participant who expect “distressed sales” coming from the German open ended funds (mainly of the ones which said they will liquidate).

Is German open ended funds liquidation a great buying opportunity for real estate investor? The answer, is probably no. Or at least not yet.The fund managers have three years to sell their assets. Therefore, they expect that the liquidation is going to be done in an orderly manner, with little “distress” attached to it, and they might as well be right.

Oct 28, 2010

Little Dorrit

Anyone interested in real estate investment is aware of the „difficult“ times the German open ended fund industry is going through. As you can expect the German press is full of article trying to figure out what happened, what a solution would be (may I naively suggest listing?) and whether or not it is safe to invest in them again.

Aug 18, 2010

Honi soit qui mal y pense

In the foreword to a green supplement in the magazine House and Garden (in 2008), the Prince wrote: "Why, I must ask, does being 'green' mean building with glass and steel and concrete and then adding wind turbines, solar panels, water heaters, sedum roofs, glass atria - all the paraphernalia of a new 'green building industry' - to offset buildings that are inefficient in the first place?
"That many of these add-ons are mere gestures, at best, is now clear, as their impacts on home energy consumption can now be measured and usually offer scant justification for the radical nature of the design." (see for more on this)

Jul 8, 2010

We (almost) made it happen

News that I felt went through pretty much un-noticed in the last month was the publication of the latest Jones Lang LaSalle transparency index (you can register for free on JLL website and download the study here). For the first time since inception, the German market is part of the “tier 1” countries, along side with the UK, Australia, France and 12 other countries. More precisely Germany is quotes by JLL as the 10th more transparent market among the 81 markets covered by the study, and 6th more transparent among the 34 European market surveyed.

May 18, 2010

Real Life

Some pictures of the Alte Post construction site

And the promotional video of the asset

Apr 22, 2010

Ginger Ale

The CMBS market is back. At least so they say. An article in the FT (which can be read here), suggests that a first 350 M€ CMBS was placed in the Netherland. That is real news, as the stall of the CMBS market is clearly one of the main concern still out there. It is becoming mainstream wisdom that there is a large debt overhang coming up, which is to a great part linked to CMBS.

The bizarre part of the press release was linked to the fact that the "CMBS" was rated AAA by all the rating agencies. This looks bizarre as usual CMBS are (use to be) made of different tranches with different rating. I was interested in getting a better understanding of the placement and went to the website of the issuer to see if i could gather additional details (the full press release is available here). And I did. The main information being that this deal was placed as one tranche to a single investor...  Being able to place EUR 350 million of debt in the current market IS an acheivment per say, however, not enough to claim that the CMBS market have reopenned.

Mar 12, 2010


alstria as a real estate company is very much interested in the debate relating Green Buildings and the better understanding of the fundamental of this new key development is an important factor in setting up the future strategy of the company. As part of background research work, I read recently a report called “Doing well by doing Good? Green Office Buildings”. It can be freely accessed following this link.

According to the study, it provides “the first credible evidence on the economic value of the certification of “green buildings”. The release of this report had a great impact and was widely commented by the real estate press (thus my willingness to read the study directly). You might have heard that Green Buildings command a 6% premium on rents and 16% premium on sale price. Well, this is where theses numbers come from.

Mar 7, 2010

Corporate Ethic

Corporate Responsibility and the Environment. This mini-doco by karma production came 3rd in the recent competition sponsored by Australian Ethical in association with the Australian Documentary Foundation.

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