Spain was the second-most visited destination in the world last year, says JLL

Madrid, Spain at Calle de Alcala and Gran Via. Photo credit: SeanPavonePhoto//Getty Images

The numbers on Spain are bueno, reports JLL.

In 2017, the number of international tourists visiting Spain improved for a fifth consecutive year hitting 82 million. The number was good enough to make it the world’s second-most visited country after France. The United States clocked in at third place. Tourist spending has also hit a new record in 2017, rising 12.4 percent in the year from 2016.

Those propitious numbers spilled into hotel investment. In 2017, investment in the country’s hotel market reached €3.6 billion (US$4.5 billion), 65 percent higher than in 2016, driven by both single-asset and portfolio transactions.

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In fact, Spain’s hotel investment market overtook Germany as the second-most liquid in EMEA. 

RevPAR also climbed 8.8 percent to €85.29, according to STR. And, according to PwC data, Spain's occupancy and ADR were above its long-term averages and growth is expected to continue in 2018, with Barcelona and Madrid projected to deliver a RevPAR growth of 5.2 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

Still, challenges are on the horizon. Escalating tourist numbers in Barcelona are grating locals and the city recently passed a law to limit the number of new hotels

The Buyers

Domestic and international buyers are being drawn to Spain’s “improving economy together with impressive hotel operating performance and a booming tourism industry,” saidPatrick Saade, JLL co-head of investment sales in Spain. He also said that there are many undercapitalized Spanish resorts in need of refurbishment, which could allow an investor to swoop in, buy, renovate than flip as needed. 

International investment accounted for half of Spain’s hotel transaction volumes in 2017, with half of those investors coming from within Europe. North American buyers followed closely, making up another 40 percent. The Canary Islands remained the favorite destination, at €939 million or 27 percent of total volume.

Major international investors such as Fonciere des Regions, Area and Batipar have been playing an increasingly prominent role in the Spanish hotel investment market, says Chan. “These investors tend to hold their investments for an extended period, providing stability and depth to the market,” said Saade,

The largest hotel transaction last year was Blackstone’s acquisition of Hotel Investment Partners’ portfolio of 14 hotels with 3,700 guest rooms for €630 million from Banco Sabadell. On the lending front, Spain’s major banks, such as Banca Sabadell, Santander and BBVA, have helped facilitate real estate transactions due to the volume of real estate assets they control.

Other transactions include the sale of Edificio España to Riu Hotels & Resorts for €136 million and the Wave portfolio—comprising four hotels in San Antonio, Palma Nova, Puerto Del Carmen and Torremolinos, —by London & Regional Properties.

On the M&A front, JLL noted that NH Hotels might be the next in line as China’s HNA is seeking to sell its 30 percent in the company, according to Reuters.