UK leads Europe deals growth

Red telephone booths in front of Christmas decorations lights in London, United Kingdom
The UK led deals, but saw a drop in volume

Total European hotel transaction volume reached the highest annual level ever recorded in 2019, with €27.1bn-worth of deals struck, according to HVS.

The UK accounted for the largest amount of capital with €5.3bn, down 15% on the year.

German destinations booked the second most investment volumes at just over €4bn, 18% of total volumes, up 6% on 2018 levels.

In terms of room count, however, Germany transacted 21% of all hotel rooms and 18% of all hotels while the UK came second with 20% of all hotel rooms and 22% of the total number of hotels.

“Record low interest rates amongst various European countries and continuing yield compression in key markets have helped to drive large investment volumes compared to previous years,” commented report co-author Shaffer Patrick, analyst, HVS Hodges Ward Elliott.

“Asian investors have deployed 84% more capital in 2019 than in 2018, with a dominating presence from Chinese, Singaporean and South Korean investment firms and sovereign wealth funds. These factors, combined with the comparative affordability due to a weakening of the euro and sterling on account of Brexit have made Europe an even more sought-after hotel investment market,” he added.
 
With a total of 844 hotels and some 132,000 rooms changing hands, 318 hotels were single asset transactions and 526 hotels were sold as part of portfolio deals. Single asset transactions saw a surge of 26% in terms of volume versus 2018, whereas portfolio volumes grew more than twice as much in comparison to the previous year, recording an increase in spending of 67% in 2019. Average price per room for single asset transactions grew by 4% to €218,000.
 
Some of the biggest single asset deals of the year included the sale of DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Central Station to AXA for €425m and the sale of the Bauer Hotel in Venice to Blue Skye Investment for €400m. The year’s biggest portfolio deals included the sale of the four-strong hotel group Grange Portfolio London to Queensgate Investments for €1.2bn (£1bn) and the sale of the UK-based, 17-hotel Marathon Portfolio to DTGO Corporation for €535m (£450m).
 
London remained the leading European hotel transaction market with a total volume of around €2.2bn (£1.8bn in 2019, ahead of Amsterdam at €1.1bn. Vienna saw a substantial investment increase of 641% to €709m on the previous year, following relatively little activity in 2018.
 
Germany’s five largest cities – Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt – jointly reached a transaction volume of €1.5bn, a 25.5% fall on levels in 2018.
 
In most cases, investment demand was supported by the on-going strengthening of industry fundamentals as year-on-year value per room growth in 27 of 33 major European markets continued its upward trend.
 
The rise in popularity for operating leases in Europe has also led to strong buyer interest from institutional investors, which typically look for low-risk, stable returns over the long term. This was in contrast to last year’s buyer market, which saw heavy investment from private equity firms seeking higher rates of return.
 
However, the report expressed doubt that this level of transactions would be achieved in 2020. “New supply and the UK’s divorce from the European Union will influence transaction volume this year,” commented report co-author Nicolas Auer, associate, HVS Hodges Ward Elliott.
 
“Other factors such as staffing pressures, inflation risks, trade wars, coronavirus-related travel bans or cancellations and concerns that a global economic slowdown might also trigger hesitation in some investors’ minds.”

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