Office buildings dominated the Hungarian commercial real estate market despite the pandemic

The pandemic has transformed the domestic real estate sector with strong investor interest in the logistics segment, while retail and hospitality properties took a back seat last year. Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, office buildings have proven to be the most popular investment asset according to the Real Estate Intelligence Report 2022, the seventh edition in the series, in which the experts of DLA Piper Hungary give an insight into the prevailing legal practices in the Hungarian real estate market and provide an indication of the current balance of power between sellers and buyers.

According to DLA Piper Hungary’s annual real estate market analysis, office buildings continued to be in high demand despite the increase in the popularity of remote and hybrid work arrangements. Office properties accounted for around 57% of the law firm’s transactions, which represents a mere 3% decline compared to the previous year’s figure.

Source: DLA Piper Hungary

Logistics properties became the second most attractive asset class in 2021 with a share of 14%, despite the fact that the majority of logistics parks are owned by just a handful of players. Furthermore, interest in retail and hospitality properties has almost completely disappeared due to the pandemic.

“In 2021, the Hungarian commercial real estate market was characterized by two main themes: a substantial undersupply of assets and a high number of off-market deals. This resulted in fierce competition for open market assets, causing further yield compression, especially in the case of logistics assets”

– added Szilárd Kui, Local Partner and Head of Real Estate at DLA Piper Hungary.

Domestic investors accounted for 73% of all purchases (which is 12 percentage points higher than in 2020), which may be explained by COVID-19-related concerns and travel restrictions among other factors. At the same time, we have seen continued interest from clients both from the Far East and the Middle East; however, a limiting factor for them was that large ticket size assets are few and far between on the Hungarian commercial real estate market.

ESG considerations in the real estate market

In recent years, sustainability has made its presence felt in the real estate market as well, with environmental, social and corporate governance considerations playing an increasingly important role in the decisions of investors and tenants year after year. Developers are practically forced to obtain green certifications for new Class ‘A’ office buildings, such as LEED and BREEAM, two internationally recognized certifications.

“Sustainability has become a pivotal aspect of business operations. The objectives are clear for everyone (achieving lower CO2-emissions, improving energy efficiency and providing an appropriate work environment for tenants), and so the question isn’t whether a newly developed property should possess a green certification, but rather how sustainable operation can be guaranteed throughout the entire lifecycle of the property” 

– underlined Szilárd Kui.

Further information can be found in the DLA Piper Real Estate Intelligence Report 2022 – Hungary publication available at dlapiper.realestatereport.hu.

Real Estate Intelligence Report 2022 – Hungary

DLA Piper Hungary published its first Real Estate Intelligence Report in 2016, showcasing the prevailing domestic real estate market trends based on the firm’s transactions of the previous year. The real estate law experts of DLA Piper Hungary provide a summary of the real estate market situation and an outlook for the future from a buyer, seller, investor and insurance perspective. The data used in the study is not publicly available and is based on deals where DLA Piper Hungary advised the seller or the buyer in transactions where the net asset value of the property was over €10,000,000.

Author:

Kui Szilárd

Szilárd Kui

Local Partner,

Head of Real Estate

Szilárd Kui

Szilárd is advising international and local actors on big ticket acquisition and sale of prime Hungarian commercial real estate in all the major assets classes. He regularly supports major real estate developers on the structuring, zoning, permitting and construction of office, mixed-use and industrial developments. He also has a strong leasing practice ranging from built-to-suit leases and headquarters relocation projects.
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