With 50 million squaremetres of office space, it is the biggest and by far the most dynamicmarket in the country. Foreign investors — led by German real estate professionals —also like to buy in Paris. The property market is regarded as verytransparent and less susceptible to fluctuation. The city has itsdiverse economic structure in particular to thank for this. Investment market reboundingThe consequences of the international financial and economic crisishave also left their mark on France.
As in other European countries,the French property market has had to battle over the past twoyears with price corrections and difficult financing conditions. This is also reflected in the moderate results of the firstquarter of The proportionate vacancy rate is similar. For that reason, transactionactivity in France was largely focused on Paris see chart on page9. In addition, Paris is in the eurozone, which makes transactionsfor members of other eurozone countries easier.
It is owned by the investment company Beacon CapitalPartners, headquartered in Boston, and the project is due to becompleted in Another outstanding transaction was the sale of the property1. During the whole of , their share oftransactions came to 48 percent, making themone of the most active buyer groups.
With an adequate yield this promisesgreat security. Union Investment ranks among the most active German propertyinvestors in Paris. The Hamburg-based real estate investmentcompany puts its faith in strategic partnerships with locally basedcompanies — and in high-quality buildings. However, theParis office letting market does pose risks. BNP Paribas RE expertSpehr predicts, for example, that the vacancies especially in individualsubmarkets in Paris will rise further, with rents remaining under Anyone holdinga high-quality property in a central location witha good infrastructure could do little wrong however.
An improved mood in the property investmentmarket is also being observed by DianeBecker, Head of Investment at Catella France. Thiswas demonstrated not least by the fact that biddingprocesses were now being used again forespecially sought-after real estate in Paris. A glanceat the regions shows that in smaller locations such as Lyon, Lille,Toulouse, Marseille or Bordeaux there are few interesting investmentopportunities for foreign investors.
The market activities in these citieswere therefore largely dominated by French players. In spite of their lower growth and volatility the consequences ofthe crisis are also being felt in the provinces. As the largest regional real estate market Lyon was the onlyregional location to withstand the investment market crisis relativelyunscathed. The situation in office letting markets is more favourable. It is mainly the tax aspects of property purchases in France thatrequire close examination, however.
The principal advantage of this usually listed investment vehicleis liquidity and tax advantages because SIICs are exempt fromcorporation tax. What can certainly be disadvantageous to potentialforeign buyers is the varying rate of taxation in the event of a sale. Compared with Paris, however thestarting point for rent levels is also lower. Yet new-build projects are few and farbetween. Only individual projects are being undertaken or olderproperties renovated.
In Toulouse, the start of constructionof several properties has been postponed. In Marseille tooonly the projects started in are being completed, after whichthere are no plans for new construction for the time being. Germaninvestors will not like to hear that with many preferring to invest innew development projects in France. Because theconstruction risk is well protected in France, the total risk is correspondinglymanageable.
French law contains some peculiaritiesWhether in Paris or in the provinces, property investors haveto prepare for a number of legal peculiarities. The French havetheir own way of doing things, especially with commercial rentalagreements. The requirements are very strict and tend tofavour tenants. Yet with the decentralisationdrive launched in , suchregional centres as Lyon, Lille or Marseillehave been able to expand their role. Aided bythe high-speed TGV train and thanks to public-sectorsubsidies many major cities havebeen able to attract institutional and internationalinvestors as real estate buyers.
Even the crisis has not totally extinguishedthe interest of property investors. This enthusiasm for theprovinces is especially attributable to investordemand for commercial properties. The yields barely differ from those inParis. Investors seekingproperties in the prime segment preferthe Paris market. Only four percent was earmarkedfor the regions.
Yet the regions have two advantages. In addition, office properties in the provincesare showing yields which are to basis points higher than those achievedin Paris. On the other hand, the regions aresuffering from slackening economic activity— which is impacting adversely on demandfor office space.
The less liquid markets withtheir comparatively low space turnover arethus still deterring investors. The pull of Parisremains undiminished. Whereas during the first quarter of they still reached6. The Savills expert sees risks for the French market primarily frommacroeconomic factors, which are also being closely monitored byproperty experts at present. Overall the property market was undergoing a recovery though.
Thefirst French developers were again even looking around for speculativeprojects or forward sales, observes Etienne Pax. They arepreparing for the period when office space is set to become scarcerin supply again. This is very likely to be the case from Whether it is time to be building without pre-letting or whetherthis still holds too many risks — one thing is already certain: theFrench capital has weathered the financial and economic crisis comparativelywell and is likely to emerge from it even strengthened.
But in the currentmarket situation such requirements no longer figured in the purchasingnegotiations, concludes Rubechi. It is interesting that foreign open-ended real estate fundsin France are not automatically put on an equal tax footing withtheir French counterpart. Beyond national peculiarities the topics of sustainability andgreen buildings are also gaining increasing importance in France,reports Etienne Pax from the Savills investment team in Paris. It is not only project developerswho are increasingly focusing on international standards, especiallythe US standard LEED, so as to boost the appeal of their propertiesto international investors.
French investors are also attachinggreat importance to a uniform Europe-wide sustainability certificate. This is borne out by a recent Union Investment survey, according towhich 82 percent of the French investors questioned supported theintroduction of a Europe-wide standardised quality seal. The stronger focus on sustainable investments is also explainedby a glance at the current investor structure, which shows that it isabove all long-term core funds which are active buyers in the Parismarket.
Just recently aPhoto: Union Investment German property investors are desirablebusiness partners in France. What attractsGermans to the Seine? Union Investment has been investing inFrance for eleven years. There is where wefind the market liquidity and internationalfocus that we are seeking as active assetmanagers. With its diversified and thusrelatively crisis-proof economic structure,Paris in particular provides a convincingargument for investment. Union Investment has investments inMarseille.
What appeal to you about theFrench provinces? The French provinces are an interestingaddition to the Paris portfolio. Marseille,Lyon, Bordeaux or Lille may have very smallmarkets, be much less liquid and offertenants of a more local nature than Paris. However, there is much less competitionfor them from international investors,who are primarily targeting large-volumeproperties.
The dynamic development of theso-called B-cities in the direction of servicecentres offers good scope for diversification,especially for our institutional products. What strategy are you pursuing in France? In the past our strategy was mainlyacquisition-oriented. We have startedover the past year to gradually extendthe focus of our activities to our existingproperties and to take a closer look atthe portfolio.
This means that in Francewe are acting increasingly as vendor andplan to exploit market conditions moreactively. To this end Union Investment plans to have its own team based therein future. Which property products are you currentlyon the look-out for? The France portfolio of many Germanopen-ended real estate funds is comparativelyoffice-heavy. This is also true of Union Investment , even though we havebeen investing in hotels in Paris andMarseille since It is our plan to build up ourholdings in the shopping centre and businesshotel segments.
I also see the needto catch up in the logistics space segment,which has been under-represented inour portfolios to date. One of themost interesting European markets forsustainable buildings is currently emergingin Paris. We want to exploit this: Francewill be a central building block in oursustainability strategy going forward. How interesting are development projects? We have had good experience in Francewith development projects.
Paris is anaccessible market which strikes a healthybalance on the supply side. Developmentprojects are a good way of ensuring thatstate-of-the-art, sustainable and highqualityreal estate is built in a fiercelycompetitive market and the correspondinghigh yields are generated. The prerequisitehowever is to work with strong, experiencedpartners who take on the constructionrisk.
The interview was conducted by ChristianeHarriehausen. Karl-Joseph Hermanns-Engel seesgrowth potential, especially in theretail trade and hotel segment. MARKETSThe demographic factorWhether the population is growing or shrinking is playing an increasingly important role in the assessmentof property markets. It is clear however that investors have to think globally. By Miriam M. BeulThe megacity Tokyo ishome to twice as manypeople as the whole ofthe Netherlands.
Empty shops and flats symbolise a change whichis posing completely new challenges for towns and local authorities,as well as for investors and urban planners. What was in shortsupply for decades is now plentiful. This also applies to office properties,the very asset class regarded by institutional investors as oneof the safest investment vehicles.
So will we soon be saying: onceupon a time? It is certain that in shrinking societies there will notonly be fewer people living but also fewer people of working agewho need an office as their workplace. What are the consequencesof this for national and international office property markets? Wherewill the erected symbols of growth and economic prosperity soon lieempty? And in which corners of the globe are new centres of officework set to emerge?
The Head of the Property Economicsresearch unit at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research Institutder deutschen Wirtschaft — IW has studied closely the impact ofdemographic trends on demand for property in Germany. Accordingto his calculations, a reduced labour force and an increasing numberof elderly people will not present every German town or city withthe same problems.
There will be demographic winners and losers. The conclusion he has drawn is that by2 02 5 there will still be demand for office space only in Munich,Cologne, Hamburg, Mainz, Nuremberg and Bonn. His forecasts for some east German towns are especially dramatic. In Gera and Dessau a decline of 40 percent is possible, whilstin Magdeburg a 20 percent reduction is likely and in Erfurt a fall of15 percent.
In western Germany demand for office space is forecastto drop primarily in No rth Rhine-Westphalia and in Saarland. Thefuture is not too rosy in Duisburg down 10 percent , Essen down8 percent and Dortmund down 6 percent either. When comparingoffice space per employee it is striking that there is a link betweenthe size of the city and the average per capita space consumption. This means more employees in senior positions,who normally claim greater space and more meeting rooms. Yet does this support the argument that in future only majorcities or even megacities will be regarded as a safe refuge for propertyinvestment whilst investment in small or medium-sized townswill be seen as risky because the latter are more likely to be threatenedwith depopulation?
Things are not as simple as that. Unlikethe IW expert, the real estate analysts at Deutsche Hypo predict aless dramatic scenario. The emergence ofmegacities will have more farreachingconsequences than theIndustrial Revolution. Economic trends have a much more direct impact on the market andthus on rents and purchase prices. Does that mean that property investors taking a long-term investmentapproach should focus on just a few locations in Germany infuture?
Munich, Cologne and Hamburg? And just forget about therest of the map? Also: what would the supraregional shopping listlook like? If the developed economies continue to grow only at aslow pace, have too many pensioners to feed and too many officeworkers — where does the future lie? The Professor of Human Geographyat the University of Cologne has been studying the growth of majorcities, and especially the so-called megacities, for many years.
In academicliterature this means cities of at least five, eight or ten millioninhabitants. With migration to thecities continuing in Asia and Africa further megacities are emerging,she notes. Demand will vary from region to regionhowever. The rough trend is that conurbations are growing insize and rural regions are losing inhabitants. Yet it is not justeastern Germany where the population is in decline. Largeareas of Saarland and the Ruhr region will also be affected byfalling numbers of households.
Retail propertiesFewer people, fewer consumers. The markets for retail propertieswill also be hit by the falling population. Retail sales willdecline and the earnings from retail properties will diminish. With investment in shopping centres, studying the demographictrends at the location is especially important. Shopping arrangementswhich meet the needs of the elderly are certainly set togain in importance however.
Most people overhere have not even heard of these major centres. In China, for example,migrations involve up to 25 million people annually. At Henderson Global Investors, demographic aspects play a keyrole not only with property investments in Asia.
Population trends were thereforeclosely examined especially with retail properties — because they areregarded as an important factor influencing purchasing power trendsat the location. Yet is it already inevitable that more investment capital will flowto the Asian and Latin American markets in the coming years andthat USA and Europe will lose out as a result? Over the past two years, capitalflows from European and US investors into Asian and Latin Americanproperty investment had declined significantly.
However, this minuspoint in no way reflected the encouraging performance of the propertymarkets there, he added. The most important provision againstrisk was the following: all business is local. Size and growth are not everythingThe expectation that problems in the USA or in Asia could beresolved from a desk in Europe or progress achieved with the developmentof properties was illusory.
In addition, one should certainlynot rely on demographic trends alone. Moreover, transparency is restricted inmany markets. Helge Scheunemann, Head of Research with property consultancyJones Lang LaSalle, also warns investment strategists againstnarrow-mindedness in relation to the demographic factor. The gapbetween major cities and the regions may be set to increase furtherworldwide with even more capital than now flowing into the officeproperty markets of major cities.
A few weekslast May have taught us otherwise. However, manyacademics also include mega-urban regions, which are more polycentricin structure, in such a category. The largest European megaurbanarea with 13 million inhabitants is the Rhine Ruhr region. Thelargest in the world is probably the Pearl River Delta in southernChina with a population of 48 million. Spain and Portugalwith their 48 million inhabitants have the same population as thePearl River Delta region.
Even more striking is the following comparison:Mexico City with its Yet is sizeeverything? It seems unlikelythat insurance companies, pension funds or property fund providerswill turn their back on Europe and the USA only because one personin three will be aged over sixty there soon, whilst in Asia and LatinAmerica one in every three is under the age of Over the same period Europe and No rth America are set tobecome less important in relative terms — even though they will alsogrow in absolute terms.
In there willbe eight times as manypeople living in Africa than years before. Construction materials play a central role in the planning of sustainable buildings. Yet assessingwhich building materials are environmentally beneficial is a complex issue.
The two-storey building, designed by the Matrix architectural practicefrom Rostock, consists both in its construction and interiorfittings largely of renewable building materials. Concrete masonry with expanded polystyreneinsulation would not have been an option for Lenzinger — becausesustainable, as he says, means renewable first and foremost.
No t only wood is sustainableYet this line of argument is meeting with resistance from experts. In addition, it faresvery well in the life cycle assessment with a recycling rate of up to90 percent. To remain withthe example of wood: as a renewable resource wood boasts an excellentenergy balance, especially as it can be burnt at the end of thelife cycle, generating new energy.
Pollutants pose no concern either— assuming that the wood has not been treated with problematicsubstances. Wooden window frames however have to be regularlypainted due to the effects of the weather, which has to be taken intoaccount in the maintenance costs. They enquire about the solventcontent of anti-corrosion coatings, pollutants in paints and lacquersas well as the possible pollution of plastics with heavy metals. They formulate therequirements on the environmental compatibility of adhesives, carpets,paints and coatings while also enquiring about the share of renewablecomponent parts in the product.
These criteria can however alsocollide with other aspects of sustainability — and especially with economicsustainability. According to the architect Haas, it is by no meansthe case that environmental building materials are necessarily moreexpensive than conventional products. Yet this can certainly be thecase at an individual level, as explained by Josef Steretzeder, whois responsible for the Green Building service division of the Lindnerinterior design group in the Lower Bavarian town of Arnstorf: LEEDrequires that timber materials such as chipboard or MDF board mustDevelopers can research the eco-friendliness of building materials on the internetFor anyone looking for an overview of theenvironmental credentials of building materials,there are various websites and online databasesavailable for research purposes.
They arerecommended for all developers and investorsseeking to obtain a sustainability certificate fortheir building or wishing to find out about thepractical use of building materials which poseno risk to the environment or public health. The informationsystem provided by the German Ministry forConstruction gathers environmental productdeclarations and all other accessible informationon about building materialsas well as construction and transport processes.
The collection of data, available freeof charge, indicates which criteria of the twocertification systems are fulfilled by individualbuilding materials. According to Steretzeder, there is onlyone manufacturer worldwide that supplies the relevant doors — andthis expertise does not come cheap. Economic efficiency is not the only challenge facing developersand planners of sustainable buildings.
An additional problem is thatthe environmental quality of a building material cannot be determinedat a glance — even though the Environmental Product Declarations EPDs requested on a voluntary basis now provide an indication atleast. According to IBU Director Hans Peters, some 50 companiesin Germany to date have had about products or productgroups examined to see whether they cause summer smog, acid rainor over-fertilisation, whether they damage the ozone layer and howmuch primary energy they consume.
Ifenvironmental pollution during production is examined, for example,a simple wooden window achieves a much better assessment that atriple-glazed window made of aluminium. A final analysis is howeveronly possible if a component is examined over its whole life cycle. Considering individual casesPlanners and developers are confronted at every turn with such conflictsbetween the varying aspects of sustainability.
One example is theissue of whether with insulating materials they should opt for naturalor industrial products. If the insulating value is taken alone, accordingto the Agency of Renewable Resources, conventional materials polystyreneand rock wool achieve slightly better results and at lowercost compared with most natural materials. Transport costs are another factor, as the Behnisch Architektenfirm found out when building the Ozeaneum in Stralsund. The plannersSustainability is part of the strategyResults of the latest Union Investment investment climate surveyMost European property investors will increasingly seek to puttheir capital in sustainable property in future.
This is one of thefindings of the latest investment climate survey conducted by Union Investment , in which professional property investors from Germany,France and the UK were questioned. More than 60 percent of themwish to increase their investments in sustainable real estate, withthe French especially active in this regard. Because ships are now sent to Southeast Asia forscrapping, the steel would have had to be procured from there. For thisreason, those in charge had the steel produced at a Baltic Sea shipyard,ultimately consuming less primary energy.
In view of these difficulties it is understandable why the environmentalquality of building materials is not subject to the same — public— interest as the topic of energy-efficient buildings. Less material is moreThe building materials industry is however developing more and moresustainable products.
The Lindner Group, for example, offers metalroofs which boast a high proportion of recycled materials and can berecycled at the end of their life cycle. They were used, for instance, atthe Abengoa Palmas Altas Campus in Seville, an international showcasefor sustainability. The headquarters of the Abengoa environmentaltechnology group, completed in , was awarded platinum LEEDpre-certification, the highest LEED category — even though the hightechcomplex designed by architect Richard Rogers did not featureeither rammed earth walls or goat hair carpets.
The development of these parameters is a challengewhich we all face. Often it is simply a matterof weighing up, discussing and then deciding on the right option ineach individual case. And, of course, further research is being carriedout — into eco-friendly building materials, meeting the needsof both people and the environment. The market is increasingly on the look-outfor environmental products. Are developers prepared to pay more forsustainable building materials?
Certification at building level is a pointgatheringexercise. Developers try tocollect as many points as possible at areasonable cost. As soon as this involvesextra expenditure, they consider how theycan avoid it. A door, for example, which isformaldehyde resin-free and thus meetsthe material requirements in the LEEDsystem, is simply more expensive.
Thereis currently just one manufacturer for thesupporting panel, whose product expertiseunderstandably comes at a price. Thedeveloper then considers whether theproduct concerned will provide points. They may opt for a standard product anddecide to collect the points elsewhere.
This can give rise to a building which isclassified as eco-friendly overall but whereless attention is paid to the aspect ofworkplace comfort. Is it possible to say in short which materialis good environmentally and which is bad? An additional factor is thatthe large number of building certificationsystems present users with problems. Rationally speaking, an ISO standard forsustainability would be a sensible thing.
Atpresent, though, things are moving in theopposite direction, with new assessmentsystems appearing in many countries. However, this is not sufficient for supplyingcomparable key performance data. The aimshould therefore be to enable the developeror architect to identify easily which productis more eco-friendly than another.
Do environmental building materials comeinto conflict with other sustainabilityrequirements? Yes, that certainly can happen. Withevery new product all the documentaryevidence relating to fire behaviour or noiseinsulation has to be submitted — and itcould be that properties that are goodfor the environment impact adversely onother physical construction properties.
Thelife cycle costs are also important. Whatis the point of a low-emission coating forfloors or walls if it has to be reapplied aftertwo years? And how far have we come with therecycling of building materials? How should Europe deal with Donald Trump? According to the flood of initial reactions, Europe is ….
Congratulations to Dr. Yasemin …. In , 20 percent of …. Distinguishing between risk and uncertainty—two concepts dating back to economist Frank Knight —has become popular in financial policy analyses in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of Risk …. Following the two party conventions last month in Cleveland and Philadelphia, many undecided American voters and many millions watching from around the world might have concluded that they had just ….
As I write in mid-July , all the Transatlantic chatterati can seem to talk and write about—except when temporarily interrupted by terrorist outrages like the one at the Istanbul airport …. The EU-U. Privacy Shield—the successor to the invalidated Safe Harbor program for transatlantic transfers of EU personal data—was finally approved on July 12, Browse Issues Our Work.
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The 21st Century Partnership is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and is the only enterprise dedicated solely to actively support the current missions of Robins Air Force Base and ensure that both the base and the Middle Georgia community are best postured to accept new base missions.
The Partnership accomplishes these goals principally by working closely with national, regional and local leadership along with community organizations to positively influence those primary factors that will likely be considered under a future Base Realignment and Closure BRAC process. For more than 20 years, the Partnership has been a key participant in all large-scale Department of Defense decision-making of impact to Robins Air Force Base. Jamie W.
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