RCA Insights

Hotel Sector in Europe: A Boost from Local Buyers and Budget Activity

By on March 3rd, 2017

After a tame first nine months of 2016 European hotel transaction activity rebounded in the fourth quarter to register the third strongest quarter on record. European institutional investors were the primary source of capital responsible for the fourth quarter bounce and helped sustain activity earlier in the year too.

These investors were likely attracted to the strong income characteristics of the sector given the sharp fall in yields across the traditional real estate sectors. Activity by European investors was up 28% YOY in 2016 and was the only identified source of capital that saw growth: activity from Asian investors declined 65% YOY and North American activity dropped 76%.

For the year, hotel transaction volume of €20.8b ($22.0b) was 45% above the 10-year average for the sector, though down 22% on the 2015 levels.

1703 Hotels_main_no_yield_v2-01Of the hotel sub-sectors, budget hotels saw the strongest growth, recording a 28% YOY increase in transaction volume. Of the €2.2b in activity logged in budget hotels, a record €700 million was in Germany. The U.K., a long-established budget market, saw €1.2 billion in transactions. The budget sub-sector now represents 10% of the overall hotels market, up from 2% in 2007, a possible reflection of Europe’s economic austerity over the last decade. Upscale hotels eked out a 4% YOY increase in 2016, while midscale and luxury activity fell 26% and 9%, respectively.

The largest transaction of 2016 was the €810m Interhotel Portfolio, bought by a joint venture between Fonciere des Murs of France and the Event Hotels of Germany in August. Fonciere des Murs tops the list of hotel investors in Europe because of this portfolio and a €535m 19-property portfolio bought from Spanish REIT Merlin. Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, who in recent years were notable buyers of the largest luxury hotels, were absent from the list of top ten hotel investors in Europe in 2016.

As for 2017, the first two months have started off weaker than in the previous few years, with just €1.3b of hotels traded. Still, there are €2b of hotels under offer. With mainstream hotels trading at new low yield levels (at 5.6% in Q4’16, the average hotel sector yield was the same as the European retail sector yield), investors are starting to explore other accommodation sectors such as hostels, holiday parks and aparthotels. We expect to see more trading in these smaller niche sectors during 2017.


Simon Mallinson

Executive Managing Director, EMEA & APAC

Based in London, Simon Mallinson joined Real Capital Analytics in January 2013. Simon has board level responsibility for EMEA and APAC, with a particular passion for the continued development of RCA’s industry-leading client service and capital markets analytics.

Previously, Simon was Senior Director leading European Research at Invesco Real Estate. Prior to Invesco, Simon held a number of roles with IPD (now part of MSCI) in London and the United States. As Head of US Services, based in Chicago, he established IPD’s first North American office.

Simon is a Board Member of US association NCREIF, a member of RICS and is active across a number of other global real estate associations. He holds degrees from both Leeds and Manchester University, UK. Simon has set foot in 48 U.S. states and is looking for an excuse to visit Maine and Alaska.