MARKET UPDATE

Gibraltar Property Facts 2023/2024

Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have used the above (most appropriate) quote in the past, but it just seems so fitting when one considers the Gibraltar Property Market ad in particular the last three to four years and against all of the odds.

After a wholly frenzied period of approx. 18 months between Nov 2020 through to May 2022 which saw the average market price for property rise between 50% to 80%, the pace finally slowed down in the last half of 2022. We had anticipated this and regardless, it would have been unsustainable for the growth to continue at a pace of approx. 30% per annum.

Factors such as the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the rise in interest rates quite clearly impacted world markets as was the case with Gibraltar. The question for 2023 was to what degree would all the above affect our position and how would prices be affected. We forecasted a mixed bag and a realignment of the market for 2023 and to a large degree we were correct in our estimations.

Market Update
Market Update

The exceptional 18-month period of growth affected the entire sector in all segments with rates per sqm normalising and reaching levels of up to £11,000/sqm. It was in fact a frenzy (as mentioned) because almost all sectors and were dragged up somewhat falsely (in some cases) due to the demand and we therefore strongly believed that the 2023 would realign areas where there was a significant overreaching in prices. We also felt that as we entered 2023, that there would be a clearer dividing line between front line sea or marina facing high value residences against second line but still high value properties.

The Realignment

2023 was very much a mixed bag, and as expected it produced reduced volumes of sales, we believe in the region of 30-40% down from previous years if not more. But we had prepared for this and to a large degree welcomed a degree of sanity after a period which we all agree was unsustainable. 

The year was all about a real settling of the dust and a realignment in the market, which does not necessarily mean a wholesale downturn in value, but a settling of prices, some up and some down – maybe a few more down than up. The positive news was activity continued, maybe at a slower pace, but it continued. 

Market Update
Market Update

In general terms the “mixed bag” was exactly that, mixed, we saw prices levels that had been reached at the high end, underpinned further but only for the real front line premier high-end properties, one example being a sale that reached £12,375/sqm at Quay 29. Conversely, we noticed other high-end developments such as Midtown, and a large part of the last phases if Ocean Village which had enjoyed the frenzied price hike, simmering down from levels of £10,000/sqm to as low as £8,500/sqm and below. Other segments and tiers also fell or held slightly, but in general terms the trend was not linear across the market and was guided by real value and ironically based on that famous property saying, “location, location, location”!

To sum up, some went up, some stayed, and some went down, the latter saw an average loss in value of between 5% -12.5% over the period from May 2022 to the end of 2023.

What will 2024 hold?

I was asked by a property fund recently whether we provide forecasts, I replied with, “we are an estate agent, of course we bloody do and we have the largest crystal ball of them all” LOL.

Of course, the reality is that forecasting is not something that anyone can do when it comes to property, stocks, crypto or anything else for that matter, too many gardeners telling us what stocks to buy and all that – it just isn’t real and No one really knows.

We do however study trends, we do have experienced and knowledge of the market after 26 years at the forefront in the sector. 

In short, our view of 2024 is a little more of 2023, with a little more certainty and possibly a lesser degree of downturn, in that the drop (where there were drops) have settled and we would like to think that this year brings with it a degree of levelling in so far as price expectations.

Market Update
Market Update

We do expect that high value prime frontline properties will hold value at the high average of £10,00 to £11,000 / sqm but this will really only apply to a handful of areas, with the rest of the market continuing to find its feet and possibly further trickles down where there is over supply. 

We continue to see a huge over-supply in the studio and small one bed segment and simple economics would suggest that, where there is too much supply there is further downward correction, or a stall and we have certainly seen this in 2023. 

The long-awaited agreement does have the ability to impact the market at various levels, but we are of the view that any major gains from a deal done, have already been factored in, and it is more about the certainty that an agreement brings with it than an expectation of another bull market.

Let’s go fly a kite!

It appears that everyone and their grandmother have become developers, to date there are thousands of proposed schemes in the pipeline and that’s not even considering Government Affordable Housing. 

I often get asked whether we are overstretching on volumes on proposed developments. The answer to the question at this point is most certainly and particularly where we have reached a point in the market where we have more listings on sale and rent than we have ever seen, mainly on rental stock. Once again this is driven by the studio segment, but in general terms it is applicable across the board. Compound this further by a great many of the proposed projects being primarily studio centric and it could be true to say that, yes, we are overstretching, and we are allowing speculative greed to drive this. It’s a concern.

Recently we have launched One Bayside, a development of 58 unts – large units throughout and with, what are in our view, translates to very attractive prices with an average rate of £6,800/sqm. Low volume, purely owner occupier driven and high spec. We are pleasantly surprised with sales, which as I write are at 75%, but let’s be clear, the price levels are attractive, and we have undercut the market substantially to make it 

Market Update
Market Update

We look forward to reviewing the market further over the coming months. This year we are also publishing quarterly podcasts on the property market and hope that you will join us in exploring the way forward.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read our update and if you have any questions or comments, we would of course be delighted to hear from you.

Sincerely.

Louis C. Montegriffo

Managing Director

Gibraltar Market Updates 2023

As has been the case in so many of our previous updates, we place a great deal of importance on the impact of off-plan sales and the quality / profile of buyers; we do not tire in repeating simple logic, “owner occupiers” will always drive the sector - “let the market drive the market”.

This has been proven over the past 24 months where larger higher value properties have seen some incredible prices increases of up to 60/70%, driven by owner – occupiers and a lack of supply at this end. 

Market Update

Lettings – Property Rentals

2023 very clearly (as indicated in our update last year) saw a huge increase in properties listed and avaialble. This, mainly due to the delivery of Marina Club, EuroCity and other smaler developments. In addition other determining factors related to a general slow down in the marlet and the lack of an agreement with Spain /UK also saw some exiting and release of properties available To Let.

This increased supply clearly impacted yields negatively with decreases in rents from 2022 Q4 to date, of approx. 5-12% on average – Note that the biggest decreases were driven primarily by smaller apartments such as studios and one beds of which we continue to see a substantial over-supply.

This has therefore led to an increase in the lettings market to an average of 70 units from an average of 40 in 2023. We are not considering the volumes in availability on studios, as this would more than likely take numbers to over 100 properties to let. 

Based on this new wave of supply, rental prices are declining and yields in our view and based on sales values are down to approx. 3.8% - to 4.2%.

A sensible 4 tier market

Our thoughts on a developing 4 tier market (low, mid, high, ultra-high) as described over the past 8years are now firmly accepted. We believe that this more than serves as a positive indicator of the potential that the market continues to enjoy. The very fact that we are attracting a new ultrahigh segment is the clearest sign of confidence from a new emerging market, which we believe is here to stay – but which is dependent on a stable Gibraltar where we are able toat the very least offer a longer term forecast of what we can offer.

It is our firm view that we have a healthy property sector, split sensibly amongst four tiers. Few Finance Centres / Financial Services jurisdictions can boast such a cross section in the market, cateringan array of property segments for various profiles - this in our view, once again shows the maturity of the market.

RATES PER SQM AND AVERAGE PRICES ACROSS THE BOARD ARE IDENTIFIED IN THE TABLE BELOW:

Lower end market£3,300/sqm - £4,500/sqm£325,000
Middle end market£4,600/sqm - £6,000/sqm£550,000
High end market£6,100/sqm - £8,000/sqm£815,000
Upper High end market£8,100/sqm - £10,900/sqm£1,200,000

Commercial Property in Gibraltar

With respect to current availability / stock, it is safe to say that there are options in various locations, but particularly so in older commercial developments. The offering is generally lower quality and in certain areas, compromised in terms of layout flexibility and sizes.

There is no question that an element of decanting from the older commercial properties into the newer and better designed office schemes has been the order of the day over the past 48 months.. Worthy of note is the fact that letting rates/sqm have not been compromised at the higher end due to the decanting, in fact quite the opposite; applicants are prepared to pay high-end prices for high end specs. In our view this creates an opportunity for landlords with older (decanted) buildings, to upgrade and provide the market with improved offerings to market.

We take the view that new modern office options will only serve to improve the commercial offerings in the market and will generate new business steered by new expectation which once again serve to underpin the positive future for Gib Inc.

In light of the Covid pandemic and the advent of a greater volume of employees working from home, there is a case to be made in so far as less demand or a request for reduction in office space, particularly for the larger office users. We believe that this has not directly affected the high rates for Grade A offices being achieved, but there may be some circumstances where negotiations on rent reviews may now favour the tenant. 

Having said all the above, we take a great deal of confidence from the fact that the economy continues to grow under difficult circumstances, regardless of recent events we remain in a good position albeit in a transitionary period where new business and new entrants may be waiting to hear news of “the Agreement” and the impact that this will have moving forward.

Market Update

CURRENT MARKET RATES:

EuroportEuroportHigh value - Comm£355 - £390/sqm pa
Leisure IslandOcean VillageComplex£360 - £440/sqm pa
Regal HouseQueenswayMid to high end£250 - £300/sqm pa
EurotowersEuroportGood Amenities£240 - £275/sqm pa
Leanse PlaceTown (South)Mid end£240 - £275/sqm pa
Hadfield HouseTown (Centre)Mid end£230 - £250/sqm pa
World Trade CentreMarina BayHigh value - Comm£430 - £480/sqm pa

New Off-plan Developments and their impact

Currently and at the time of writing, Eurocity, Marina Club, North Gorge and The Reserve are the only major off-plan developments which are under construction, with the latter two being the only one primarily steered exclusively to the owner occupier segment.

We are seeing a great many re-sales at Eurocity, particularly studios and one beds andcontinue to be of the view that prices within these types of properties may suffer, with available volumes on smaller units increasing by the day. E1 and Forbes, completed during the end of 2022 and whereas we have seen good movement in Forbes which comprises of a wider range of mixed units, E1 which is primarily studios and smaller one bedroom, units has seen a great many of the properties come back to market on re-sale and rentals which is seeing price expectations primarily on rentals affected – with expectations on yields being compromised.

Market Update
Market Update

We have been fortunate, thanks to a thriving economy and new entrants across the board (commercial / retail / financial service / gaming / DLT / private clients) to find ourselves in a not uncommon situation of a serious lack in supply for larger higher value high end properties, which has led to a hike in prices that had not been seen since 2007 and then again in 2013. See Property Price Graph above.

There is a need and demand for new off-plan projects ad we will see the last phase of the very successful Midtown Development come to market in the 1st part of 2023; we look forward to more of this, whilst also throwing some caution in so far as the current climate surrounding us remians. The Victoria Keys reclamation and of course the Eastside project, are developments that will in time materialize, but at present it would be safe to say that these are more at planning / infant stages.

In addition to this, there are of course numerous projects (up to 5 in total) filed and lined up at Devils Towers Road. It remains to be seen at what pace these may materialize, once again because of the current climate of uncertainty that we are experiencing.

Fundamentally however, when it comes to sensible planning and knowing your market and your profile buyers, we have always maintained that a mix of owner occupiers, seasoned investors and a small measure of speculators is healthy, any overdose of the latter and you run the risk of exposing the market to an oversupply trend and in turn a property bubble. We saw this very situation in 2008 and in not such a large degree in 2014 and again 2017. See Property Price Graph above.

Thankfully, because of our well protected economy, Gibraltar has (in the past 25 years) weathered over supply storms and downturns better than most. In today’s climate where we are experiencing higher interest rates, an oversupply of smaller units, a UK in recession and no agreement in sight, we do expect to see and are seeing a downturn in prices and yields in over supplied segments.

Market Update

Gibraltar Economy / Property Sector

Property values as indicated have grown enormously in most sectors since November 2020. We have seen this rally slow down and adjust since May 2022.

Our take for the future very much depends on the impact that higher interest rates have on the local economy and as mentioned already the pending agreement with Spain.  New business for Gibraltar is present, but we feel that the pace seen over the past few years has settled as uncertainties are very much in play – stability and a clear sense of what we are able to offer in the longer term is crucial; at this stage it is difficult to present a clear picture.

We believe that the private client space will continue to feature highly as we see high value clients looking for jurisdictions that can afford them a safe, proactive, low tax and regulated environment. Historically, where the world has been in crisis, jurisdictions like Gibraltar do well and invariably attract high value clients looking for stability in safe well-regulated locations.

We believe that we have the potential to draw on this and continue with the journey that we have witnessed so far.

Buena Vista Park Villas
Ocean Village

PROPERTY FACTORS OF NOTE:

  • Our lettings portfolio today stands at an average of 40 units, a substantial increase from last year and we feel this will increase further, primarily in the studio small one bed sector. This is already having an impact on yields which today have fallen to approx. 4%.
  • Our sales portfolio is at an average of 90 units for sale. This relates only to real properties ready to move into and some re-sale off-plan” units close to completion. We expect this to increase further, but we see price levels high in general terms with expectations from vendors hard to meet in some cases. Once again, too many smaller units at high prices will see this segment increase in size and will have an impact on prices. We are however comfortable and cautiously optimistic on owner occupier, high value properties where there is less supply.
  • High Value market sales have levelled off, but as expressed in previous updates, are very much here to stay, thereby underpinning the top end of the market and the confidence from applicants in this sector.
Ocean Village

KEY RELATED ECONOMIC FACTORS:

  • There continue to be NO bank repossessions.
  • Unemployment remains below 1.5%.
  • Finance Centre industry is growing from within with new sectors arriving on shore.
  • Gibraltar remains the only highly regulated, low tax, English speaking centre in Europe.

Selling or letting with BMI Group

If you are considering selling or leasing your property, here are just a few reasons why you should think no further about using BMI.

Established as leading agents since 1998, we are Gibraltar’s leading estate agents and development consultants.

Over the past two decades we have been involved the sale of over 4,000 properties and have advised, consulted, and acted as lead agents for a substantial part of the off-plan development segment, including developments such as:

Sunset Close, Genista House, Europlaza, Buena Vista Mews, Atlantic Suites, Kings Wharf, Midtown, The Anchorage, Buena Vista Park, The Sanctuary and others.

Our team of 10 strong, include two dedicated property managers responsible for over 200 properties under management, a full-time account manager, two sales directors and other back office and administrative staff. 

Our commercial department has recently been involved in two large transactions of mixed use and office development’s amounting to approx. 4,000sqm of areas with a value of approx. £20,000,000.

In the past 18 months our sales team have acted and advised in the large majority of high value sales on the Rock including sales at The Sanctuary and over 80% of sales at the exclusive (phase 3) Buena Vista Park

The BMI brand and our visibility on media and social media speak for itself, with page followings of near 4,000. We advertise daily and exposure to your property is guaranteed on our website which is updated daily. 

Critical to our success is our ability to provide serious advice, and zero hype! Our market appraisals are supported by experience and knowledge of the market, and we provide real comparable sales supported by our four-tier scale on rates / sqm. 

We are able to provide solid guidance and advice because we are firmly established as leaders in our field with a firm presence in the market over 25 years.

Speak to us first.

GIBRALTAR PROPERTY PRICES PER SQM

These stats are from currently available properties:

Average Highest Lowest
Current average rate per sqm £7,553.31/sqm £17,516.63/sqm £3,611.11/sqm
Studio average rate per sqm £8,623.07/sqm £11,562.50/sqm £6,349.21/sqm
1 bedroom average rate per sqm £7,648.49/sqm £9,375.00/sqm £5,925.93/sqm
2 bedroom average rate per sqm £7,733.95/sqm £10,869.57/sqm £3,823.53/sqm
3 bedroom average rate per sqm £6,934.18/sqm £13,417.72/sqm £3,750.00/sqm
4 bedroom average rate per sqm £8,608.98/sqm £17,516.63/sqm £4,496.53/sqm
5+ bedroom average rate per sqm £6,747.70/sqm £9,680.50/sqm £3,611.11/sqm

Unit 7 Portland House, Glacis Road, Gibraltar

+350 20051010

info@bmigroup.gi