Investment volume was up by nearly 55% in 2015, driven by large transactions in Milan. The city accounted alone for 54% of the total investment volume in Italy thanks to three large deals: the €900 million investment by the Qatar Investment Authority in the Porta Nuova project, the purchase of the Isozaki Tower by Allianz for €367 million and the sale of Palazzo Broggi in Piazza
Cordusio to Fosun for €345 million.
By product typology, offces recorded strong interest from investors with a volume up by 139% compared to 2014. On the other hand, retail volume dropped by 44% over the same period.
This emphasises the view that investors are anticipating an increase in offce rents, leading them to seek the best products that stand the best chance of growth over the coming years.
Setting the number aside, it is interesting to observe that the Italian market has regained its interest for investors, above all for foreign ones who have driven a recovery of real estate activity. Their primary aim is to identify core products, but there are not many of them available, and those that are for sale can reach excessive prices. Therefore, the market has seen the first deals involving substantial work on properties to adapt them to suit demand from both tenants and investors. Moreover, in addition to the lack of good quality product, the Italian market does not have many large assets that are above €100 million in value. This could represent a limit for some international investors, especially those coming from Asia.
With regard to the two main markets, Milan and Rome, there continues to be a dichotomy between the two cities. Milan is taking full advantage of the recovery, with its strongest volumes of all time. The Roman market has returned to its average level of the last ten years, but volumes remain far below those of Milan.
Besides the viewpoint that Milan is seen as a more liquid market, there is a problem of product. In Milan there are grade A buildings, well positioned and fully leased, whereas supply in Rome does not meet demand. In addition, the Roman market remains overly tied to the public sector whose short-term real estate strategy is not clear yet