Sebastian Dragomir – Head of Office Advisory and Member of the Board at Colliers International, talked about the development of the Romanian real estate market since the early 2000s during the 18th edition of BR’s REALTY Forum.
Dragomir said that when he joined the real estate sector in 2004, it was somewhat similar to a “wild wild west”. He went on to present the most significant milestones of the Romanian market since its early years:
- 2001 – All the companies were somehow related to the government and wanted quick access to ministers by being near the Victoria Palace; Opera Center was the first modern office building in Bucharest – the genesis of the modern office stock in bucharest
- 2002 – A huge success: 8,000 sqm of offices from Mobifon (Vodafone) were leased through Colliers – something that today doesn’t seem like much.
- 2005 – Another milestone from Portland Trust – Bucharest Business Park – a new trend, the development of the north part of Bucharest – selling a “dream” to young, well-dressed people who were driving nice cars and living in nice areas like Snagov or Corbeanca.
- 2007 – Regional cities started to develop and were a big hit as companies realised their potential and decided to move to places like Cluj/Timisoara
- 2009 – Floreasca-Barbu Vacarescu was the new trend, the place where all the companies wanted to be; We also reached a milestone of 1 million sqm of modern offices, then we had another shift – IT companies becoming the main driver of demand, replacing the financial sector.
- In 2009, everyone was avoiding the Pipera area, thinking it was in the middle of nowhere
- 2011 – Floreasca Business Park was sold, setting up a new benchmark and showing companies that South African investors were interested in Romania and were willing to acquire office buildings
- 2012 – City Business Center was sold in Timisoara, showing interest from investment funds in regional cities as well
- 2015 – Floreasca Park sold again
- 2016 – New trends: focus on sustainability, 360 degree office advisory, new office hubs.
- In 2007-2009, developers didn’t really care about green buildings, but now they’re the new standard.
- 2017 – Switch to co-working as an alternative solution to the leasing/shared service; Globalworth became the new market leader in terms of square meters – one year later, they also became the leader on the Polish market
- 2018 – Offices moving to residential areas; Romanian investors making their mark in Bucharest
- 2019 – Vacancy evolution 13%+; office stock milestone of 2.5 million sqm; Romanian investors also going outside of Bucharest