Bucharest City Report Q2 2020
The impact of the Pandemic on the Romanian residential market will be different for each category of buyers, correlated with the sale price of the properties.
After almost 50% reduction in Q1 2020 compared to Q4 2019, the decline in office demand in Bucharest continued during Q2, albeit at much lower rate of 19% when compared to the previous quarter. Total gross transaction volume reached approx. 44,500 m². That is only 41% of the volume recorded in Q2 2019. The average transaction size in Q2 2020 was approx. 1,400 m².
Net take up accounted for 16,000 m², or 36% of gross take up during the period. Compared with net take up in Q1 2019, it stood at little over 33%.
Following strong 2019, the expectations were high at the begininng of the year. Nevertheless, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe towards the end of Q1 had a major impact, starting with the end of Q1 and to a larger extent during Q2.
As companies adjust with the new operating scenario generated by the pandemic, we can expect demand to stabilise and perhaps see a modest growth in Q3.
In terms of vacancy rate, Q2 experienced a slight increase, from 8.7% in Q1, to approximately 9.3%.
The retail sector was to large extent hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Shopping centers in Romania were reopened on June 15th, after being compelled to stay close for almost three months, starting on March 22nd. There were, however, some exceptions: food stores, pharmacies and laundry services inside shopping centers were allowed to operate during this time.
Overall, retail trade volumes in Romania bounced back in May, increasing by 20.1% compared to the previous month, after a 21.9% decrease in April (Eurostat).
On the supply side, after only 28,300 m² delivered in 2019 in major retail schemes in Bucharest, no new retail projects nor extensions, were completed during both Q1 and Q2. Therefore, the total modern retail stock in Bucharest remained at 1.154 million m² of GLA at the end of Q2.
On the other hand, there was one new retail park delivered outside of Bucharest during Q2. The 12,000 m² of GLA NEST Miercurea Ciuc, developed by RC Europe, opened in Harghita County.
Supermarkets and discounters continued to open new stand-alone units across the country.