20. Dec 2018 - Immobilien Zeitung

The big off-market illusion

by Monika Leykam

No investor likes bidding procedures. They are expensive and frustrating. Nevertheless, more and more properties are being sold in this manner. Even those which are later described as an off-market deal. A number of “exclusive” negotiations are actually not at all exclusive.

“We prefer to buy off-market.” Who is not familiar with this sentence, and who has never uttered it himself? [...]

This article was originally published in German only. A summary in English is available.

The lead story from issue 51/2018 of IMMOBILIEN ZEITUNG looks in detail at the benefits and drawbacks of off-market transactions, as well as the common preconceptions associated with such deals on the German real estate investment market. In general, the article emphasises that numerous investors avoid structured bidding procedures wherever possible, as these are often associated with higher due diligence costs while they offer no certainty of securing a deal. The article also looks in detail at the HPBA Off-Market Study, which places the off-market volume on the German real estate transaction markets at around 40 billion euros in 2017. This total is also questioned in the article, among others by the real estate economics research group Gesellschaft für Immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung (gif) and by an anonymous researcher. These do not provide any estimates of their own or any empirically-based counterproposals, however. John Amram, the founder and managing director of HPBA Off-Market Solutions, states that he accompanies off-market transactions amounting to one billion euros every year, the majority of which are not to be found in any of the statistics provided by brokers. Additionally, the article looks in detail at the definition of the expression “off-market”. A number of industry representatives regard this as exclusively addressing only one potential buyer and therefore speak of an ostensible “off-market illusion”, as such exclusive deals tend to be something of a rarity. According to the definition used by HPBA and Bulwiengesa such exclusive addressing of single potential buyers only covers a portion of the off-market segment.