Spain has become a magnet for global bargain hunters. Real estate prices are down as much as 50 percent from their peak during the housing bubble, and investors from Asia to the United States and Britain are flocking to Spain to try to catch the uptick.
British Airways flights to Madrid are packed with London-based real estate executives.
The hedge fund Baupost is buying shopping centres, Goldman Sachs and Blackstone are buying apartments in Madrid, and the Paulson & Company and George Soros funds are anchor investors in a publicly listed Spanish real estate investment vehicle.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts just bought a stake in a Spanish amusement park complex.
Big-name private equity firms and banks are teaming up and competing against one another on huge loan portfolios with names like Project Hercules and Project Octopus.
“It’s surreal,” said Dilip Khullar, a 25-year veteran of Spanish real estate investing and director of Cadena an investment fund.
“One day it’s the worst place in the world to buy real estate and the next, it’s the best.”