Ignore those million-plus empty new homes scattered across Spain, a developer owned by Lone Star Funds says thereâ€™s never been a better time to build more. Neinor Homes, bought in 2014 by the Dallas-based investor, aims to become one of Spainâ€™s biggest homebuilders by increasing construction in big cities where the housing stock is running low, according to Chief Executive Officer Juan Velayos. Competition is thin after the 2008 real estate collapse wiped out about half the
companyâ€™s competitors and made banks reluctant to finance development.
â€œDuring the boom years, anyone could simply get a bank loan to finance construction,â€ Velayos said in an interview at his Madrid office. â€œIt is a very different story now, you need equity and that is going to be the real game changer.â€
The empty apartment blocks littered across the nation in secondary towns and cities contrast with Madrid and Barcelona, where the countryâ€™s economic recovery is more advanced and construction has fallen behind demand. Bank lending to the real estate industry fell by 65 percent between 2009 and last year, handing the advantage to private-equity backed companies like Neinor and Dos Puntos, which was bought by US investor Varde Partners LP in 2015.
Lone Star, founded by billionaire John Grayken, bought Neinor from Spanish lender Kutxabank
for 930 million euros in 2014.