Source: Promo | Tuesday, 27.12.2022.| 10:26
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Boško Tomašević, Managing Director SEE, CBRE – We Continue to Set New Standards and Expand Business Operations in 2023 Too

(Photo: CBRE)
The company CBRE is seeing the end of the year in which they realized their best results since the founding of the direct office for Southeast Europe. Each year, they raise the bar, and the plans for 2023 are accordingly ambitious.

In an interview for eKapija, Boško Tomašević, Managing Director SEE, talks about the successes achieved, his view of the real estate market, but also what is yet to follow.

We are coming to an end of 2022. How would you rate this year for CBRE? To what extent have the plans been realized, and can you say that you are satisfied?

– We are coming to an end of the year in which we achieved the best results since the establishment of the direct office for the Southeast Europe region, and each of our business lines achieved exceptional success, so first of all, I am proud of my team. I would single out a few key points.

We ended the year by leasing out the entire office building "Revolucija" to one tenant. This is the largest transaction of office space lease on the Belgrade market in 2022. When we talk about the transactions of leasing office space and advising leading global and local companies from wide business segments, during this year, CBRE increased its market share to almost 60% in Serbia alone, with a leading position in other markets where we operate.

Continuous results were awarded and CBRE was named "Agency of the Year" for Central and Eastern Europe. It is a CRE Awards recognition that combines the results of the Advisory and Transactions Department in the field of office, retail and logistics space, as well as residential properties.

On that occasion, CBRE was also named “The Best Project Management Company”, and this year our team can boast of being in charge of some of the most ambitious fit-out and built-to-suit projects in Serbia and the region. During this year, our Building Consultancy team was responsible for the fit-out of more than 30,000 square meters of office space, projects whose value exceeds 50 million euros.

Certainly, the greatest successes were achieved in the logistics real estate segment, where we set new records - of the five largest transactions in the region, CBRE exclusively brokered four.

Looking back at these fragments of this year’s success that I have mentioned, I am grateful to the entire team for once again confirming that we are the leading regional consulting company in the real estate sector.

CBRE opened an office in Slovenia this year. How would you rate Slovenian real estate market? Are you satisfied with the results achieved?

– At the beginning of 2022, we established new office in Slovenia, the fourth in a row since 2018, and less than a year after the opening of the office in Zagreb. Property management, as well as Retail and Office Advisory and Transaction services, are currently the backbone of our business in this market, but we plan to integrate other services in the near future.

I am extremely satisfied with the operations of the office in Ljubljana in the first year, bearing in mind that we successfully manage a portfolio of 14 retail parks throughout Slovenia, and I would also like to highlight the Emonika project, one of the largest mixed-use projects in the region. Emonika is being developed in Ljubljana, while CBRE has been engaged as an exclusive representative for leasing office and retail space.

In your opinion, what are the key values and patterns of business that influence success, but also its recognition in a wider context?

– The exceptional results achieved by CBRE in the region, which are reflected in the largest market share in all business activities, are the result of knowledge of the local business environment, combined with the experience and resources of the global CBRE network. This result would not have been possible without the people who make up CBRE. Our potential lies in our people, and I consider the greatest success to be that during the expansion of business throughout the region during this, as well as in previous years, we managed to attract and retain experienced professionals from all sectors, and I am very pleased that CBRE has brought the best people into the team.

It is especially important to me that we are focused on creating a positive working atmosphere, which I am personally committed to, as well as creating a system that provides our employees with the opportunity to realize all their potential and improve their skills. It is certainly one of the most important factors for achieving our business goals.

A new line of business dedicated to capital investments in the tourism real estate sector was also opened. What is the significance and what are the expectations?

– For the first time since the establishment of the CBRE office for Southeast Europe, we continued our expansion through the launch of a new line of business - CBRE Hotels. Our capital investment team has already proven its capabilities and expertise in various transactions within the tourism real estate sector, and the decision to open a new line of business is a clear indicator of the development and opportunities of this segment of the real estate market in our region.

CBRE Hotels is an integrated platform of services dedicated to capital investments in the tourism real estate sector, through which we will provide clients with the opportunity to make the most of their investments.

Although our focus is on all eight countries in which we operate, the special potential for further development and the interest of investors in investing in the tourism sector refer to the entire Adriatic coast, with a special focus on the Croatian market, which has progressed significantly in recent years in terms of increasing the number of tourists and new accommodation capacities.

What is your view of the real estate market in the coming year - do you expect changes or stagnation?

– The geopolitical events that occurred at the beginning of 2022, as well as the macroeconomic environment, posed new challenges. Disruptions in supply chains, rapid inflation growth have shaken markets around the world, especially in Europe, and brought caution in decision-making.

When we talk about the residential real estate market, next year Serbia may be the only market in Europe that will not see a significant drop in demand, if the current situation and trends continue. Our residential market is predominantly based on cash buyers and interest rate changes do not have a large direct impact on demand. Only the reduction of economic activities can lead to less capital accumulation and reduced demand, which is a much slower process.

Nevertheless, it is certain that the changed financial and economic situation will be reflected to some extent on our real estate market. On the supply side, reduced availability and increased cost of capital will lead to slower development of new projects, which may primarily affect commercial and larger residential projects. The level of demand for renting commercial properties will depend primarily on the general state of the economy. If the economic predictions that our economy will not go into recession and that we will not have a significant increase in unemployment come true, it is realistic to expect only a slower demand that will reduce the pressure on rent growth.

Certain segments of our real estate market are still not sufficiently developed, so we still have an opportunity for development there, as well as attracting new investments. I am primarily referring to the logistics real estate segment, which is strongly influenced by the development of e-commerce in our region. The situation is similar with office space, where supply still lags behind demand, which is particularly pronounced in Belgrade and Zagreb. It should be borne in mind that the real estate markets of Central and Eastern Europe are oversaturated in certain segments, therefore we need to be wise, create and take advantage of the opportunity. We will certainly continue to promote our region in order to attract foreign investments.

What are CBRE's plans for the future?

– Every year we raise the bar, so the plans for 2023 are also ambitious. We aim for further expansion in the region and are already preparing to open another office in Croatia, namely on the Adriatic coast, which is closely related to the recently launched CBRE Hotels line of business.

We follow the key trends that shape real estate markets, listening to the needs of clients, and our expansion continues in establishing new lines of business in Southeast Europe. CBRE, as the world's leading consulting company in the field of commercial real estate, also sets new standards. Bearing in mind that the real estate sector plays an undeniable role in the growing climate challenges, our ESG Consultancy team delivers innovative solutions that support every stage of the real estate life cycle. In this way, we enable our clients to make important business decisions and manage sustainability within their real estate portfolio, increasing their value at the same time. ESG Consultancy is an innovative way of looking at all the services we offer, and I am pleased that we will bring these solutions to the market of Southeast Europe and thereby influence the construction of a sustainable future.

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