Polish real estate market unaffected by Russian-Ukrainian conflict, says CEO of Redefine

Although Poland has seen the passage of some 2.7 million Ukrainian refugees following Russia’s attack on neighboring Ukraine, the Polish real estate market has not yet been directly affected by the war.

This is the word of Andrew König, CEO of Redefine Properties – SA, the second largest Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) listed on the JSE and a group that has significant exposure to offshore real estate in Poland.

Read: Redefining the takeover will see the EPP withdraw from the JSE in March

Redefine owns a 95% majority stake in the Polish retail owners EPP as well as separate logistics property investments in Poland.

At a press conference on Redefine’s interim results on Monday, König downplayed the possible impact of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on commercial real estate in Poland.

“I don’t expect negative [commercial property] ratings there,” he said.

“We have seen the impact on Poland with around 10% of the Ukrainian population, mostly elderly and children, coming to the country due to the conflict… But the real estate market has not been directly impacted. [by the war].”

Higher global interest rates and inflation

“There is the impact of higher interest rates and higher inflation, but that is also a global problem… What we have seen though are labor shortages in Poland , with for example around 30% of construction workers in the country normally being Ukrainians. With the conflict in Ukraine, most of these men had to return home [after being called on to fight in the war],” he added.

König believes the commercial property market in Poland will actually benefit from increased spending, with more than two million Ukrainian refugees currently in the country.

On the logistics real estate front, he said Poland continues to attract significant investment, citing Google’s recent purchase of The Warsaw Hub in a deal worth more than €500 million ( of Ghelamco).

Read: Redefining dividend payout returns and making a surprise offer for the EPP

“There is still a lot of activity in the Polish logistics real estate market…Poland is also benefiting from supply chain problems in Europe as a result of the war,” he added.

König said that many people ask how serious the war in Ukraine could be for Poland and what pressure it will put on the country’s economy, however, he pointed out that the Polish economy is still on the right track to achieve GDP growth of around 4% this year despite the war in neighboring Ukraine.

Listen to König talk on The Property Pod about Redefine’s recent R7.2bn takeover of Polish property meter EPP (or read the transcript):