With a degree in Business and Marketing, Laurence El-Kassir is the Group Commercial Director at GRE Assets. In this role, he leads and develops the long-term objectives and commercial activities of the group.
His role is varied and includes responsibilities such as group restructuring, strategic planning and expansion programmes contributing to the growth and longevity of GRE Assets. Laurence is currently focussed on the European expansion, which has been one of the company’s strategic goals since 2013.
In this interview, Laurence explains why GRE Assets chose to expand into the Spanish property market and the role the company has played in building communities there. He also shares his predictions on what the future holds for Spanish property.
Why did GRE Assets choose to expand into the Spanish property market?
We saw Spain had all the foundations for sustainable growth making it a very attractive and open market.
We identified Barcelona as the best place to start due to the strong tourism economy, international investment, expansion of the airport and a short supply of quality new apartments at realistic prices in urban areas. The Spanish property market also offers diversification to investors who want to establish a euro base with safe and solid investment returns.
Since the point of entry in 2013, we have delivered two projects to date, with our latest development, Brises Diagonal Mar, set to complete later this year.
How has GRE Assets helped build communities and brought a new specification to the Spanish market?
When we expanded into Spain, we needed to understand the market so having a team of locals who were familiar with the region and culture has been vital.
We noticed a gap in the market for good quality apartments for mid-income buyers and tenants. Our research showed 70% of apartments on the Spanish market were 20 or more years old. We responded to this surge in demand by offering high-quality, energy efficient and sustainable apartments at affordable prices to create uniquely appealing and secure communities.
For example, our Brises Diagonal Mar development will create a strong vibrant neighbourhood with a focus on social life, evening economy, top quality amenities and architectural focal points relating to the city’s impressive culture. Not only does this celebrate the fascinating history of Barcelona, but it also shines light on the city’s plans for a smart future.
What do you think the future holds for the Spanish property market and how will that influence the work of GRE Assets there?
We are extremely proud of the work we have done so far, and we are still seeing that strong demand for new build properties. The Covid-19 pandemic have made buyers rethink their priorities when choosing a new home, with outdoor space being high on the list.
We anticipate other developers will follow suit by offering high specification apartments with spacious contemporary living as well private terraces and balconies.
GRE Assets are further expanding their reach and investment in Spain, in areas such as Malaga which has all the indicators to be an attractive and secure place to invest. The City of Malaga is currently undergoing a period of major transformation as the economic and technological capital of Andalusia, resulting in a positive impact on the city’s economy.
GRE Assets is a property investment company with major residential schemes in the UK and Spain.