Equest appoints Donald Lake as Balkan director

Equest Property Management has hired the director of Close High Income Properties to head up the activities of Equest Balkan Properties.

Equest Balkan Properties, a division of the British Vigin Islands-based Equest Property Management, has appointed Donald Lake as a non-executive director.

Lake, 62, is based on the Isle of Man and is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The firm says he has over thirty years’ experience in the development of commercial real estate and residential building projects in the UK and continental Europe. Lake has also been a director of Unitech Corporate Parks, an emerging market developer. He is also a director of London Stock Exchange-listed Close High Income Properties, as well as Healthcare and Leisure Property Fund and Business Centre Properties.

Equest Balkan Properties is focused on commercial, retail and industrial property in South Eastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria and Romania.

Interest in Bulgaria and Romania has been steadily increasing, with many firms launchign new vehicles for investment in the area. Pirelli recently launched two new units for investing in the two countries, and in March Europa announced a first close on its emerging markets fund. GE Real Estate also recently entered the Romanian property market.

As recent European Union entrants growth for both countries is predicted to be high. The Romanian real estate market has a particularly interesting growth perspective compared to other Eastern European nations. In 2005 real estate investments amounted to approximately €250 million, according to independant research conducted by Pirelli.

Housing prices in Bucharest have increased 20 percent since 2006, with the average price for apartments being between €1,000 and €1,600 per square meter according to Colliers research. Last year, 19 residential projects were announced in the capital which should result in an estimated 11,000 additional housing units over the next two to three years. Residential development projects in other cities, including Pipera, Trafic Greu, Militari and Pantelimon-Colentina, are also generating increased interest.