EUROPE - German pension fund Nordrheinische Ärzteversorgung (NAEV) is considering returning to the Polish real estate market after having divested and taken profits from the region in recent years.

The German pension fund for medical professionals in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia has identified Poland as one of the most interesting markets in Europe for new investments.

In autumn 2008, Hermann Aukamp, chief investment officer for real estate at NAEV, told IPE Real Estate it was looking to make some disinvestments from individual spezialfonds in Warsaw.

"It is still a good time to sell in Poland," he said at the time. "We will go back into these markets some day, but for now we see quite a good exit."

But this week Aukamp said he was seriously looking at returning to the market, especially Warsaw, to make acquisitions.

"The office market is picking up, the investment market is picking up too, and Poland will be a good story for some time now," he said.

"Its fundamentals seem to be quite good. The only question mark is oversupply, which might be the case, but we will look at this market."

The turnaround comes soon after the announcement that opportunity fund manager First Property Group is to launch a new vehicle following a brief hiatus in the Polish market.

France is the second market in Europe NAEV is particularly focused on, although Aukamp said fierce competition was making it difficult for fund managers to find the right investments.

"It's expensive," he said. "Investor demand, especially for smaller lot sizes, is particularly high, so it is very difficult to get decent stock at the moment."

NAEV has been most active in its home market, investing in multi-family residential assets in the main German cities of Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich.

"We are very busy in these markets because we feel it's worthwhile, as there is good long-term demand for housing in these markets," Aukamp said.

He added that NAEV was also looking for prime high street retail in Germany, but that competition in the sub-sector made it hard to find the right deals.