12/03/2014 – El Mundo, ExpansionPro
Specialists have always claimed that the balance point for Spain is 300.000 houses sold anually. That seemed out-of-date during the boom time when the sales reached 955.000 sold houses only in 2006. Now, after 5 years of draught, the sales climbed to the magical number and, according to Statistics on real estate transactions collected by the Ministry of Development, in 2013 they reached a number of 300.349.
Experts agree that “buying atmosphere” has been created, especially during the second half of 2013 when funds and small investors were buying property with significant discounts (flat value accumulates a 40.5% fall after dropping by another 7.6% in February – Tinsa) in order to rent them later and obtain high yield rates.
On the one hand, the number is by 17.4% smaller than the one noted down in 2012 (363.623, +3.6%) (…). Before the January 1st 2013, VAT imposed on houses was equal to 4% and after that time it rose to 10%. (…). Moreover, credit access nowadays is still restricted in spite of some banks´inclination to start granting it again.
Therefore, even though the market seems to have reached its equilibrium point, it still cannot achieve good response to demand.
Another noteworthy data shows that in Madrid and Barcelona annual rate of transactions grew by 6.8% and 0.8% respectively. To be precise, in the capital 22.645 houses sold (juxtaposed with the 21.202 units in 2012). In turn, in the Catalonian capital 9.501 dwellings were acquired last year and 9.426 a year earlier.
Pre-owned houses uphold the market
Just a look at property age could point the culprit harming the market. Out of all 300.349 purchases, about 243.972 concerned used houses and merely 56.357 units were new. Comparing these data with 2012 performance we may notice stagnant activity (falling only by 1.3% in regard to the 247.274 operations from 2012), whereas the new housing segment dips down by 51% (from 116.349 in 2012 to 56.357 in 2013).
In reference to the acquired property regime, more than a sixth part of total corresponded to subsidized houses (54.584 units). Within this subsector, purchase dropped by 19.7% in comparison with market average in 2012, when 68.007 people bought the VPO houses.
Applying analysis by autonomous communities, the Canary Islands is the only region that had positive performance (+1.4%). The rest of the CCAAs registered depreciation. The mildest slump can be found in Catalonia (-9.6%), the Valencian Community (-10.3%) and Madrid (-11,2%), whilst the most acute one in Asturias (-37.7%), Extremadura (-36.3%) and Cantabria (-33.7%).
When it comes to provinces, only two show annual increase: Santa Cruz de Tenerife (2.4%) and Las Palmas (0.6%). The remaining regions registered drop-offs. The smallest decrease in transaction number is witnessed in Alicante (-1.5%), Malaga (-3.6%) and Tarragona (-4.9%), whereas the higher in Alava (-52.3), Cuenca (-41.6%) and Toledo (-39.8%). Moving to lower administration level, precisely to provincial capitals and cities of more than 100.000 residents, the ones with growing tendency are: Marbella (19.2%), Parla, (17.2%), Mostoles (12.7%), Guadalajara (12.5%), Ceuta (10.3%) and Madrid (9.3%). On the other side, places where transactions taper down are: Soria (-81.7%), Cuenca (-83.1%), Leganes (-78.0%), Jaen (-69.7%) and Zamora (-63.1%).
Foreigners drive transactions up
Talking about nationality of a purchaser, transactions carried out by a foreigner residing in Spain have been going up for last ten consecutive quarters, in 2013 advanced by 0.1% in reference to the fourth quarter of 2012, with 13.629 operations. Likewise, property bought by non-resident foreigners reach 1.158 in the said period, that is by about 17.0% less than a year before.
In total, transactions conducted by foreigners (both resident and non-resident) show 14.787 units, i.e. 15.8% of all the 93.438 transactions registered at the end of 2013. By provinces, the highest number of property acquired by a resident foreigner has been scored in Alicante (3.442), Malaga (1.922), Barcelona (1.086), the Balearic Islands (1.020) and Tenerife (822).
Translation: AURA REE