Barcelona, Madrid & Costa Del Sol Lead Residential Recovery

26 October 2015 – Expansión

Two terms are key in the residential market: “trend” and “it depends”. The first has a clear rationale: investment in housing is a long-term phenomenon and as such analysis should be kept as far away from the short-term as possible. The second serves as a wildcard, in one of the most fragmented markets of all. For example: Is now a good time to invest in a home? Well, “it depends” on where, because the real estate recovery is happening at, at least, two speeds.

On the one hand, we have medium-sized cities with a lot of stock and less established areas, which are weighing down on the results. On the other hand, we have the large real estate centres and main tourist destinations, which are experiencing a resurgence.

According to a survey conducted by the Network for Qualified Property Consultants (RAIC or ‘la Red de Asesores Inmobiliarios Cualificados’) for Expansión, 73.9% of the professionals in the sector think that the three main leaders of the real estate recovery will be Madrid, Barcelona and the coastal regions.

17.39% believe that the leaders of the real estate recovery will be Barcelona and Madrid only, whilst 4.35% put thier money on the cities in the north of Spain. A similar percentage back the Mediterranean Coast.

Madrid and, above all, Barcelona, are experiencing a new period of real estate expansion. House prices increased by 7.4% in Barcelona during Q3 2015 and by 0.2% in the capital, according to Tinsa.

The third most preferred region for investment, since it is recovering so well, is the Costa del Sol, which, unsurprisingly, is regarded as the “leading indicator” of the sector. When prices rise in Marbella and the surrounding area, prices in other areas tend to follow suit.

Javier García-Mateo, Partner in the Financial Advsiory team at Deloitte explains: “Crises always start on the coast, but so too do the recoveries, above all on the Costa del Sol. It was in Marbella that we first began to see price decreases in 2007”. He considers that now is a “good time” to buy on the coast of Malaga. “And the feeling there is even better than in many of the major cities. The coast is a much more volatile market, where the decreases are very acute, but so too are the increases. And demand there is European, not just Spanish”.

Foreigners are the main players. José Antonio Pérez, Professor of Real Estate at IPE, says that purchases by foreigners “are growing twice as quickly as those made by Spaniards, on the coast”. “For the most recent developments sold off-plan in the Costa del Sol and Levante, more than two thirds have been bought by citizens with 12 different nationalities; they demand and pay more, and almost always pay in cash”, added Pérez.

The coast in Alicante is starting to recover strongly too, according to Jorge Ripoll, Head of Research at Tinsa, the largest appraisal company in Spain.

The consultant José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé emphasises another major focus of the residential growth: the metropolitan areas of the large cities. “Opportunities in the labour market are clearly found in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and other large cities, and that is leading to migration, particularly young people, to the peripheries of these cities”, he says. “That is where homes need to be built”, he adds.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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