13 February 2017 – Expansión
On Friday, official data from Spain’s National Institute for Statistics (INE) certified that 2016 was the year of recovery in the housing sector. In total, 403,866 homes were sold, up by 13.6% compared with 2015. It was the third consecutive year of growth following an increase of 11.5% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2014, and it was the first time since 2010 that the property market exceeded the psychological barrier of 400,000 operations. The cumulative increase in the number of house sales since the last year of the recession in the real estate sector now exceeds 30%.
18.7% of the homes sold and purchased in 2016 were new and 81.3% were second-hand. The number of operations involving new homes decreased by 1.7%, whilst the number involving second-hand home sales rose by 17.8%, with respect to 2015.
At this point, it is worth noting that the INE considers all homes aged over five years old as “second-hand” homes, even if no-one has ever lived in them, something which happens a lot with the stock held by the banks.
“Our expectations were fulfilled during the year, despite the turmoil created by the political uncertainty and other problems, which could have easily delayed the recovery. People buying and selling homes to reposition themselves on the property ladder have driven the boom”, said the Director of Research at Pisos.com, Manuel Gandarias.
More new builds in 2017
In any case, the hegemony of the second-hand market is a trend that may start to reverse this year: “During 2017, we will see new build homes gaining momentum and growing at a faster rate”, said Gandarias.
“House sales will continue growing at a good pace, but new builds will give us more positive data and if financing is maintained at its current levels, increasingly more people will be able to access mortgages”, said Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa.
The number of house sales grew in every autonomous region in 2016. The highest increases were recorded in the Balearic Islands (31%), Cataluña (20%), Extremadura (18.6%), Asturias (16%), Aragón (14.7%) and Cantabria (13.7%). The Community of Madrid registered an annual increase of 12.2%. Meanwhile, La Rioja (5.7%), Murcia (7.5%) and Galicia (7.7%) recorded lower increases with respect to 2015.
Based on the number of house sales registered, the autonomous regions with the highest number of sales per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016 were the Balearic Islands (1,521), the Community of Valencia (1,478) and the Canary Islands (1,196).
89.7% of homes sold in 2016 were free (unsubsidised) and 10.3% were social housing properties. The number of unsubsidised homes sold increased by 13.5% with respect to 2015 and the number of social housing properties rose by 14.5%, according to INE.
For Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at Idealista, the strong increase in 2016 is “an accolade to the normalisation of the sector, which despite the turmoil in the mortgage market, managed to sell 50,000 more homes”. “Over the next few months, we will see the sales statistics continue to rise, although it is possible that we will see growth rates moderate slightly, driven by higher mortgage rates”, he added. (…) .
Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)
Translation: Carmel Drake