18 July 2016 – Expansión
The Balearic and Canary Islands are featuring in the housing recovery, but Madrid and Barcelona are leading the way; there, the number of transactions has picked up pace and prices are growing strongly once again. Most of these increases are due to the economic recovery, but the savings factor is also playing a major part.
In fact, the influence of private investors is still playing a crucial role in the strengthening of the two major real estate regions, whose central districts are the most sought-after by companies and individuals, both Spanish and foreign.
It is precisely the influence of these investors that boosted property prices in both capitals in the first place, firing the starting gun for the reactivation of the sector, as they committed to the prime areas before anyone else. These central districts, which are well-connected and offer good services, used to offer a certain degree of security for investors, and a great deal of potential for appreciation, even when everyone in the market was still searching for land.
Both cities were amongst the leaders of the increase in house prices during the second quarter of the year, according to data from the appraisal company Tinsa, published recently. Nevertheless, these increases were concentrated in some of the most expensive areas, as shown by the analysis by district of the local markets. Specifically, many of the neighbourhoods where prices stand at around €3,000/sqm in Madrid and Barcelona are also those where prices have risen by the most in the last year, whereas prices in those neighbourhoods that fall below the average have grown more moderately.
For example, prices in the Madrilenian neighbourhood of Salamanca have risen by 9.8% in the last year, whilst in Chamberí they have increased by 8.9%. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, the following districts stand out: Gràcia (where prices have risen by 12.7%), El Eixample (10.9%) and Les Corts (8.1%). These statistics show that the prime areas are recovering better than the rest. They are central, well-connected areas with very solvent demand, where returns are high and there is significant retail activity, which means they have significant potential for appreciation both for those buying to invest as well as those looking to put their properties up for rent. As with everything, there are notable exceptions, such as the Retiro area in Madrid and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi in Barcelona, which are increasing by below the average.
Nevertheless, the real estate expert José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé indicates that the real estate market has now entered a new phase, in which the recovery is spreading to more and more areas. “Before, properties were only being sold in the best districts, but now the increases have spread to the most popular areas, as supply is limited and there are increasingly more buyers looking for homes to live in, rather than to buy as investments”, he explains.
For this reason, the most popular neighbourhoods have become more attractive with the recovery of the labour market and the opening of the bank financing tap. In this way, house prices in the Madrilenian neighbourhood of San Blas have risen by 9.9%, making it the second highest price rise district in the capital; meanwhile, Sant Andreu is also boosting prices in Cataluña, with an increase of 8.2%. Similarly, prices in all of the districts of Madrid that cost less than €2,000/sqm have increased by more than the average, with the exception of Villaverde, the cheapest of all, where prices have remained stable. Something similar is happening in Barcelona where the most popular areas, such as Nou Barris and Sants-Montjuïc, also grew by more than average. (…).
Moreover, Tasaciones CBRE indicates that the profile of investments funds “has evolved rapidly from being opportunistic to value-added, choosing instead to back development, the renovation of properties and, given that they have perceived the potential for refurbishments, they will gradually start managing plots of land in urban areas, with the aim of obtaining higher returns”. With this, the increase in demand and prices will increasingly move to more remote areas. (…).
Original story: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)
Translation: Carmel Drake