18 May 2017 – El Mundo
Homes are becoming increasingly expensive. House prices rose by 7.7% during the first quarter of 2017 in YoY terms, according to the real estate statistics published by the College of Property Registrars. With respect to the last quarter of 2016 – i.e. looking at the QoQ variation – the increase amounted to 4.1%. With these new increases, the cumulative adjustment since the peaks of 2007 continue to fall and now amount to 22.8%.
On the other hand, 113,738 house sales were recorded between January and March, representing the highest quarterly figure since the first three months of 2011. The increase amounted to 21.8%, with respect to the previous quarter. In interannual terms, the positive trend continued: prices rose by 14.4% with respect to the same quarter in 2016.
On this occasion, contrary to the trend seen in recent years, new house prices performed in line with the general increase, accounting for 18% of the total number of sales, with a significant QoQ rise of 27.5% (20,490 sales), whilst the sale of second-hand homes rose by 20.6% compared to the previous quarter, to reach 93,248 operations.
Purchases by overseas buyers reach peak levels
The weight of house purchases by overseas buyers remained relatively stable during the first quarter of the year to account for 13.1% of all registered sales. That corresponds to sales of around 15,000 properties per quarter. In cumulative YoY terms, foreigners accounted for 13.3% of all purchases, a historical maximum, and corresponding to more than 55,000 house purchases per year by overseas buyers.
By nationality, the British continued to lead the ranking, accounting for 14.5% of all purchases made by foreigners, although their continued fall over the last few quarters (during the previous quarter, they accounted for 16.4% of all purchases made by foreigners) has brought the figure to a new historical low over total purchases by foreigners. The French rose to second place with 9.6%, followed by the Germans (7.7%), Belgians (6.9%), Swedes (6.3%) and Italians (6.1%). These first six nationalities accounted for more than half of all house purchases by foreigners.
Average mortgage amounted to €116,182
Mortgage debt to buy a home increased by 3.6% compared to the previous quarter, to reach €116,182, whilst the number of fixed rate mortgages continued to rise sharply, in line with previous quarters, to account for 38.7% of all new contracts, compared to 31% in the previous quarter, a new maximum in the historical series.
This situation leaves variable rate mortgages at their lowest figure to date, especially, Euribor, which was the reference rate for just 60.3% of all mortgages. The average initial interest rates on new loans decreased slightly to reach 2.3% from 2.4% in the previous quarter.
The terms of new mortgage loans remained relatively stable, recording a slight increase of 0.7% compared to the previous quarter, and an average term of 23 years and four months.
Access to housing saw a slight deterioration: the average monthly mortgage repayment during the first quarter amounted to €536, representing a QoQ increase of 2.2%, whilst the percentage of that repayment over wage costs rose to 28.3% from 27.6%.
Original story: El Mundo
Translation: Carmel Drake