Spain’s Rental Market Is Thriving, Boosted By Buy-To-Let

9 January 2016 – Expansión

Thanks to strong investor appetite / The high profitability of residential investments has increased expectations in the rental market, given that it is the option now chosen by 21% of Spaniards. Experts forecast rental price rises of more than 5%.

The rental market closed 2016 with price rises of 6.7%, but in many large cities, the increases were in the double digits. The difficulties facing young people when it comes to affording a home, the emergence onto the market of hundreds of thousands of homes that were empty and the high returns of real estate investments have increased expectations for this residential option, once forgotten in Spain and which is now the alternative chosen by 21% of Spaniards.

This year, “given that interest rates are not expected to rise in Europe over the medium term, housing will remain attractive as an investment asset”, said Jorge Ripoll, Director of Research at Tinsa. “Speculative demand will push more and more savers towards the sector”, predicts Miguel Cardoso, Chief Economist for Spain at BBVA Research.

In this context, the consensus of the panel of real estate experts consulted by Expansión is that the rental boom will not only continue during 2017, but that the rises may even be larger, especially in the large cities. Julián Cabanillas, CEO at Servihabitat, highlighted that his forecasts indicate an average YoY growth in rental prices “of more than 10%”.

The increase in prices will be “particularly noteworthy in the large cities, whose weight over the national average is also more significant”, added Cabanillas, who warned that: “If prices continue to rise in the double digits, many households will be priced out of the market, particularly those formed by young people”.

The President of Tecnitasa

José María Basañez points out that “during the last few months of 2016, the rental market in Spain was more robust than the market for house sales”, a trend that will continue into 2017, in his opinion. “Therefore, we may well see price rises of more than 5%, on average”. (…).

Other analysts, such as Julio Gil, Chairman of the Foundation of Real Estate Studies, and José García Montalvo, Professor of Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University, think that the rental price rises will be more moderate. Nevertheless, like in the case of house prices, “there will be areas where rental prices will grow more quickly (such as in Madrid, Barcelona, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands)”, said Montalvo.

“The rental market is here to stay in Spain. We are seeing a change in mentality, with more and more people convinced that it is the way forward”, says Beatriz Toribio, Director of Research at Fotocasa.

House prices are also rising

Finally, it is worth noting that two new phenomena are being seen in the rental market. On the one hand, rental prices are rising and the volume of house sales are increasing, as Jaime Cabrero, President of the Real Estate Agents’ Association in Madrid, explains. On the other hand, the rise in rentals is making house purchases more expensive, according to Juan Fernández Aceytuno, Director General at Sociedad de Tasación: “The rental market is causing house prices to rise because there are increasingly more investors who are buying properties to rent”. “The high returns offered on buy to let properties are behind the tensions in terms of prices that we have been seeing and will continue to see in 2017”, adds Toribio.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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