Banks, the kings of the real estate exhibitions.

Next week the Spanish real estate sector will reunite in a meeting that used to be unavoidable for the big names in the construction business for years. Today, after five years of financial and real estate crisis, the real estate exhibition in Madrid (Sima) will reopen between the 30th May and the 2nd June with new leading actors and a clear goal: to sell properties.

“The importance of the real estate sector has been reduced significantly. There is less activity and there are less companies”, Eloy Bohúa, director of Planner Reed, organizer of the fair, explains. “The crisis is redefining the role of the different actors in this market, especially the financial institutions, whose strategies in the residential segment are decisive for the whole sector”, Bohúa adds.

The director of the exhibition provides one of the keys for the change of scenario experienced within the sector which is reflected in the number of exhibitors that will attend the most important real estate fair in Spain: the predominance of financial institutions.

No great developer or real estate company will attend this year´s edition of the fair. In exchange, the subsidiaries of Santander, Bankia, CatalunyaCaixa, Popular, Sabadell and BBVA have confirmed their attendance. There will also be traditional real estate companies such as Level, Hercesa, Habitat, and the subsidiary of Iberdrola.

There will be in total 150 exhibitors – a similar figure to last year´s – that will offer bargains during the fair such as the assumption of the VAT, although discounts will not be the essence of the offer. “Discounts have lost importance as the main selling argument: discounts in reference to what price? To the one from last year or two years ago? We now see that efforts concentrate in communicating as clearly as possible the features of the product. The price does have an influence, of course, but also does the location or services. The buyer is more and more informed, he knows what he is looking for and what he is ready to pay and in a growing percentage of cases, what financing he can get. One of the positive consequences of the crisis is that the market is getting more and more transparent”, he assures.

Although most companies within the sector are centered in reducing their debt, experts believe that the developer is also a key figure.

Most banks have chosen to sell the awarded properties directly, but they need to get rid of the stock of finished properties and of plots, which do not find a buyer nowadays. “We will see a growing cooperation between financial institutions and companies in order to get rid of plots that can materialize in viable projects. All this will be followed by a greater professionalization in all spheres of the activity”, the director of Sima forecasts.