Banks sell properties intensively.

 With the sale of properties at its minimum, banks are nearly the only driving force of the market. While developers and individuals hardly get rid of their properties, homes keep gushing out of the portfolios of banks, according to the results of the first quarter of the year. Only Banco Santander, BBVA and Banco Sabadell have closed more than 10.000 sales.

And if we look at forecasts, the figures managed by the main banks are dizzying. If in 2012, banks got rid of more than 100.000 properties, in 2013 they hope to at least repeat the same results. That is, half of all the sales, which could reach 200.000 if the trend of the two first months of the year continues (12847 in January and 19364 in February).

But what is the cause for this supremacy of banks in reference to developers, real estate companies or individuals? Manuel Romera, director of the Financial Area of the IE Business School, has no doubt about it: Their aggressive price policy and, above all, their capacity to provide financing. “Two very important factors to sell”, he assures. Two strengths, but not the only ones. The institutions have their own keys to success: “There are not one or two reasons to market thousands of homes. In Banco Sabadell we have adjusted the offer to a demand that was there and that needed a realistic adjustment of prices”, Javier García del Río, director of Real Estate Business at Solvia, subsidiary of Sabadell, declares. He highlights the “multichannel commercial model” and the different campaigns. A strategy that has made customers fight over their properties. “We have had to do auctions in order to award some properties”, he confesses.

At Bankia they think that the success of the marketing resides on six points: price, variety of the offer, opportunity of the moment, financing, tailor-made product and important marketing campaigns. Through Bankia Habitat, the nationalized institution has launched packages of properties with discounts of up to 60%. Mainly, in their online auctions of new and old properties.

Bankia praises as well the showrooms in their branches as a selling channel. “These window displays show properties in the neighborhood, with adjusted prices. It is a product adapted to customers”. Bankia provides up to 80% of the valuation with Euribor +0,9 (the common differentials reach 3%). (…)

Banco Santander, the leader in sales with 33.000 operations in 2012 and 4500 in the first quarter of 2013, also reveals their strategy. “Our website Altamira Santander Real Estate has a wide and rich offer – new developments, second hand, off plan, plots, etc. – with an average discount of 51%”, they comment from the institution.

“In this active sales policy, Altamira has the campaign 1000 opportunities Red Code in operation with more than 1000 new homes, discounts of more than 25% on the current market price; and second hand ones for less than 99.000 Euros”. The subsidiary of Santander has an area for investors in the web page, one of the focal points of demand.

The director of the Financial Area of the IE Business School identifies buyers with two investing profiles: individuals that invest their savings in the construction business due to the low profit of funds, and institutions in the search of properties at a low price. “I know there are several vulture funds queuing up for the real estate portfolio of Santander”, Romera declares, mentioning the increasing demand of homes by foreign tourists.

García del Río, from Sabadell, confirms the facts mentioned by Romera: “Once we have made discounts, the investing demand has awaken, as it has perceived that the price in certain assets will not decrease any more. Good opportunities also end”. The person in charge of Solvia also stresses that “89% of the sales of the first quarter had a price equal to or lower than 100.000 Euros, which has allowed for 62% of the operations to be in cash.” 75% of their properties are on the coast.

BBVA mentions “having homes for everyone”, from luxury developments to standard ones and that is why the buyer is “diversified”. Grupo BBVA has closed 3800 operations from January to March thanks “to a great team of professionals, that share a common target, and to the help of the branches, of collaborators and real estate agents”. They finance up to 100% of the sale.

Another important institution in the real estate market is Banco Popular. Through Aliseda they offer discounts of 51% and new discounts between 20% and 25% on their previous catalogue. 64% of their buyers are Spanish and the remaining 36% are foreigners. Bankinter declares that “The main idea is to sell quality, in the location and in the type of properties.” From the 166 properties this bank has transferred in the first quarter, 37% was sold with financing and 63% in cash.

Other sellers that stand out are CatalunyaCaixa, who placed 161 homes in April – all of them from Sareb –  and has a stock of 29.000; and Novagalicia Banco, that praises its dynamic commercial policy, discounts of 60% and the varied offer of properties and financing.(…)