6 March 2018 – Expansión
House sales data for 2017 and the ongoing increases in house prices augur a year of consolidation for the real estate market in 2018, according to BBVA Research, which published its Real Estate Observatory report yesterday.
Nevertheless, this trend is happening with geographical variations. Madrid and the Balearic Islands are leading the price rises, with increases of 6.9% and 6.5%, respectively, to €2,355/m2 in the case of Madrid and €2,205/m2 in the case of the Balearic market. Those increases amounted to more than double the national average, of 3.1%, with the average price per square metre rising to €1,559/m2.
In 2017, Spain surpassed the symbolic barrier of 500,000 homes sold. Specifically, the year ended with 532,726 operations, according to data from the National Council of Notaries. That increase, of 15.6%, is even greater than the growth recorded in 2016 (14%) and is supported by: the confidence of households in the Spanish economy; the increase in rents thanks to the growth in employment; and the improvement in financing conditions.
The improvement in financing conditions is reflected in data for January when new loans for the acquisition of homes soared by 19.4%. “Thus, the market is expected to continue to perform positively over the next few months”, said the Research Department at BBVA.
But the market is still evolving at different speeds, depending on the autonomous region. In fact, only four regions have prices per square metre that exceed the national average. Besides Madrid and the Balearic Islands, they are País Vasco, which has the most expensive average house price per square metre in Spain, exceeding even Madrid (€2,387/m2, up by 1.3%) and Cataluña (€1,892/m2), which occupies fourth place, after recording the third highest rise.
The increase in Cataluña was higher than the average, but “it was less intense than in the third quarter of 2017”, said BBVA Research. That circumstance coincides with the secessionist crisis, which has also led to a paralysis in terms of investment and a decrease in the number of tourist visits.
On the other hand, houses got cheaper during the last quarter of 2017 in La Rioja (-1.8%), Castilla y León (-1%), Castilla-La Mancha (-0.8%), Galicia (-0.4%) and Aragón (-0.1%). In some of those autonomous regions, the lowering of house prices may be influenced by the phenomenon of depopulation and the rising demand in large capitals and coastal areas.
Following an 11.6% decrease in the number of permits approved in November, the granting of permits to start new homes performed positively in December, with an increase of 5%, to 6,096 permits.
This increase favours the evolution of the real estate market in a scenario in which the large cities are facing demand that exceeds supply and there is a limitation on land development. In 2017, the number of new home permits amounted to 80,786, which represented an increase of 26.2% compared to 2016.
Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)
Translation: Carmel Drake