How Long Does It Take To Sell A House In Spain?

21 June 2016 – Cinco Días

The improvement in the economy, the credit recovery and the belief that discounted house prices have come to an end are all driving up house sales. In fact, several studies agree that it now takes just 10 months to sell a home, on average, when in 2013 it took more than a year. What’s more, in April, homes in good locations with reasonable prices in Madrid and Barcelona were sold within 30 days.

The three major indicators of the real estate market: price, sales and construction have been reflecting an improvement in the sector for months now, and in some cases for years. But another way of taking the pulse of this activity is to look at how long it takes to sell homes, on average. For the time being, the only figures available are provided by private companies operating in the market, such as the appraisal company Tinsa, and the real estate portals Idealista and Fotocasa.

Care should be taken because the results depend on the methodology used in each study, and given that we do not know what happened in terms of average sales periods before 2010, the reality is that all of the cases indicate the same trend: it takes less time to sell a home now than it did a year ago.

The appraisal company Tinsa has been preparing its study for just four quarters (its figures for Q2 2016 are due to be published within the next few days). It obtains its data by cross-checking the volume of supply and demand for homes in all of the provincial capitals and in the country’s five major cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla y Zaragoza. Two conclusions stand out from its finding.

The first is that, on average, during the first quarter of this year, it took 10.5 months on average to sell a home in Spain, slightly less time than during the previous quarter (10.6 months). Although, we should keep in mind that the start of the year tends to be the quietest time for house sales, which could also affect the average sales period.

The second aspect…is the disparity in average sales periods by region. Whilst in some parts of the country, average sales periods are pretty stagnant and have barely experienced any changes in four quarters, either up or down; in other areas, there has been a clear upwards or downwards trend (homes are being sold more quickly or it is taking longer to complete sales, respectively).

In the ranking by province, for example, Madrid stands out because it now takes just seven months to sell a home there; meanwhile, in Cantabria, the autonomous region with the longest average sales period, it takes 19 months to sell a home, almost triple the period reported in Madrid. Other regions at the top end of the ranking include: the two Canary Island provinces, Badajoz and Zaragoza. Whilst, at the other end of the scale, as well as Cantabria, we have Ávila, Álava, Segovia and Ciudad Real, amongst others. The large cities that complete the appraisal company’s study all have a common denominator: they are the areas where average sales periods are decreasing the most quickly.

Meanwhile, Fotocasa’s figures are prepared based on a survey of owners with homes up for sale. Its latest figures relate to 2015 as a whole. Its findings show that it takes 10.6 months to sell a home on average…well below the maximum peak of 13.2 months reached in 2013. In addition, it breaks down the supply by tranches and concludes that last year, just 15% of the homes that were bought had been on the market for more than 24 months.

Finally, recent analysis performed by Idealista shows that in April, 20% of the homes sold in Madrid and 15% of those sold in Barcelona found a buyer within less than a month. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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