14 November 2017 – Expansión
The negative consequences of the crisis caused by the “independentistas” extends to every sector of the economy. And one of the most affected is the real estate sector, as the data published on Monday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) shows. Cataluña was the third autonomous region where house sales grew by the least during the month of September, with a YoY increase of 2.1%, equivalent to 6,146 operations.
With that percentage, Cataluña fell well below the average YoY growth rate for Spain as a whole, which amounted to 11% in September. That increase – below the rate recorded in August, of 16% – was driven by Castilla-La Mancha (47%), Murcia (27%) and Extremadura (24.2%), which experienced the highest rises. Unlike Cataluña, the other economically powerful regions, such as Madrid (11.4%), Valencia (13.2%) and País Vasco (13.3%), were above the national average.
This data partially reflects the impact of the events that took place in September, with the approval by the Parlament of the so-called disconnection laws. But given that most operations are negotiated several weeks in advance, Manuel Gandarias, CEO of Civislend, indicates that the deceleration was due primarily to “expectations” – many people postponed their purchases as a precaution, in case the situation deteriorated, which is what ended up happening.
This explains why Cataluña has gone from being one of the drivers of house sales in Spain to bringing up the rear of the ranking. In this way, in May, the region came in above the national average, with an increase of more than 30%. In June and July, the first signs of the deterioration could be seen, when the rate stood at around 17%, broadly in line with the rest of the country. But in August, it decreased below the national average (7.4% vs. 16%), and that decrease was further strengthened by the data published yesterday. In absolute terms, it means 6,720 operations were recorded in August, 7,020 in July and 7,039 in June; in contrast with 6,146 in September (…).
The growth recorded in Cataluña during the month of September was distributed unequally by province (…). The worst hit was Girona, which saw house sales decrease by -2.9% in September. Barcelona and Tarragona saw very limited rates of growth, with 1.9% and 4%, respectively, whilst the best figures were seen in Lleida, with a rise in house sales of 16.3% (…).
The negative trend indicated by this data will probably be made worse when the indicators relating to the next few months are revealed, as they will reflect the impact of the events that took place after the illegal referendum on 1 October. According to José Antonio Pérez, Professor of the Real Estate Department at IPE, the greatest effect is being felt “in investments from overseas”, which have reacted in the face of the legal uncertainty. Gandarias said that the situation will also have its impact on operations involving families, given that those who have decided to buy a home “will probably wait now until after the (regional) elections”.
The “independentista” crisis is also affecting property prices. According to a report published last week by Fotocasa, the price of housing in Cataluña slowed down its rate of growth from 10.6% in September to 6.1% in October.
Original story: Expansión (by Ignacio Bolea)
Translation: Carmel Drake