13 March 2015 – Expansión
More homes were sold in 2014 than in 2013. That is a fact. The question is: how much did the market grow by? The official statistics do not tally (with each other). The Institute for National Statistics (INE) recorded an increase of 2.2% (in 2014), based on data from the property registers. Yesterday, the Ministry of Development revealed an increase of no less than 21.6%, based on data from notaries, which represents the greatest increase since it began publishing these statistics (in 2004), with a total of 365,594 transactions.
This is also the highest figure since 2010, although, of course, it is still a long way from the peak years of the real estate bubble (2007, when 837,483 transactions were recorded). One of the explanations for the disparity in the Government’s statistics stems from the fact that not all transactions recorded in the public registers are included (in the data). Moreover, there is typically a time lag, of a few months, between notarial information and data in the property registers.
In any case, the trend, which is really the important indicator in the real estate market, is becoming bullish once more. Not surprisingly, according to the data from the Ministry of Development, sales of residential properties increased by 2014 in every autonomous region, something that was unheard of in the years of the crisis.
Sales increased by the most in Madrid (44.7%), followed by Navarra (31.3%), Aragón (31.1%), Asturias (30.8%), País Vasco (29.3%) and the Balearic Islands (29.2%).
But the improvement in the market did not stop there. An annual increase was recorded in every single province in 2014. The largest rises were recorded in Ceuta (57.6%), Burgos (46.8%), Salamanca (39.2%), Zaragoza (38.2%), Guadalajara (37.9%), Vizcaya (34.3%), Melilla (34.1%) y Guipúzcoa (33.0%).
House sales to foreigners resident in Spain also experienced a year-on-year increase in the last quarter of 2014, for the fourteenth consecutive quarter, specifically, by 19.7%, with respect to the fourth quarter of 2013, a total of 16,336 sales. Similarly, purchases by non-resident foreigners increased to 1,315 during the quarter, an increase of 13.4% on the previous year.
Overall, sales to foreigners (both resident and non-resident) accounted for 15.8% of all sales. By province, the greatest increases in the number of purchases by foreign residents were recorded in Alicante (3,852), Málaga (2,226), Barcelona (1,536), Madrid (1,285) and Baleares (1,126).
Finally, it is worth noting the healthy level of activity in the housing market in the fourth quarter of 2014, when 111,921 homes were sold in Spain. Not since 2010 have more transactions been recorded during the fourth quarter (150,494). This figure represents a year-on-year increase of 19.5%.
Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)
Translation: Carmel Drake