Notaries: House Sales Increased & Prices Stabilised In 2014

17 February 2015 – El Economista

House sales grew by 19.1% to 364,601 transactions in 2014 with respect to 2013, a year of minimal activity in the sector, according to the latest statistics from the General Council of Notaries (el Consejo General del Notariado).

So, whilst this rise in the number of transactions should be assessed from that perspective, the statistics reflect the fact that prices have turned the corner on the negative trend observed during the crisis and are growing again, albeit by only 0.1%.

The notaries explain that “last year the real estate market was marked by the stabilisation of monthly figures, in terms of both quantities and prices”.

Increase in sales

In detail, the increase in sales is more evident in the case of single-family homes, a segment that grew by 26.8% to 74,160, versus the 17.3% increase in the sale of flats, although more flats were sold in absolute terms (290,441 transactions).

In the case of the latter, second-hand sales increased by 23.5% to 234,748 transactions, versus an increase of 9.6% in the sale of new flats (39,306).

Prices increase slightly

In terms of the price per square metre, the average value of homes purchased in 2014 was €1,251 (+0.1%). This increase was primarily due to the increase in the value of flats (+1.4%), since the price per square metre of single-family homes fell by 2.7%.

Similarly, sales of second hand properties are driving the sector. The price of used flats increased by 2.4%, whilst the price of new flats remained unchanged.

Finally, 94,586 transactions involving other properties were recorded last year, of which 38.4% related to land or plots.

Therefore, the notaries insist that “the gloomy path of the real estate market ended last year, with the market showing signs of stabilisation compared with the same period in 2013” and they add that “during the first few months of 2015, they expect market figures to continue on the path of stabilisation observed in 2014, although values may be more moderate”.

Improved financing

On the other hand, the mortgage market behaved in line with the stabilisation of the real estate sector in 2014. The market closed the year with a 5% year-on-year increase in the number of new loans granted and with an average amount of €137,878, representing an increase of 10.2%.

In the specific case of mortgage loans granted for the purchase of properties, the number of loans granted last year increased by 39.4%. This increase amounted to 42% in the case of house purchases and 15.6% in the case of other properties.

The average capital of the mortgages granted for the acquisition of a property amounted to €124,217, an increase of 6.4%. In the case of loans for house purchases, the average amount was €117,507, an increase of 5.2%.

More loans for developers

The notarial statistics indicate that the number of mortgage loans granted for construction also increased during the course of the year, by 20.2%. This increase was higher in the case of house construction (23.8%).

In terms of the average loan amount, the figure stood at €288,974 for all mortgages loaned for construction, which represented a year-on-year decrease of 3.5%, slightly higher than the reduction recorded in 2013 (-3%).

Finally, the percentage of homes purchased using mortgage financing stood at 37.5% last year. Moreover, for these purchases, the mortgage represented 75.2% of the value of the home, on average.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake