RE In 2016: The Experts Are Cautiously Optimistic

31 December 2015 – El Economista

Experts in the real estate sector continue to talk about the improvement experienced in the market in 2015 with caution; and they consider that 2016 will be the year of stabilisation following almost a decade of severe crisis. But, above all, the experts believe that we will see new homes being constructed once again next year.

That is according to the statistics published by the Ministry of Development for construction permits (…).

Given that it takes around 18 months for a new development to be constructed, in 2016 we can expect to see the inauguration of properties for which permits were granted at the end of 2014 and during 2015.

In this way, the President of the Spain’s Property Developers’ Association (APCE), Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, believes that investment funds and Socimis will both continue to be key players in 2016, although he says that the role of “property developers will become increasingly important and we will probably see (more) joint operations between these players”.

Such operations are already taking place in certain areas where new build properties are scarce, with investors approaching traditional property developers to leverage their experience in the sector in exchange for providing financial muscle. (…).

Other forecasts for next year

With this outlook, Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at fotocasa.es expects to see a YoY increase in the price of second-hand housing in 2016, for the first time in eight years, as well as a lower rate of growth in terms of sales volumes, not because of a decrease in activity, but because the comparison will be made against figures from 2015, which will not have the same “step effect” that we have seen in 2015, with respect to the 2014 figures. (…).

Stabilisation or recovery

Against this backdrop, the experts have differing opinions when it comes to naming the current situation in the real estate sector. Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, the Director General of Sociedad de Tasación, thinks that 2016 could be the year of “consolidation”, but warns that several uncertainties still exist in the market.

Beatriz Toribio also thinks that it is still too soon to be talking about recovery because at the moment, house sales represent just one third of the volumes recorded ten years ago”, and so she prefers to describe it as the “normalisation” of the sector.

The main challenges facing the sector

In terms of the main challenges facing the real estate sector in 2016, Toribio believes that the main one is having the capacity to construct homes that new buyers actually want to purchase, in terms of quality, design and energy saving features, at prices that they are willing to pay, as well as reducing the housing stock at the same time.

According to Fernández-Aceytuno, the sector needs to open the market up to the demand that has been building up during the crisis to drain the stock of unsold properties. Finally, APCE has said that the sector’s main task for 2016 is to cultivate “more transparency” and to improve its image.

Property developers want a Housing Minister

In any case, given the political uncertainty following the general elections on 20 December, property developers in Spain believe that “having a Secretary of State or Minister for Housing would be more than justified” given the sector’s weight in terms of GDP. (…).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

38