Spain Is A Long Way Away From A New RE Bubble

21 April 2017 – Expansión

Spain’s large property developers consider that the (Government’s) policies in terms of housing are obsolete and so, they are requesting changes to the existing legislation to reflect the new habits and demands of Spanish society.

A more professionalised sector, with a greater industrial component, which is more disciplined in terms of debt, selective when buying land and prepared to adapt to the economic cycles. That is how Spain’s real estate developers see the future of the residential market in the country.

“I find it hard to believe that the market is not going to undergo a major transformation. The banks are not going to finance land and the radical fragmentation that we have seen until now is not going to continue”, said Juan Velayos, CEO of Neinor Homes, on Wednesday at the XXIV Meeting of the Financial Sector, organised by Deloitte, Sociedad de Tasación and ABC.

The CEO of Aedas Homes, David Martínez, said that between 130,000 and 150,000 new homes are going to be needed per annum over the next few years, so there is still a long way to go. For that Director, Spain has entered a new bonanza cycle following the crisis, which will probably last longer than the previous one.

The CEO of Sociedad de Tasación (ST), Juan Fernández-Aceytuno rejected the idea that there is currently a real estate bubble in Spain. “There is clearly stability in terms of prices, but it is still too soon to talk about a complete recovery in the market”. (…).

Thus, the President and CEO of Vía Célere, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, said that the challenge for the sector in the future is to achieve greater industrialisation. “The situations that are being imposed on us by house and land prices are turning us into a speculative model. The sector was very badly affected during the crisis and there are only a handful of companies with their production capacity intact at the moment”.

For Gómez-Pintado, the sector is still very fragmented: “The large players will not account for more than 5% of the total market”.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Metrovacesa Suelo y Promoción, Jorge Pérez de Leza, highlighted the importance of recovering the reputation of brands.

In terms of his firm’s strategy for the future, Pérez de Leza explained that Metrovacesa Suelo y Promociones wants to become a “premium” channel for generating value from the land currently held by its shareholder banks (Santander, BBVA and Popular). “There has been a lot of speculation around whether we were going to end up as a dump. That is not the case. The strategy that we have chosen to adopt is for Metrovacesa to choose the land that will allow it to be a competitive property developer. The portfolio of land is very good and will be the envy of many of our competitors”.

Shortage of land

In terms of the lack of buildable land, Velayos acknowledged that, although Neinor currently has sufficient buildable land to carry out its strategic plan, which involves delivering between 3,500 and 4,000 homes per annum, the lack of supply may become a problem in the future. (…).

Moreover, the property developers are demanding a change in legislation in terms of housing in Spain so that it reflects the new needs of society. “I can’t think of any other sector that is worse in terms of regulatory matters than urban planning. It is absurd”, said Velayos. (…).

Meanwhile, the Managing Partner at Azora, Concha Osácar, pointed out that Spanish society is changing. “The rental market has been slow to reach Spain, due to a lack of investment and products, but it is now here to stay. (…). The stock of rental homes needs to be increased substantially”. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake