15 March 2018 – Expansión
The real estate sector is aiming high in 2018 off the back of the economic recovery. Having surpassed the barrier of half a million homes sold in 2017 and whereby made a return to pre-crisis levels, in January, house sales soared by 23% YoY, to reach 47,289 units. It is the best data for a decade, since May 2008, according to the latest data published by INE. That, combined with the 4.5% recovery in prices in February, as estimated by Tinsa’s price index, indicates that the time is ripe for consolidation in the sector. “The consolidation of credit, the improvement in the economic context and the strong outlook for the sector and the economy, in general, explain this reactivation in demand for housing”, explains the Head of Research at Fotocasa, Beatriz Toribio. With respect to December, sales in January soared by 46.8%.
Forecasts for the real estate sector point to increases of 5% in terms of prices and 10% in terms of sales, in line with the forecast evolution of the Spanish economy. Even so, the number of operations recorded is still well below the more than 100,000 homes sold per month in the years prior to 2008, when the real estate bubble burst. Prices have also continued to recover, and whilst in the centre of some cities, they have now recouped their losses, there are still many areas of the country where house prices today are 65% lower than they were in 2007.
On the one hand, the large capitals and coastal areas are leading the increases in prices, boosted by interest from investors, the tourist boom and a shortage of stock and of new homes. In fact, the overheating of prices in many areas is leading to a displacement of demand towards less central areas of those cities.
In terms of sales, the 23% increase is backed by double-digit growth in 13 autonomous regions. Asturias, the Community of Valencia and Murcia lead the rises, with increases of 56%, 40% and 39%, respectively. Nevertheless, only Valencia remained in the top 3 in absolute terms. That community was, after Andalucía, the one where most house sales were recorded in January (7,409 units). Andalucía was the area where most homes were sold, 8,988 units, up by 31% compared to January 2017. The third region on the podium was Cataluña, which recorded 7,334 sales, although at a rate that was well below the average, of 8%. In this regard, Toribio said that although “the political situation may have slowed down activity in the Catalan real estate market, it has not paralysed it completely”.
Meanwhile, in Madrid, 6,526 homes were sold, up by 14%. Together with Cataluña, La Rioja, Aragón and Extremadura recorded the lowest increases in transaction numbers, up by 8%, 5% and 1%, respectively. The geographical differences expand further as you zoom out of the photo. By province, Álava grew by the most (56.5%) and several provinces saw their sales figures fall. Specifically, in Ciudad Real sales decreased by -19.4%, in Zamora by -10.3% and in Badajoz by -7.4%.
The composition of that growth was also uneven by segment, with a clear predominance in terms of second-hand housing. Of the total number of transactions, just 8,272 were new homes, compared to 42,745 second-hand properties, in other words, 17.5% of the assets sold were new and 82.5% were second-hand. Nevertheless, both segments are evolving in parallel, with growth of 23.5% for new homes and of 23% in the case of second-hand dwellings.
Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)
Translation: Carmel Drake