Unemployment to Fall to Pre-Crisis Levels in Madrid

3 December 2019 – The Community of Madrid has had a series of years of growth above the average for Spain as a whole. According to the forecasts by BBVA Research, Madrid had the highest regional growth in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019 ad 2020. Thus, in 2020, unemployment in Madrid is expected to fall to pre-crisis levels, which, until now, had only been done in the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.

BBVA Research stated that GDP in the Community of Madrid is expected to grow by 2.6% this year, a significant reduction in the pace of growth compared with last year (3.7%). The regional average for the country as a whole, however, only reached 1.9%. Next year, growth in Madrid is expected to fall to 2.2%, compared to the Spanish economy at 1.6%.

Original Story: Expansión – Pablo Cerezal

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

BBVA Research: The New Rental Decree & AJD Law Will Dissuade Investment in Housing

15 April 2019 – Expansión

BBVA Research is predicting a slowdown in the increase in residential investment this year and next, with forecast growth of 4.6% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020, after the sector closed 2018 with growth of 6.9%.

According to the Spain Watch report compiled by the research house, the main driver behind the expected slowdown is the regulatory changes that “are affecting the sector and increasing legal uncertainty for landlords, which are reducing the incentives to entry for large investors and making purchases in regions with exposure to the tourist sector less attractive”.

The legal uncertainty first emerged at the end of 2018 when changes were made to the rental law and to who is responsible for paying Stamp Duty (AJD). Previously it was the purchaser; now it is the lender bank. That has resulted in a deceleration in residential sales, which may only be temporary, but at this stage is too early to say.

Meanwhile, BBVA Research has revised down its forecasts for the construction sector for this year and next, with increases of 4.8% and 4.7%, respectively, in light of the above.

Original story: Expansión

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

BBVA Research: Building Permits for New Homes Double in 3 Years

12 November 2018 – Cinco Días

The recovery is being boosted by construction activity in the real estate sector. 2018 is going to close with the granting of more than 100,000 permits for the construction of new homes, which represents twice the number of permits granted in 2015, according to estimates from BBVA Research. During that year, activity in the sector started to recover, after years in free fall. The real estate construction segment is whereby returning to six-digit figures, something that has not been seen for eight years.

Until August, the most recent data available from the Ministry of Development, just over 68,000 permits had been granted, up by 26% compared to the same period last year. The data from that month reflects that it was the best August on record since 2008.

The sector may be recovering but it is still light years away from the property fever experienced a decade ago. To give some perspective, the 100,000 new build permits that are going to be granted this year are eight times fewer than the figure recorded in 2006, when the highest ever number of permits was issued (865,561). In April of that year alone, 126,753 permits were granted, a figure that comfortably exceeded the number expected to be issued during 2018 as a whole.

The exact opposite was seen in 2013, when the number of permits hit rock bottom: during that year, just 34,288 permits were granted, the absolute minimum in the whole historical series (whose data goes back to 1992). The following year, there was a slight increase in permits (of 2%) but it was not really until 2015 when the figures started to recover with any strength, up by 43% that year. Since then, the number of construction permits granted has followed a stable growth path, with YoY increases of around 25%.

According to the research from BBVA, the increase in permits forms part of the favourable context in which the market is developing. During the third quarter of the year, employment in the construction sector grew by 1.3%, loans for home purchases increased by 16.8% YoY and house sales in August were almost 10% higher than during the same month last year.

A large part of the still moderate and stepped growth in terms of construction permits is due to the fact that the number of leftover homes constructed during the bubble, which still have not been sold, is still “high and disproportionate for the levels of demand in six out of every ten provinces”. There are 1.2 million leftover homes in total, according to the statistical yearbook for the real estate market compiled by the consultancy firm Acuña & Asociados.

Nevertheless, that stock of homes is very dispersed throughout the country: the consultancy firm calculates that one third of those homes are located in areas with zero or very low demand, whereas in the main cities, new build homes are needed, something that is being confirmed by the significant increases in house prices.

Madrid is the city that accounts for the most building permits (both for new construction and renovation or refurbishment). So far this year, work has started to build or renovate 7,000 homes in the Spanish capital. It is followed, at a distance, by Barcelona, with just over 2,200 homes. Next in the ranking are Valencia (1,640), Málaga (1,400), Zaragoza (1,060), and Sevilla ( 830). Those six cities – which account for almost 20% of the population – account for 17% of all of the permits granted so far this year (…).

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Lack of Rental Homes Boosts House Purchases in Canary Islands

12 May 2018 – Canarias 7

During the first quarter of the year, 6,373 homes were sold in the Canary Islands, up by 20% compared to the same period a year earlier, and 8 percentage points higher than the national average. Every day between January and March, 70 homes were sold, 12 more per day than in 2017. Moreover, operations involving new build homes grew by more than those involving second-hand homes for the first time.

The lack of rental homes in the Canary Islands is boosting the volume of house sales in the archipelago above the national average. And that is because buying a flat is the only way of securing a home in certain areas of the archipelago, according to warnings from real estate experts.

Data published on Friday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) confirm the trend in the Canary Islands’ real estate market. During the first quarter of the year, 6,373 homes were sold on the islands, which represented an increase of 20% with respect to the previous year. Every day between January and March, 70 homes were sold, 12 more per day than in 2017.

During Q1 2018, 1,001 more operations were closed in the Canary Islands than during the same quarter last year, according to the Statistics for the Transmission of Property Rights published by INE. At the national level, the increase was half that figure, 12%: between January and March, 128,348 homes were sold in Spain compared to 114,965 a year earlier.

In terms of the type of homes sold in the Canary Islands, for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis, the number of new home sales grew by more than the number of second-hand home sales. Operations involving new builds are fewer in absolute terms but they are growing more rapidly. Between January and March, 1,333 new homes were sold in the Canary Islands, up by 22% compared to the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, 5,040 second-hand homes were sold, up by 17.8% compared to a year before, according to data from INE.

Price rises

House prices are going to rise by 5% on average this year, i.e. by almost twice the rate they grew by in 2017, according to forecasts from BBVA Research reflected in its magazine, the Real Estate Situation in Spain.

Similarly, the bank’s research department predicts that the volume of operations will reach 570,000 this year, up by 7% compared to 2017. In terms of new home permits, the forecast is that 93,000 will be signed by the end of the year, up by 15% compared to 2017.

In general, the potential demand for housing is expected to grow by between 1 and 1.4 million over the next 10 years, which translates into an annual average of between 95,000 and 135,000 households.

Original story: Canarias 7 (by Silvia Fernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Research: Madrid & Balearics Led Spain’s House Price Rises in 2017

6 March 2018 – Expansión

House sales data for 2017 and the ongoing increases in house prices augur a year of consolidation for the real estate market in 2018, according to BBVA Research, which published its Real Estate Observatory report yesterday.

Nevertheless, this trend is happening with geographical variations. Madrid and the Balearic Islands are leading the price rises, with increases of 6.9% and 6.5%, respectively, to €2,355/m2 in the case of Madrid and €2,205/m2 in the case of the Balearic market. Those increases amounted to more than double the national average, of 3.1%, with the average price per square metre rising to €1,559/m2.

In 2017, Spain surpassed the symbolic barrier of 500,000 homes sold. Specifically, the year ended with 532,726 operations, according to data from the National Council of Notaries. That increase, of 15.6%, is even greater than the growth recorded in 2016 (14%) and is supported by: the confidence of households in the Spanish economy; the increase in rents thanks to the growth in employment; and the improvement in financing conditions.

The improvement in financing conditions is reflected in data for January when new loans for the acquisition of homes soared by 19.4%. “Thus, the market is expected to continue to perform positively over the next few months”, said the Research Department at BBVA.

But the market is still evolving at different speeds, depending on the autonomous region. In fact, only four regions have prices per square metre that exceed the national average. Besides Madrid and the Balearic Islands,  they are País Vasco, which has the most expensive average house price per square metre in Spain, exceeding even Madrid (€2,387/m2, up by 1.3%) and Cataluña (€1,892/m2), which occupies fourth place, after recording the third highest rise.

The increase in Cataluña was higher than the average, but “it was less intense than in the third quarter of 2017”, said BBVA Research. That circumstance coincides with the secessionist crisis, which has also led to a paralysis in terms of investment and a decrease in the number of tourist visits.

On the other hand, houses got cheaper during the last quarter of 2017 in La Rioja (-1.8%), Castilla y León (-1%), Castilla-La Mancha (-0.8%), Galicia (-0.4%) and Aragón (-0.1%). In some of those autonomous regions, the lowering of house prices may be influenced by the phenomenon of depopulation and the rising demand in large capitals and coastal areas.

Following an 11.6% decrease in the number of permits approved in November, the granting of permits to start new homes performed positively in December, with an increase of 5%, to 6,096 permits.

This increase favours the evolution of the real estate market in a scenario in which the large cities are facing demand that exceeds supply and there is a limitation on land development. In 2017, the number of new home permits amounted to 80,786, which represented an increase of 26.2% compared to 2016.

Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Banks Take Advantage of The Expansive RE Cycle to Sell Properties

21 January 2018 – Efe Empresas

According to Joaquín Robles, analyst at XTB, speaking in an interview with Efe, the banks have waited “for several years for a recovery in house prices” to reduce their exposure to property.

The good health that the real estate sector is currently enjoying is reflected in a study from BBVA Research, which shows that new home prices are expected to rise by 4.9% in 2018. The banking institutions have also decided to reduce their real estate weight due to the changes that have been introduced to international and Spanish accounting legislation.

The new regulations require entities to increase their provisions using own funds to strengthen their capital ratios, with the aim of being more solvent in the event of another possible market crash in the future.

These modifications “will translate into an increase in provisions of 13% on average for the large European banks”, said Robles.

Real estate sales is a correct strategy for the banks

The sale of real estate assets is “a correct strategy from the point of view of banking management”, says the Partner responsible for the Financial Sector at KPMG in EMA and the Head Partner of KPMG Abogados, Javier Uría.

In fact, “the divestment of real estate assets that is happening will result in the strengthening of the sector”, he added.

Spanish banks have reduced their real estate assets in a greater proportion than other European banks, as a result of the effects of the economic crisis and the evolution of the economy.

One example of that is BBVA, which decided to reduce its exposure to property to a minimum, with the sale in November of its Spanish real estate arm to the investment fund Cerberus for €4 billion.

That operation was “hugely important” for BBVA, since it reduced its exposure “to an activity that is unrelated to its core business”, according to comments made at the time by the CEO of the entity, Carlos Torres Vila.

Uría said that Sareb has made an important contribution to this process.

That company, also known as the “bad bank”, was created with the objective of reducing the risks of the financial institutions and orderly liquidating the problem real estate assets within a maximum period of 15 years.

Sareb received almost 200,000 assets worth €50.781 billion, of which 80% were financial assets and 20% were real estate assets.

The income statements of the banking entities will be affected by their real estate divestments in a positive way, since they will result in lower requirements in terms of capital and provisions, as well as in a “reduction in the costs associated with the ownership of these types of assets”, concluded Uría.

Original story: Efe Empresas (by Javier Melguizo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

 

BBVA Research: House Sales Will Exceed 550,000 in 2018

9 January 2018 – El Periódico

BBVA Research predicts that house prices will rise by 5% during 2018.

The real estate sector was responsible for more than 11.2% of the growth of the Spanish economy during the first three quarters of 2017. And the strong end to 2017, despite rising uncertainty in the final part of the year, will make way for a 2018 in which the economy will grow once again, supported by both domestic and overseas demand, according to the findings of the report “Real Estate Situation in Spain”, published by BBVA Research.

Although the rate of growth will be more moderate in 2018, forecasts indicate that around 550,000 house sale operations will be closed, which will drive the growth in house prices to around 5% and will increase the granting of building permits to around 92,000. Moreover, increasingly more autonomous regions will show a normalised real estate market, having overcome the crisis.

The scarce data (to be released so far) relating to the final quarter of 2017 indicates a moderation in the growth rate. During the middle two quarters of 2017, house sales maintained their growth rates, which favoured the increase in prices and the launch of new projects. With the official data for the final quarter yet to be published, this report indicates that the balance for the sector during 2017 as a whole was positive, thanks to the strong foundations, which are still having an effect.

Between January and October 2017, 432,500 homes were sold, up by 16.4% compared to the same period in 2016. That figure was made possible by the strong performance of the mortgage market: the volume of new loans to buy homes grew by 16.4% YoY during the first 11 months of the year, and the granting of mortgages increased by 14.7% between the months of January and October. All of this, in a context in which financing costs are at minimum levels, with mortgage interest rates of around 2.2%. The increase in demand favoured construction activity and between January and October, 28.0% more permits were signed, taking the total to 60,695. In this way, house prices rose again during the third quarter, following a moderation in Q2 (by 2.7% according to the Ministry of Development and by 6.6% according to INE).

The Catalan uncertainty

The uncertainty resulting from the political events in Cataluña will influence the evolution of the market. It already forced the moderation of the growth forecasts for the sector as a whole in 2017 and has determined the projections for 2018. Although most of the data from the last quarter has not been published yet, the figures that have been released indicate a certain deceleration, such as house sales in October, which grew by less than expected.

Between the months of June and September, house sales in Spain remained at relatively high levels. The data reveals that house sales amounted to around 45,000 transactions per month, according to data from the Notaries’ Centre for Statistical Information (CIEN). Meanwhile, during the month of October, house sales decreased by 9.3%, the greatest decrease recorded in recent months and that may be related to the increase in uncertainty.

Resident buyers

Alicante, Málaga, Valencia, Madrid and Tarragona are the five provinces that attracted the most resident buyers from other provinces between January and September. Nevertheless, when we compare the total number of homes sold in each province, we see that those where second residences have the highest market share are those that are closest to large cities. Such is the case of Ávila, Segovia and Toledo, provinces close to Madrid where around 35% of homes sold in each one are acquired by residents from other provinces. The same thing happens in Cantabria, close to Bilbao and its surrounding area, and in Tarragona, close to Barcelona.

Original story: El Periódico (by Max Jiménez Botías)

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Research: House Prices Will Rise By 3% In 2017

20 July 2017 – Eje Prime

The residential sector is going full steam ahead. House sales are expected to exceed 500,000 in 2017, an increase of 10% with respect to 2016, and house prices are forecast to rise by three percentage points with respect to last quarter, according to the figures published by BBVA Research in the magazine Real Estate Situation in Spain. In economic terms, the investment in housing will represent 9.4% of the growth in GDP in 2017.

Between January and May, 212,073 homes were sold, up by 14.5% YoY. The cumulative figure over the 12 months to May  2017 saw the number of house sales rise to 488,000 homes. The study reveals that, in a scenario in which there continues to be a limited supply of finished new homes, prices will rise by around 3% per annum on average, closing the year at €1,570/m2, similar to the values last seen in 2004, based on statistics from the Ministry of Development.

In this sense, the report states that property developers will continue to respond to the increase in demand and it is expected that they will request permits to build around 80,000 new homes this year, up by 20% to satisfy demand.

The market is growing across all of its component segments, primarily due to the sale of primary residences, ahead of demand from foreigners, which accounts for 17% of the total market, and second homes (9%).

Meanwhile, financing costs, with mortgage rates at around 2.2%, the expectation of attractive capital gains and strong demand from foreigners are all having a positive effect on demand.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Research: RE Sector Makes “Good Start” To 2017

6 June 2017 – El Mundo

BBVA Research has given the real estate sector a “good mark” for the first quarter of 2017, following a “positive” trend in terms of sales, which accelerated the growth in prices. However, the organisation indicated that the sector showed signs of a “significant heterogeneity” by region once again, and that there was a loss of “momentum” in terms of new loans in April due to a decrease in refinancings.

That was according to the latest Real Estate Observatory for Spain report, prepared by BBVA Research, the financial entity’s research service, which acknowledges a “positive trend” in terms of house sales, given that, based on data from the Centre for Statistical Information from Notaries (CIEN), 48,695 homes were sold during the month of March.

This means, after correcting the series for seasonal variations and calendar effects (CVEC), there was a stagnation in sales with respect to the previous month, but an increase in sales (19.5%) in YoY terms. In this way, sales during the 3 months to March rose by 16.2% YoY, above the average for 2016, in large part thanks to the fact that the main determinants of demand “continued their positive tone during the first quarter of the year”, said BBVA Research.

In this sense, it highlighted that employment is continuing to evolve positively, given that the number of people registered for Social Security in April and May grew at an average MoM rate of 0.4%, above the average monthly rate recorded during the first quarter (+0.3%) (…).

Fewer new loans

Nevertheless, the report warns that new loan operations to buy a home stagnated in April, due to a sharp decline in the number of refinancings. According to data from the Bank of Spain, during the fourth month of 2017, new loans to buy a home decreased by 41.6% YoY, a reduction that actually reflects the high volume of refinancings that took place in April 2016. As such, if we exclude refinancings, the number of new loan operations remained stable with respect to the same month last year (-0.1%).

BBVA Research is “certain” that the stagnation is related to the fact that Easter fell in April this year. In fact, the sum of new operations in March and April rose by 13.1% YoY. With this, during the first four months of the year, new loans to buy a home rose by 10.6%, with respect to the same period a year earlier. Excluding refinancings, which decreased by 86% during the same period, the increase in new mortgage loans amounted to 16.5%. (…).

Heterogeneity in terms of price rises

Meanwhile, the growth in house prices accelerated during the first quarter of 2017. According to the Ministry of Development, the average house price amounted to €1,525.80/m2 during the first quarter, up by 0.7% in QoQ terms, after correcting for seasonality (CVEC), in other words, 0.2 percentage points higher than during the fourth quarter of 2016. Moreover, the YoY evolution saw an acceleration in the growth rate to 2.2% during Q1, up by 0.7 percentage points compared to the previous quarter.

In any case, BBVA Research indicates that the evolution of house prices was still “significantly heterogeneous by region” between January and March. After correcting the series for seasonality, price rises were reported in nine autonomous regions (Andalucía, Canarias, Cantabria, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra and País Vasco), with particularly noteworthy rises in Cantabria, Navarra and País Vasco – the three regions have shown less activity in previous quarters.

By contrast, average house prices fell during the first quarter with respect to the previous quarter in all of the other autonomous regions, led by Aragón and La Rioja, which saw QoQ decreases of around -2%. (…)….whilst the price increases being recorded in the Balearic Islands, Madrid and Cataluña exceeded 10% in all three cases.

Housing permits on the rise again

Finally, the first quarter of 2017 closed with a renewed growth in construction activity. (…). The number of housing permits rose by 18.7% during Q1 2017. In this way, almost 20,000 new homes were approved during the first three months, up by 3,141 compared to the same quarter in 2016. (…) .

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA: Housing Market Makes A Strong Start To 2017

10 May 2017 – Europa Press

BBVA’s latest report highlights the “positive” evolution of the real estate market at the beginning of 2017, given that house purchases are still being “backed” by mortgage financing, construction is continuing to grow and house sales are maintaining their upwards trend.

At least that is according to the “Real Estate Observatory of Spain”, compiled by BBVA Research, the financial entity’s research service and BBVA’s Real Estate area, which states that the recent review of the macroeconomic scenario by BBVA, which forecasts GDP growth of 3% this year, introduces “an upwards bias into the forecasts for 2017”.

In this sense, the entity highlights that house sales maintained their growth rate, supported by the “strong performance” in terms of employment and mortgage loans, whilst construction activity also “remained dynamic”.

According to data from the General Council of Notaries, during the first two months of 2017, 72,371 homes were sold, up by 13.9% compared to a year ago, but in line with the average for 2016 as a whole.

Amongst the factors that BBVA points to as reasons for the improvement in the real estate sector, are the labour market in Spain, which “has continued to improve”, as reflected by Social Security sign-on data, such as the Active Population Survey (EPA). According to the EPA, the number of people in employment grew by 0.6% during the first quarter of the year.

In addition, credit conditions remain “favourable” for households. Interest rates are at minimum levels: the mortgage rate for new operations remains at around 2.2%; meanwhile, the 12-month Euribor rate hit a new minimum in April, closing at -0.119%.

The mortgage market supports residential demand

Moreover, the mortgage market is continuing to drive residential demand. New loans to buy a home rose by 23.5% YoY during the first quarter, excluding refinancings, according to data from the Bank of Spain.

In turn, during the first two months of 2017, almost 12,800 housing permits were granted (20.3% YoY).

Finally, BBVA highlights that the dynamics in the market for land “are still positive”, given that during the first two months of the year, the number of transactions involving land rose by 12.8% YoY, which represents an increase in the traded surface area of 8.8% in one year.

Original story: Europa Press 

Translation: Carmel Drake