Palma de Mallorca to Ban All Tourist Apartments From July

24 April 2018 – El País

From July onwards, homeowners in Palma, on the Balearic Island of Mallorca, will not be allowed to rent out their apartments to tourists. The capital of the popular Mediterranean destination has adopted a pioneering measure, which will see the definitive prohibition of tourist flats right across the city. The local government team – a leftist alliance between the Socialist Party (PSOE), the local group Més per Mallorca and the anti-austerity Podemos – has taken this decision after commissioning several studies on the matter, which revealed that the supply of unlicensed tourist flats increased by 50% between 2015 and 2017 to reach 20,000 beds across the city. In Palma, which is Spain’s eighth-largest city by population, only 645 properties used for short-term vacation rentals have proper licenses.

The government team will approve initial holiday rental zoning plans at a meeting on Thursday, which will then be subjected to public scrutiny before being put to a final vote at a council session in July. At that point, tourists seeking this kind of accommodation will no longer be allowed to rent apartments in multi-family residential housing. Instead, they will only be able to stay in detached, single-family homes, which are being left outside the ban. Yet even these properties will be off limits if they are located on protected rural land, near the airport, or in non-residential areas such as industrial estates.

The move follows a reform of tourism legislation by the regional parliament of the Balearic Islands in August last year. That reform banned vacation rentals in apartments but left it up to local authorities to decide which neighbourhoods to apply it in. In the end, the city of Palma has decided to consider the entire municipality a “single zone” and so the ban will apply in all parts of town. The decision is meant “to protect residents,” said mayor Antoni Noguera.

Studies commissioned by city officials show that 48% of tourist apartments are offered for seven to eight months of the year, meaning they are not available for long-term residential rentals. “There is a parallel between the evolution of vacation rentals and the rise in rental prices,” said José Hila, the local chief of city planning. Rent in Palma has soared by 40% in recent years, making it the second most expensive Spanish city after Barcelona for residents who rent.

“Tourist accommodation affects the makeup of buildings and neighbourhoods, and it also affects social harmony,” said Hila. A report by the Citizen Ombudsman’s Office shows a rise in the number of complaints filed by residents due to problems with tourists who use these apartments, typically related to noise. There were 42 complaints in 2014 and 192 in 2017.

Pioneering initiative

Mayor Noguera is convinced that this measure, which is pioneering in Spain, will set the standard to be followed by other cities. “Palma is a bold and decisive city. We have agreed this on the basis of the general interest, and we believe that it will create a trend in other cities when they see that finding a balance is key.” said the mayor. “All European cities are being transformed from one day to the next by this type of offer,” said planning chief Hila.

Currently, in the Balearic capital, there is a supply of around 11,000 tourist rental beds, of which 645 have licences, all for family homes. Before the new regional legislation was approved in August, the number of beds amounted to 20,000 but the high fines established by the law – of up to €400,000 – led to the withdrawal of adverts from users of many of the large platforms (…).

Original story: El País (by Lucía Bohórquez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Notaries: 48,695 Homes Were Sold In March, Up By 19.5% YoY

23 May 2017 –

According to the notaries, March was a great month for the real estate sector. Despite the scare in February, sales of flats and houses rose by 19.5% in March, to reach 48,695 operations. But, since it can’t be all good news, it is worth noting the statistics published by the General Council of Notaries last Monday, which reveal that the average price of operations decreased by 1.3%.

Our analysis of the data published by the notaries shows that by type of home, flat sales recorded a YoY rise of 20.5% and sales of private (unsubsidised) properties rose by 21.9%. But, as has been happening for years, this increase in the number of private flat transactions was due, exclusively, to an increase in sales of second-hand flats, which rose by 26%, given that sales of new build homes continued their downwards trend, decreasing by 11.5%. Meanwhile, sales of houses and chalets saw a YoY increase of 15.6%.

If we look at the prices achieved, we see that the average price per square metre of the homes purchased in March stood at €1,277, which represents a decrease of 1.3% with respect to the same month last year. According to the notaries’ statistics, the decrease in the price per square metre of homes is due to a reduction in the price per square metre of houses and chalets (-6.2%), given that the price of flats did not vary in March.

Meanwhile, there was a slight increase in the average price per square metre of private (unsubsidised) flats, which rose by 0.3%, split between an increase of 0.8% in the price of second-hand flats and a decrease of -0.6% in the price of new build homes.

The sale of other types of properties saw 11,753 operations closed, which represents an increase of 15.2% compared to the same month last year. 39.7% of those transactions corresponded to plots of land. And despite the rumours of an increase in the price of land, that trend must be happening in specific areas only, given that the average price per square metre amounted to €155, representing a decrease of 10.4% YoY.

Finally, if we look at mortgages, during the month of March, they experienced YoY growth of 5.1%, to reach 32,070 operations, for an average amount of €156,229, in other words, a decrease of 3.4%. Meanwhile, mortgage loans granted for the acquisition of a property increased by 16.8% YoY, to a total of 23,542 contracts. Other mortgages included those used to build a home or to finance business activities.

Original story:

Translation: Carmel Drake

Notaries: House Sales Up By 1.9% In April To 30,758

16 June 2015 – El Economista

House sales increased by 1.9% in April, with 30,758 transactions, whilst the average price of properties sold decreased by 3.9% to €1,188/m2, according to data from the General Council of Notaries, published on Monday.

These percentage changes reflect a moderation with respect to the increase recorded in sales in March (+12.3%), as well as the drop in prices observed during that month (-7.5%). According to the same source, house prices have accumulated a total decrease of 37% with respect to the peaks reached in 2007.

By type of property, the sale of flats increased by 1.3% in April in YoY terms. In the free (unsubsidised) market, the increase was 1.1%. The rise in the number of flats sold was driven by an increase in the sale of second-hand homes (+5.9%), which more than offset the decrease recorded in the sale of new flats (-27.3%). Meanwhile, the sale of family homes increased by 4.2% in April.

In terms of prices, on average, flat prices decreased by 3.2%, with the price of second-hand flats falling by 3.3% and new flat prices increasing by 2.7%. Meanwhile, the price of houses (chalés) decreased by 2.9%.

During the fourth month of the year, the sale of other types of properties decreased by 9.1% to amount to 6,987 operations, of which 37.7% related to land and plots. The average price per square metre of these transactions was €123, i.e. 18.4% lower than in April 2014.

According to the same source, the evolution of the mortgage market for the acquisition of homes reflects the stabilisation observed in the real estate sector, “with an increase in total credit”.

Thus, in April, 12,716 mortgage loans were granted for the purchase of homes, i.e. 12.3% more, for an average amount of €122,199, i.e. 13.1% more. The percentage of home purchases financed using a mortgage loan was 41.3%.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake