The Government Allows Real Estate Companies to Open from Monday but Prohibits Home Visits

Real estate companies are resuming their activity two months after they were forced to shut down, when the State of Emergency was decreed, in a market that has been completely transformed.

Since yesterday (Monday), real estate agencies have been resuming their normal activity as part of the first phase of the “Plan for the transition to a new normal” designed by the Government.

Amongst these companies, the most common measures that they have established include shifts in their offices, where plastic partitions have been installed to separate clients and workers, as well as requesting the use of gloves and masks. Regarding physical visits, although the Government initially said that they would be resumed from 4 May with security measures, in the end it has backed down. Now, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda has assured that home visits will be allowed from 11 May.

Estate Agents Request that Property Brokering be Considered an Essential Activity

The General Council of the Official Colleges of Real Estate Agents is demanding that real estate activity be considered essential.

The General Council of the Official Colleges of Real Estate Agents is demanding that real estate activity be considered essential, so that the sector can avail itself of the extraordinary measures decreed by the Government.

The President of the General Council of the Official Colleges of Real Estate Agents of Spain, Gerard Duelo, made the case in a statement reported by Inmodiario. He conveyed to three Ministries “the concern and unease that members of our corporations, as well as representatives from other companies, institutions and entities, have shared with us during these difficult days”.

FAI: More than 8,000 Mortgages Paralysed by Supreme Court Ruling

26 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Real estate companies are warning of the impact of the legal battle over mortgages. The Federation of Real Estate Associations (FAI) estimates that more than 8,000 mortgage operations have been paralysed across Spain as a result of the decision taken by the Supreme Court that it should be the banks that pay the Documentation Registration Tax (AJD).

Similarly, the body has warned of the consequences generated by the delays and has asked entities to act “responsibly” towards their clients, given that “they may incur breaches in any “contratos de arras” they have already signed because of the delays in the signing of the mortgage loans”, according to Europa Press.

In this sense, the President of the FAI, Nora García Donet, stated that in light of the “uncertainty” generated, “the banks have delayed more than one third of the signings planned for the coming days”.

The FAI, constituted in March 2013, comprises twenty regional and local real estate associations from all over Spain. Currently, the entity groups together more than 850 real estate agencies and 3,730 professionals.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Servihabitat: Spain’s Housing Market Continues on its Positive Trajectory

24 July 2018 – Eje Prime

The housing market in Spain is going to continue with positive figures across all areas in 2018. That is according to a report from Servihabitat, which indicates that prices are going to continue to rise this year, up by 5.4%; operations are going to soar, with a leap of 24%; and new build starts are going to rise by 16.6% (all figures compared to last year).

According to the report, these increases respond to a residential market that “is progressing with clear signs of consolidation”, which is explained by factors such as an improvement in consumer confidence, the containment of unemployment and the positive evolution of companies’ turnover.

These elements “are encouraging the start of housing projects and configuring an expansive cycle”. With a special focus on the largest populations in Spain, such as Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia and Sevilla, in the case of homes for regular use, and on regions such as Galicia, La Rioja, the Community of Valencia and the Canary Islands, the number of new home starts will rise by 16.6% this year to 93,895 units.

Meanwhile, the number of finished homes will rise by 15.5% during the course of this year, according to Servihabitat’s forecasts, with a total of 63,744 homes delivered. Despite that, the pull of demand will reduce the new build stock by 4% to 454,939 homes, with a greater reserve in the communities of Cataluña, the Community of Valencia and Andalucía (the three account for 49% of the total stock).

The second major increase will be seen in the number of transactions, in other words, the sale of homes signed at the notaries’ offices. According to the report, the year will close with a total of 669,739 transactions subscribed, up by 24.3% compared to 2017.

Macroeconomic conditions, together with opening up of the financial sector to the granting of mortgages and demand for property investment (thanks to the returns that the rental market is offering) are the three main drivers of demand, which have reduced the average sales period for a normal home to 6.6 months.

Finally, the evolution of supply and demand will lead to a rise in house prices once again this year, up by 5.4%, compared with an increase of 6.2% with respect to the previous year.

Prices are expected to grow by the most in the Community of Madrid, with a forecast increase of 11.5%; followed by Cataluña, 9.6%; the Balearic Islands, 8%; and País Vasco, with an expected increase of 5.2%. By contrast, prices are forecast to rise by less than 1% in the autonomous regions of Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha in 2018.

The report also reflects the opinions of the real estate agents who form part of Servihabitat’s own network of branches and its collaborating agents. In particular, 64.2% of that sample believes that the price of regular homes (primary residences) will remain stable in 2018, compared with 33.2% who think that they will rise and just 2.6% who consider that prices will fall. In the case of holiday homes, the dispersion is somewhat greater: 34% forecast that prices will rise this year; 62.6% think they will remain stable and 3.4% believe that they will fall.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. de Angelis)

Translation: Carmel Drake

# Of Estate Agents Grow With A Vengeance In The Community Of Madrid

19 September 2017 – Real Estate Press

The resurgence of real estate activity in Spain, and in particular, in the Community of Madrid, has given rise to a significant increase in the number of companies in the sector, which have grown by 18.5% since 2014. Currently, the Community of Madrid has 31,384 real estate companies and 33,616 real estate related premises. In other words, one for every 192 inhabitants.

So far this year, 41,641 homes have been sold in Madrid, up by 17% compared to a year ago, and up by 30% compared to two years ago. Moreover, prices rose by 10.9% in the second quarter of 2017 with respect to the previous year. In addition, rental prices have risen by 11% over the last year.

Jaime Cabrero, President of the Official College of Real Estate Agents in Madrid, says that “Normally, when the sales market is strong, the rental market is weaker, and vice versa, but now both sectors are booming”. He added that “Naturally, we are seeing an increase in (the number of) real estate companies (…); there are 33,616 estate agent premises”, which is a high number of establishments dedicated to real estate activity.

According to figures from the Central Directory of Companies, compiled by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), over the last three years, the number of estate agent premises has risen by 5,377. The increase in the number of companies, many of which have more than one branch, amounts to 4,912. Logically, this activity has an impact on employment. During the second half of 2017, the sector provided work to 29,300 people, according to the INE’s Active Population Survey, 8,800 more than in 2014 and the highest figure for the last decade.

In fact, the real estate activity category includes all companies dedicated to the sale, purchase or rental of all kinds of properties, including “lessors, agents and brokers”, as well as other key services, such as appraisal. The category also includes companies dedicated to construction, which then carry out the maintenance and rental of buildings, as well as managers of real estate properties. The sub-category containing the latter – “real estate activities on behalf of third parties” – grew by 1,773 companies between 2014 and 2017, to exceed 10,000 in total.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Estate Agents’ Branch Networks Grew By 16.6% In 2016

26 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Estate agents continued to increase their network of branches in the Spanish market last year. The number of new operating establishments opened amounted to 1,287, up by 184 compared to 2015, when 1,103 new premises were opened, according to The Franchise in Spain 2017 report, prepared by the Spanish Association of Franchisers (AEF).

According to the report, there are currently 34 networks operating in the estate agent sector, of which 31 were operational at the end of 2015, which means 3 new chains entered the market in 2016.

In terms of billing data, the sector recorded revenues of €287.7 million in 2016, compared with €231.8 million in 2015, which represents an increase of €55.9 million.

Regarding the jobs that the real estate agency sector has generated, at the end of 2016, it employed 3,499 people, compared with 2,748 in 2015; in other words, it now employs 751 more workers.

“The real estate sector was one of the hardest hit by the crisis, however, it has managed to recover and, after a process of natural selection in the market, only those chains that bring seriousness and professionalism to the sector remain. This has opened up a new, solid and promising panorama”, explains Xavier Vallhonrat, President of the AEF.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Converts Solvia Into A RE Franchise

14 October 2016 – Cinco Días

Banco Sabadell is very clear about its future, it wants to take advantage of the boom in the real estate sector to harness the stock of foreclosed assets that it still holds on its balance sheet, which it largely inherited from CAM.

To date, the bank chaired by Josep Oliu has decided to hold onto Solvia, the platform that owns all of its foreclosed assets. Initially, it planned to list it on the stock market, but it quickly ruled out that option. It also studied several offers to sell a majority stake in its real estate platform to large investment funds, like other players in the sector did, including Santander with Altamira and Popular with Aliseda, amongst others. But, it also decided against that idea after it saw demand for real estate grow in recent years.

Since 2013, when the market for the sale of properties became active once again, the heads of Solvia have seen that the transactions that have grown by the most, albeit timidly, are those between individuals. And as such, Sabadell has decided to offer its services to third parties, on both the buy side and sell side. In this way, Solvia “is beginning a new phase in which it is placing its strategic focus on offering its services not only to those interested to buy a home, as it has done to date, but now also to individuals wishing to sell their homes”, explained the bank.

To this end, it is going to restructure its commercial network, by turning Solvia into a franchiser. It will thereby create a network of franchisees with physical branches across Spain. Each franchisee will have the right to sell assets owned by Solvia’s current clients (Sabadell, Sareb and various funds) and by individuals whose homes are located in their respective area. Solvia will also have its own network which, for the time being, will comprise two offices, one in Sevilla and one in Alicante. The idea is that by the end of the year, Solvia will have 12 of its own offices and 24 franchised branches. It will also be able to sell properties through the bank’s branch network. In this way, Sabadell will compete directly with estate agents such as Tecnocasa and Redpiso, for example.

Sources at the real estate agents consulted are certain that other banks will follow Sabadell’s lead. Solvia’s franchisee offer is open to both the network of approved real estate agents (Apis), as well as to other professionals in the sector, such as entrepreneurs and investors. The idea is that Sabadell will reserve a certain number of locations for young people (recent graduates with excellent academic records) who want to start a business and learn on the job.

Since 2012, Solvia has been one of the firms that has sold the most properties in Spain. Its sales have exceeded €2,500 million year after year on a recurring basis, say sources at the bank. An important proportion of these transactions involve the sale of homes and as such, the project to become a real estate agent has been born. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (Ángeles Gonzalo Alconada)

Translation: Carmel Drake