Are Spaniards “Condemned” to Buying Second-Hand Homes?

4 February 2018 – El Confidencial

Only 18% of the homes sold last year were new build properties. 

It is the dream of thousands of Spaniards: to buy their own home and, wherever possible, for that home to be brand new. Nevertheless, it is a dream that now, more than ever, only a lucky few are managing to realise. In 2017 – based on data for the 11 months to November from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) – more than 350,000 second-hand homes were sold in Spain – comprising second and subsequent sales for statistical purposes – compared with just 77,500 new homes – first sales -. In other words, the latter accounted for just 18% of the total number of transactions.

That has not always been the case. At the height of the crisis – between 2008 and 2013 – and as a consequence of the huge stock of unsold new homes that was generated during the real estate bubble, sales of both types of homes were pretty much the same. However, all indications are that new homes are going to continue to be a scarce product and only affordable for the lucky few, given that estimates for the property development sector as a whole indicate that activity is going to normalise at an output rate of around 150,000-200,000 units per year, a figure which the experts consider corresponds to the natural demand for housing, in other words, to the creation of new homes. These numbers come in stark contrast to the 850,000 new homes that were approved in 2006, the highest figure in the historical series.

To put it in context, 81,500 (new home) permits were granted last year, up by 27% compared to the previous 12 months, but still only half the number that property developers expected to reach and 10 times fewer than at the height of the boom.

Property developers dream of reaching those figures in the short term, nevertheless, some voices have already started to warn about the possibility that they may not be able to achieve it due, on the one hand, to a lack of land – plans and urban development projects have been suspended all over Spain, and in particular in markets with lots of demand for housing such as Madrid – but also, and above all, due to a lack of financing.

There will not be financing for 150,000 homes

That was stated publically this week by the President of Property Developers in Madrid (Asprima), Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado. “The problem is that the market is heading towards 150,000 homes per year, whilst bank financing looks set to provide for just 65,000 homes” (…)

Despite those storm clouds, if there does end up being enough money to go round, will people on the buy-side be able to afford the new homes? For months, real estate debates have been raging about the fact that the homes that are being built at the moment are not affordable for most buyers, which primarily constitute owners looking to reposition themselves – people who already own a home and who want to sell it to buy a better one -.

“The demand is not willing to assume future increases in house prices (…)”, said Ignacio Moreno, CEO of Inmoglacier just a year ago.

The lack of product for sale and the high costs of construction are being passed on in the final prices of homes and also in the prices of land. And all indications are that the rising spiral is set to continue and may even intensify. “Land prices are going to continue to rise, following in the footsteps of housing but multiplied by three. In other words, if house prices go up by 5%, land prices will rise by 15%”, calculates Mikel Echavarren, CEO at Irea.

Price gap

In this way, according to data from INE, during the third quarter of 2017,  the prices of both new build and second-hand homes rose by 7%. And it is the very lack of new build product that is inevitably pushing up prices. But that same shortage is also forcing demand towards the second-hand market, which is also pushing prices up, although, at the national level, the price gap between second-hand and new build homes has been increasing in favour of the latter (…).

Nevertheless, the price per square metre of a new build home is not always more expensive than a second-hand property. El Confidencial has compared the prices per square metre of new build homes in several districts of Madrid and Barcelona, as reported by Socieded de Tasación at the end of 2017, with the prices of second-hand homes, according to the real estate portal Fotocasa, and found that in some cases second-hand homes are more expensive.

How is that possible? The real estate portals show asking prices – not the prices at which operations are actually closed. According to a recent study performed by this real estate portal, in the last year, 71% of buyers obtained an average reduction (on the asking price) of €14,000, a figure that in the majority of cases represented a discount of 10% on the initial sales price (…).

On the other hand, for statistical purposes, when we talk about second-hand housing, we are not always taking into account the age of the property, but rather the number of times that the home has changed hands. Many developments in the hands of the banks are considered second-hand because there has already been a prior transaction involving that property – from the bankrupt property developer to the bank, for example – This means that when such a home is sold it is considered as a second-hand property, even though it may never have actually been lived in. And the prices of those units tend to be higher than those of homes that are several years old (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Sales Soared by 23% in January

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

Rental Boom Triggers Investment in Madrid & Barcelona

27 January 2018 – Expansión

Markets are booming / The central parts of Spain’s two largest cities are the most sought-after by those investing in housing in search of returns, but rental prices are increasing more quickly in the districts on the outskirts of those cities, with rises of more than 10%. The experts forecast an accentuation of this trend, given that the supply of rental properties in the prime districts is starting to prove insufficient to cover all of the demand.

The real estate recovery is happening at three speeds. On the one hand, the large cities and most established areas along the coast are experiencing significant house price rises, a notable increase in sales, an increase in rental prices, a rise in non-residential investment and even a shortage of land for sale. On the other hand, medium-sized cities have left the lethargy behind and are now recovering, although with less energy than the large real estate centres. Finally, the less populated provinces are still recording ups and downs, although even there it is clear that the worst of the crisis is now over.

A large part of this improvement is due to the country’s underlying macroeconomic performance, but not all of it. The impact of private investors is playing a crucial role in the strengthening of the two large real estate centres, whose prime areas are the most sought-after by those looking to buy homes to put them up for rent, where they can obtain returns of more than 10%. Why? Because, in addition to the immediate increase in value that they are obtaining, a kind of rental boom is also happening in Madrid and Barcelona.

That said, “rental prices may be starting to peak in cities such as Barcelona and Madrid” says Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa. “The market is normalising”, and so “although rental prices will continue to rise during 2018, they will do so at a lower rate than they did in 2017”, she adds.

The district of Chamberí exceeded the district of Salamanca in 2017 as the most expensive in the capital for renting a home. The average price of a rental home in Chamberí is €16.41/m2/month, followed by Salamanca (€16.07/m2/month), Tetuán (€14.94), Chamartín (€14.46) and Retiro (€14.35). At the other end of the spectrum, the district of Villaverde, with an average rental home cost of €8.91/m2/month was the most affordable. It was followed by Vicálvaro (€9.58), Moratalaz (€9.68), Villa de Vallecas (€9.90) and Usera (€10.15).

Almost all of the districts in the capital saw rental prices increase with respect to 12 months earlier. The district that rose by the most was Hortaleza, which increased by 13.1%, followed by Puente de Vallecas (12.9%), Ciudad Lineal (11%), Usera (9.4%), Retiro (9.1%) and Tetuán (9%) (….).

In Barcelona, the same thing is happening. The two districts that closed 2017 with decreases in rental prices are two classics in the rental market: Eixample (-1.4%) and Ciutat Vella (-1.2%). How come? “The rental boom started in the best locations and so when those areas reach very high prices, demand starts to withdraw from these areas and move to other more peripheral neighbourhoods”, says the real estate consultant José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, Managing Partner at Chamberí AM. “The push from investors is also moving to other less central neighbourhoods, which are very well connected and cheap compared to the city centre”, he adds (…).

Specifically, the district of Ciutat Vella is the most expensive in all of Spain when it comes to renting a home. The average price there amounted to €17.16/m2/month in December 2017, despite the decrease seen YoY. It was followed by the second most expensive district, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, whose average price amounted to €16.63/m2/month in December (…). Compared to 2016, prices rose in eight districts in the Catalan capital. The leader of that ranking was Sant Andreu, where prices rose by 12%, followed by Gràcia (9.5%), Les Corts (8.1%), Sants – Montjuïc (6.7%), Nou Barris (6.4%), Horta–Guinardó (4.8%), Sarrià-Sant Gervasi (3.9%) and Sant Martí (2.7%).

Gustavo Rossi, President of Alquiler Seguro, adds that “2017 will be remembered as the year in which the supply of rental housing became insufficient to meet demand”. The sector needs to be professionalised and the owners of empty properties need to realise that putting them on the market is a good option”, he says.

“Over the last decade, rental has established itself as the preferred option for young people and new families. In 2018, we are going to move closer than ever to the European model, where the rental segment has many followers”. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Citibox Signs Agreements with Blackstone, Testa & Schibsted

12 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Citibox is enlarging its portfolio of real estate clients. In recent weeks, the Spanish proptech, which specialises in the installation of parcel collection lockers, has signed contracts with the US investment fund Blackstone, as well as with the Socimis Testa, owned by Banco Santander and BBVA, and Mazabi, and international groups such as Schibsted, the owner of Fotocasa and Habitaclia, as sources at the company have explained to Eje Prime.

These new clients are following in the footsteps of Merlin, Colonial and Aedas Homes, companies in the real estate sector that already work with the proptech, which was created in Valencia in 2015. The company’s headquarters are located in Madrid, one of the two cities, together with Barcelona, in which it currently operates, as it plans its international expansion, scheduled for 2018.

As a result of the agreement reached with Blackstone, Citibox will install its boxes (lockers) in the Il-lumina building in Barcelona, as well as in the Moraleja Building One (MB-ONE) and Delta buildings in Madrid. The Catalan building is home to tenants such as Coca-Cola and TV3, whilst in Madrid, the proptech will provide its service in offices that house the headquarters of Kelloggs and SAGE (MB-ONE), as well as the Socimi Fidere (Delta) (…).

Meanwhile, Testa, the Socimi specialising in the management of residential rental assets and in which Banco Santander and BBVA hold stakes, has engaged Citibox to install its boxes in five residential buildings located in Conde de Orgaza, in Madrid.

The property developer, which plans to debut on the stock market in the coming months, will be the third largest real estate company to place its trust in the Spanish proptech after Citibox also signed agreements with the listed company Aedas Homes and with Vía Célere to install its boxes in some of their new residential urbanisations.

In the centre of Madrid with Mazabi 

Citibox is also strengthening its position in the centre of Madrid. Not in vain, another one of the clients that the company has secured in the last month and a half is the family office Mazabi. That group led by Juan Antonio Gutiérrez has engaged the services of the proptech for a recently renovated building on Calle Recoletos.

In addition, the company founded and led by David Bernabeu has signed other agreements with national and international companies such as Grupo SM, Capgemini, Tecnatom, Oxford University Press, Grupo Schibsted and Crédito y Caución (…).

The growth of Citibox is indicative of the boom in the proptech industry. In Spain, the sector is now generating 5,000 jobs and aspires to continuing increasing that number, driven by the rate of investment, which has allowed the business to increase its revenues by 300% (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fotocasa: Rental Prices Rose by 8.9% in 2017

15 January 2018 – Eje Prime

House prices are continuing to soar in both the purchase and rental markets. According to the latest report compiled by Fotocasa, rental prices rose by 8.9% on average last year, which represents the highest rise in the historical series, prepared since 2007.

Eleven years ago, this market recorded an increase in rental prices of 3.3%, according to the real estate platform. With the latest increase, rental prices have now registered three consecutive years of rises, although not all of the autonomous regions evolved in the same way.

Until the end of 2017, the only autonomous region to record rental price rises of more than 10% was Cataluña, whereas a year before, Madrid and the Balearic Islands also formed part of that group, according to Cinco Días.

The study, which also analyses the districts of Madrid and Barcelona, shows that in 2017, neighbourhoods such as Ciutat Vella and l’Eixample, in Barcelona, and Centro in Madrid, closed the year with decreases.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

26 Spanish Real Estate Experts Share Their Predictions for 2018

6 January 2018 – Expansión

House prices will rise by more than 5% on average this year, with increases of more than 10% in the large cities. These gains will happen in a context of great dynamism in the market, in which house sales will grow by more than 10% to exceed 550,000 transactions. Rental prices will also continue to rise.

Those are just some of the predictions made by 26 real estate experts for Expansión.

Aguirre Newman: “House prices will grow by more than 10% in Madrid and Barcelona”.

“In our opinion, house prices are going to continue to rise in 2018, reaching average growth rates of 6%-7%”, says Juan Riestra (pictured above, top row, second from left), Director of the Residential Area at Aguirre Newman. “In Madrid, Barcelona and the coastal cities, we expect to see double-digit growth, driven by the supply of new homes that the property developers have announced, which will result in an even more intense increase in prices than seen in 2017 since new build home are typically more expensive than second-hand properties”, he adds (…).

Fotocasa: “New build homes will have a higher profile in 2018”.

“New build homes will have a higher profile in 2018, as we have already seen during the last quarter of 2017. And that, combined with the return of confidence to the housing market, will continue to push prices up if the economic context is maintained and the situation in Cataluña is resolved”, says Beatriz Toribio (pictured above, bottom row, second from left), from Fotocasa, who thinks that this effect will drive up house prices by more than 5%, but not reaching double-digits (…).

Universitat Pompreu Fabra: “Everything depends on the situation in Cataluña”.

“The upward momentum in the market will be accentuated in 2018 due to the improvement in the new build market since the homes that started to be built two years ago are now being sold”, said José García Montalvo (pictured above, top row, second from right), Professor of Economics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. “The major change is that new homes now account for 20% of the market, whilst before they represented 60%” (…). But “everything depends on the political uncertainty in Cataluña” (…).

Arcano: “Demand for investment in housing will continue to grow”.

“There is still a very significant imbalance in terms of demand, spurred on by the ECB’s policy and labour improvement, and a supply that is still restricted by the very low level of new house starts. Moreover, demand for housing as an investment will continue to grow. In this context, prices will rise by more than 5%”, says Ignacio de la Torre, Chief Economist at Arcano (…).

Notaries’ Centre for Statistical Information: “We expect house prices to increase by more than 5%”.

“On the basis of our analysis of the available information, we expect house prices to grow by between 5% and 10% in 2018 (…). Although we expect the housing stock to increase, due to greater investment and employment in construction in recent months, which may lead to price rises being contained, we also expect an increase in demand, given the dynamism of economic activity and the behaviour observed in the labour market”, says Milagros Avedillo, at the Notaries’ Centre for Statistical Information. In her opinion, the growth in mortgage loans will be single-digit.

Asprima: “Very few new homes will be built”.

“I don’t think that the volume of transactions will increase by more than 10% and the forecast for price growth will be below 5%”, says Carolina Roca, Vice-President of Asprima. “The most important macro-factor is income”, she laments. Therefore, prices cannot rise by much, in her opinion, although they will increase in certain areas. “New builds will recover in 2018, but not by much (…)”.

Tinsa: “The reduction in the unemployment rate will boost the market”.

“The residential market will record moderate price growth in 2018 (of between 3% and 4%), similar to that seen in 2017, with different speeds, depending on the region”, says Pedro Soria (pictured above, bottom row, second from right), Commercial Director at the appraisal company Tinsa. “The recovery will expand to more areas; the large capitals will continue to be the drivers, although the rate of growth will soften”, he adds. “The reduction in the unemployment rate and continuing investor interest, due to the prolongation of the low-interest rates, will increase house sales by between 10% and 15% (…).

Sociedad de Tasación: “New house prices will rise by 5.4%”.

“Applying our predictive model to the data from the Ministry of Development, we estimate that 14.1% more house sales will be completed in 2018 than in 2017 (…)”, says Consuelo Villanueva (pictured above, top row, far left), Director of Institutions and Key Accounts at Sociedad de Tasación. “The result (…) indicates growth of 5.4% in the price of new homes under construction for the average of provincial capitals in 2018 (…)”.

Gesvalt: “Mortgage lending will rise by around 15%”.

“According to the forecasts at Gesvalt, we predict moderate growth in second-hand house prices of around 5% at the national level, although there will be notable differences between provinces”, says Sandra Daza (pictured above, bottom row, far right), Director General at Gesvalt. (…). And by how much will mortgage lending grow? “By around 15% and there will be a slight increase in the number of mortgages that exceed 80% of the total property value”.

Foundation of Real Estate Research: “The political uncertainty will weigh down on Barcelona”.

The President of the Foundation of Real Estate Research, Julio Gil, believes that house prices will rise by “between 0% and 5% in 2018. “We will move to a three-speed market”, he thinks, referring to consolidated areas, cities in recovery and provinces with a surplus supply and/or limited demand. “And I think that Barcelona will perform less well than Madrid, weighed down by the political uncertainty”, he adds (…).

Pisos.com. “Mortgage lending will rise by more than 10% for the fourth consecutive year”.

According to Ferran Font, Head of Research at Pisos.com (…) “Historically low interest rates and the decrease in unemployment mean that we expect mortgage lending to grow at double-digit rates in 2018, like it has done for the last three years”.

General Council of Real Estate Agents: “The rise in rents will lead to tension in sales prices”.

“House prices will grow by around 5% in 2018, driven more by the refuge effect of savings than by objective economic variables”, says the President of the General Council of Real Estate Agents, Diego Galiano. “Savings are not being rewards and housing is recovering a certain degree of stability and offering good prospects for investors (…)”.

TecniTasa: “Prices will grow by around 5%”.

“On average in Spain, we estimate price growth of around 5%, but we highlight that that figure represents an average of a very heterogeneous market, by area and asset class. In some regions and for certain types of high-end homes, the increase will amount to between 5% and 10%, and may even exceed 10% (for example, in the Balearic Islands). Whilst in small towns and for cheaper homes, prices are barely expected to rise at all in 2018”, says José María Basáñez, President of TecniTasa (…).

Civislend: “The mortgage war will intensify”.

“The growth that we will see in terms of mortgage lending is going to continue to reflect double-digit rates and the war in terms of granting loans by financial institutions is going to intensify”, says Manuel Gandarias, Director and Founder of the real estate crowdlending platform Civislend (…).

Acuña & Asociados: “80% of sales will be made in 400 towns”.

“Given the current situation, the expected growth in prices at the national level for 2018 will amount to around 5.5%”, forecasts Luis Rodríguez de Acuña. However, “demand for housing is not behaving in a homogenous way across the country, and transactions are only being recorded in 1,300 of Spain’s 8,125 municipalities”. In other words, in one out of every six. And 80% of transactions “are being closed in just 400 municipalities (…)”. (…).

CBRE: “The sale of new homes will continue to gain weight”.

The value of homes will increase “by around 5% YoY at the national level, with higher rises (between 7% and 10%) in certain markets such as Madrid, Valencia, Málaga and the Balearic Islands”, predicts Samuel Población (pictured above, top row, far right), National Director of Residential and Land at CBRE (…). “Sales of new build homes are going to increase their relative weight (with respect to second-hand homes) as a result of the recovery in construction output; nevertheless, the recovery will not have an immediate impact on transaction volumes given the time lag associated with new build developments”, he says.

BDO: The land market is preventing soaring construction output”.

“We are facing a very favourable macro context (GDP and employment, above all) and therefore, an upwards cycle is likely, which will have different regional rates”, explains Alberto Prieto, at BDO. (…). “The launch of new build projects by the new large players will start to be felt in 2018, and then more intensely in 2019”, he adds. “The situation in the land market makes it unfeasible for the volume of new build homes to soar for the time being”, he says.

Foro Consultores Inmobiliarios: “Fixed-rate mortgages will play an important role”.

Carlos Smerdou, CEO at Foro Consultores, believes that “new build homes will drive the market and that recent land transactions indicate that the trend in terms of prices will be upward, of between 5% and 10%” (…). In terms of fixed-rate mortgages, “they will play an important role”, despite the fact that “interest rates are forecast to remain negative”.

MAR Real Estate: “Banks are still reluctant to grant the necessary financing”.

Rosario Martín Jerónimo, representative of MAR Real Estate in Marbella, believes that house prices will grow by more than 5% in Spain this year, on average (…). Nevertheless, she does not think that sales or mortgage lending will be as high in 2018 as they were in 2017 and that the growth rates will remain below 10% in both cases. “Buyers are willing but the financial institutions are still very reluctant to grant the necessary financing”, she explains. “Many property developers are completely financing their projects using money from private investors/buyers, without any support from the bank”, she says (…).

uDA (urban Data Analytics); “Prices will rise by more than 10% in the large cities”.

“House prices will rise by around 6.9% in 2018, although the behaviour will be tremendously heterogeneous”, warns Carlos Olmos, Director of urban Data Analytics. In other words, there will be “some large cities with growth rates of more than 10% and many other capitals with small decreases” (…).

Gonzalo Bernardos, Professor of Economic: “House prices will rise by 11% and sales volumes by 23%”.

“I think that house prices will rise by 11%”, says Gonzalo Bernardos, Director of the Real Estate Masters at the Universidad de Barcelona (…). Moreover, in macroeconomic terms, it is the best scenario for the residential market: high (economic) growth (around 3%), the creation of employment, scarce new build supply (new build permits will amount to 125,000 in 2018), very low interest rates and bank willingness to grant mortgages”. “House sales will rise by around 23% and mortgage lending will increase by 17%”.

Irea: “House prices will rise by more than 7% in consolidated markets”.

Mikel Echavarren (pictured above, bottom row, far left), CEO of the real estate consultancy and advisory firm Irea, forecasts that house prices will rise by between 5% and 10% in 2018 with respect to 2017. “In consolidated markets, the increases will be closer to 7%”. (…). In the mortgage market (…), “in theory, financing conditions will continue to be very beneficial for buyers and property developers”, he adds.

College of Registrars: “Mortgage lending will grow by around 20%”.

The registrars believe that house prices will rise by less than 5%. “Taking into account our data and the slowdown that is already being seen in Cataluña, which accounts for approximately 17%-18% of the Spanish housing market (…), we think that it will be hard to exceed a growth rate of 5% in 2018”, explains Fernando Acedo Rico, Director of Institutional Relations at the College of Registrars. (…). Something similar will happen with mortgage lending, which “will continue to grow at around 20%”.

Idealista.com: “Madrid will drive the price rises”.

According to Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at the real estate portal Idealista, house prices will rise by less than 5%. (…). “There will be cities that will experience a more acute recovery, such as Málaga, Valencia, Sevilla and the islands. But I think that Madrid is going to be the real driver, with even more accelerated price growth”. Why? “The Spanish capital is gobbling up talent and investment, and demand there indicates that prices are going to continue to rise. There is minimal stock left in Madrid (…)”.

Instituto de Práctica Empresarial: “In 2018, 550,000 homes will be sold in Spain”.

According to the Director of the Real Estate Chair of the Instituto de Práctica Empresarial, house prices will rise by 6.1% in 2018 (…). In Spain, 550,374 homes will be sold, which represents 14.5% more than in 2017, despite the sluggishness that may be seen in Cataluña.

Invermax: “Tourist areas may see price rises of 10%”.

Jesús Martí, Real Estate Analyst at Invermax, thinks that “house prices will grow by another 5%, with this average varying between the large cities and the traditionally touristy coastal areas, where they may rise by 10%”. “It is still a good time to buy a home, especially for investors”, he adds (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Residential Rental Sector Continues to Thrive

6 January 2018 – Cinco Días

The current rental market in Spain has nothing or very little to do with the one that existed in the noughties (2000-2009), when being a tenant was almost equivalent to being a second-class citizen, as Gustavo Rossi, President of Alquiler Seguro, recalls. A study compiled by Idealista maintains that whilst in 2000, homes offered for rent represented just 9% of the market, by the end of 2017, Madrid was the third-placed city in the ranking of places with the most rental homes in Europe, whilst Barcelona was ranked sixth.

That increase in supply has been driven by an exponential growth in demand for rental homes and by the boom in tourist rentals. During the first few years of the crisis, demand switched to the rental market, above all due to necessity. Faced with the impossibility of buying a home due to the high prices or the closure of the credit tap by the banks, or even both factors, families had to resort to renting as their plan B.

Nevertheless, and as the economic and employment recovery has been gaining momentum, although the majority of those who rent still aspire to become homeowners, increasingly more households are opting to lease regardless of their economic capacity or solvency level. They are the new tenants by conviction. “The impact that the no-credit-generation (those who are not willing to get into debt and who prefer to pay to use a home) is having on the market is considerable”, explains Rossi.

One way or another, the percentage of households that rent their homes has gone from just 11% in 2001 to almost double that figure, more than 20% in 2017, according to figures from the sector. That progression is even more marked in the large cities since it is estimated that in Madrid and Barcelona, more than 30% of families rent their homes, which brings Spain closer to the European parameters, where the average number of rental homes exceeds that 30% threshold (…).

Sources at Fotocasa are convinced that this year (2018) there will be a lot of talk about the rental market once again. “The high returns that investors are seeking, the boom in tourist apartments and the change in mentality (towards renting) are going to continue putting upward pressure on rental prices, above all in the large cities”, says the firm’s Head of Research, Beatriz Toribio. In this sense, the table published by the Bank of Spain comparing yields on rental homes with those on the stock market (Ibex 35) and fixed income securities leaves little room for doubt. The latest data reveals a gross profit from rental properties of 4.2% p.a., which soars to 10.9% if we add the gain that can be obtained when a property is sold (capital appreciation) (…).

The experts offer two pieces of advice. Before choosing between traditional rental and tourist lets, investors should analyse all of the variables because it is not always more attractive for a property to be let for very short stays (refer to the comparative graph). And the Administrations are demanding that investors bet more on the rental segment, in the form of direct subsidies and tax reliefs, to encourage owners to put empty homes onto the market and that will allow them to reach maturity. “The rental market is here to stay”, says Eduard Mendiluce, CEO at Anticipa Real Estate.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bank of Spain: Rental Yields Soar to 9.8%

7 December 2017 – Expansión

According to the Bank of Spain, buy-to-let homes yield a return from rental income of 4.2% p.a. If to that figure, we add the appreciation in value of the underlying property, the total return amounts to almost 10%, on average. That figure is similar to those recorded during the real estate boom.

Buying a home to put it up for rent offers a much higher return than those generated by other financial assets, such as debt and deposits. Moreover, house prices are still much lower than they were ten years ago and still have the potential to rise. These factors, combined with the gradual recovery in employment and the enormous demand for rental properties, have created a very fertile scenario for investors, both for individuals as well as for Socimis and funds. For this reason, the major indicator of the residential sector is no longer just price – although that is important – but instead yield.

Homes now generate an average annual return of 9.8%, according to the Bank of Spain, which takes into account not only the rental yield but also the appreciation in the property value over 12 months. In other words, the yield is now 1.6 percentage points higher than it was a year ago, to bring it in line with the figures seen at the end of 2007, at the peak of the real estate boom.

This rise in returns is due to the increase in house prices and the rental boom. Increasingly more buyers are opting to acquire homes as a business, in the hope that those properties appreciate in value and generate more than 4% in the rental market (the average is 4.2%).

According to the latest study from Fotocasa – which Expansión revealed last Saturday – 24% of the people who have participated in the residential property market in the last year are investors. That figure exceeds 30% in the large cities, above all in Valencia (44%), Barcelona (36%) and Madrid (35%), according to data from Tecnocasa and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

“Now is a good time to buy to let, both for the long-term as well as for second home properties, given that both formulae are generating returns that, in the current context of low interest rates, cannot be found in any financial products or on the stock market”, says Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa (…).

What’s more, the appearance of new real estate business models has spurred profits along in the large cities, in such a way that 20% of investors now use their homes as tourist rental properties. That high percentage is due to the new short-term let platforms, such as Airbnb, which allow them to obtain even higher returns than from the traditional rental market.

Nevertheless, 65% of investors still prefer the stability of having a long-term tenant. The remaining 15% buy homes not to put them up for rent, but rather to wait for them to appreciate in value and to sell them at a profit.

Market leaders

Madrid and Barcelona are spearheading this new property fever. In the Spanish capital, buying a home to let it out generates a gross annual return of 11.8% (from rental income and capital gains); that figure amounts to no less than 23.1% in the Catalan capital, almost twice as much (…).

The central areas of Madrid and Barcelona are experiencing a genuine profitability boom. In the Catalan capital, the Sants-Montjuic district stands out, with a gross annual return of no less than 32.9% (5.3 points from rental income and 27.6 due to price rises). It is followed by Eixample (26.8%), Gràcia (25.9%), Sant Martí (25.6%), Horta-Guinardó (24.9%) and Nou Barris (21%, although the latter is the most profitable district excluding price rises: 6.6%), which all exceed 20%. The centre (Ciutat Vella) generates 19% and the exclusive district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi yields 13.2%

In Madrid, the Centro district comes close to 20% (19.7%); it is followed by Salamanca (19.2%) and Chamberí (18.8%) (…).

Something similar is happening along the coast. The highest returns in the beach areas are located in the Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Las Palmas, Huelva and Almería, where rental yields exceed 5.5%, and overall yields exceed 10% if we include the capital gains. The high combined return along the Malaga coast (17.9%) is particularly noteworthy.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fotocasa: 20% of Investors Rent Out Their Properties as Tourist Apartments

2 December 2017 – Expansión

In the last three years – which have seen the consolidation of the current upward trend in the housing market – an unusual situation has arisen: rental prices have risen by more than property (sales) prices; at the same time, demand for rental properties has soared and hundreds of thousands of homes have appeared on the market, which has resulted in an impasse of high yield and low risk. Given that the returns on traditional investments, such as debt and deposits, are at historical lows, property is shining once again. Without falling into the excesses of the bubble, housing is providing investors with shelter and revenues once more.

Not only that. The appearance of new real estate models has spurred on the financial potential of residential assets, in such a way that 20% of real estate investors are now using their properties as tourist apartments. In other words, one out of every five, according to a study by Fotocasa, to which Expansión has had access.

That high percentage – which is expected to continue growing – is due to the fact that new short-term leasing platforms, such as Airbnb, allow investors to obtain even higher returns than from traditional rental arrangements. In any case, 65% of investors still prefer the stability of having a long-term tenant. The remaining 15% buy homes but do not let them out, instead, they wait for them to appreciate in value before selling them for a profit.

“Now is a good time to buy to let, be it long-term or holiday rentals, given that both formulae are generating returns that, in the current context of low interest rates, cannot be found in any financial product or on the stock market”, explains Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa (…).

11% of all house purchases are bought for investment purposes. In other words, around 50,000 homes this year. That means that around 10,000 dwellings (the aforementioned figure of 20%) will be used as tourist apartments (…).

More revenues

(…) According to data from Fotocasa, 74% of the owners that in the last year have put a tourist home up for rent through the online portals and platforms say that they obtain more revenues through their tourist rentals than from residential letting. 66% of those calculate that they obtain between 5% and 15% more; 16% say that they receive between 15% and 20% more; and 12% state that they can earn 20% more than from long-term rentals.

It is a buoyant time for savers and investors. Almost half of those who buy a home that is not going to be their primary residence, do so as an investment (45%), whilst 55% acquire, in theory, to have a second home. But, almost 40% of the latter group consider putting that home up for rent for short periods of time – for example, during the summer when they are not on holiday there – whilst 7% end up opting for long-term rentals (…).

Rental prices are currently increasing at a YoY rate of around 10% and second-hand house prices are rising by around 5% YoY, according to Fotocasa. Those figures increase to 10% and 20% in certain districts of Madrid and Barcelona, the two major investment centres (…).

The saturation of tourist apartments in Madrid and Barcelona is causing a great deal of political debate. The Town Hall of the Cataluñan capital, led by Ada Colau, first fined Airbnb for its 6,000-7,000 illegal tourist rental properties, and at the same time announced “more forceful legislation”. Then, in the summer, it reached an agreement to make a list of the apartments that were breaking the law. This week, the platform has withdrawn 2,500 advertisements in Barcelona, 1,200 thanks to that agreement with the Town Hall and 1,300 after a limit of one home per person was placed on the number of entire houses that a single owner may have in Ciutat Vella.

Controversy aside, which are the best homes for investing in a tourist apartment? The price and the number of rooms are the basic requirements that buyers look for, but “those who are looking to invest prioritise aspects relating to the area, such as transport links (44% vs 31% for the overall purchasing population), a nice neighbourhood (46% vs 38%) and the services in the area (37% vs 30%) (…).

Tourist rentals have one fundamental disadvantage: “They require more effort and time, due to the high turnover of tenants, especially if the owner manages that side of things him/herself, without the help of a professional”, says Toribio. “That is the main reason why two out of every 10 lessors abandon this type of rental arrangement after giving it a try”, she reveals.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Sale Growth Slows Down In Cataluña

14 November 2017 – Expansión

The negative consequences of the crisis caused by the “independentistas” extends to every sector of the economy. And one of the most affected is the real estate sector, as the data published on Monday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) shows. Cataluña was the third autonomous region where house sales grew by the least during the month of September, with a YoY increase of 2.1%, equivalent to 6,146 operations.

With that percentage, Cataluña fell well below the average YoY growth rate for Spain as a whole, which amounted to 11% in September. That increase – below the rate recorded in August, of 16% – was driven by Castilla-La Mancha (47%), Murcia (27%) and Extremadura (24.2%), which experienced the highest rises. Unlike Cataluña, the other economically powerful regions, such as Madrid (11.4%), Valencia (13.2%) and País Vasco (13.3%), were above the national average.

This data partially reflects the impact of the events that took place in September, with the approval by the Parlament of the so-called disconnection laws. But given that most operations are negotiated several weeks in advance, Manuel Gandarias, CEO of Civislend, indicates that the deceleration was due primarily to “expectations” – many people postponed their purchases as a precaution, in case the situation deteriorated, which is what ended up happening.

This explains why Cataluña has gone from being one of the drivers of house sales in Spain to bringing up the rear of the ranking. In this way, in May, the region came in above the national average, with an increase of more than 30%. In June and July, the first signs of the deterioration could be seen, when the rate stood at around 17%, broadly in line with the rest of the country. But in August, it decreased below the national average (7.4% vs. 16%), and that decrease was further strengthened by the data published yesterday. In absolute terms, it means 6,720 operations were recorded in August, 7,020 in July and 7,039 in June; in contrast with 6,146 in September (…).

The growth recorded in Cataluña during the month of September was distributed unequally by province (…). The worst hit was Girona, which saw house sales decrease by -2.9% in September. Barcelona and Tarragona saw very limited rates of growth, with 1.9% and 4%, respectively, whilst the best figures were seen in Lleida, with a rise in house sales of 16.3% (…).

The negative trend indicated by this data will probably be made worse when the indicators relating to the next few months are revealed, as they will reflect the impact of the events that took place after the illegal referendum on 1 October. According to José Antonio Pérez, Professor of the Real Estate Department at IPE, the greatest effect is being felt “in investments from overseas”, which have reacted in the face of the legal uncertainty. Gandarias said that the situation will also have its impact on operations involving families, given that those who have decided to buy a home “will probably wait now until after the (regional) elections”.

The “independentista” crisis is also affecting property prices. According to a report published last week by Fotocasa, the price of housing in Cataluña slowed down its rate of growth from 10.6% in September to 6.1% in October.

Original story: Expansión (by Ignacio Bolea)

Translation: Carmel Drake