CaixaBank: Consequences Of Brexit For Spain’s RE Sector

11 September 2017 – CaixaBank Research

The real estate sector has started a new bullish cycle, as evidenced by the evolution of house purchases, which have been growing at double-digit figures for two years now. Whilst internal demand has been boosted by the recovery in employment and favourable financing conditions, overseas demand has been by no means negligible: in Q1 2017, it grew by 14% YoY.

Nevertheless, this positive movement in terms of demand from overseas buyers is masking various different trends. On the one hand, most of the purchases are happening on the Mediterranean Coast and in the islands, with foreigners accounting for more than 30% of total purchases in some provinces.

On the other hand, the evolution of these house purchases varies significantly by nationality. In this sense, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the depreciation of the pound are leaving their mark on the acquisition of homes by citizens from the United Kingdom, the main cohort of foreign homebuyers in Spain. In Q1 2017, purchases undertaken by British citizens decreased by 13% YoY. Nevertheless, that decrease was more than offset by the uptick in purchases made by French, German, Belgian and Swedish citizens who increased their purchases at rates equal to or more than 20% YoY in Q1 2017.

The different trends observed between international buyers have generated changes in the relative weight of each country in terms of house purchases, at the same time as reducing the degree of concentration amongst certain nationalities. Although the United Kingdom continues to head up the list of overseas buyers, purchases by that cohort have gone from accounting for 21% of the total in 2015 to 15% in Q1 2017.

Looking ahead, house purchases by British citizens may regain some of their buoyancy if the Brexit negotiations evolve favourably and the pound manages to recover some of its strength. Nevertheless, periods of significant uncertainty surrounding Brexit, or a hard Brexit, could tarnish the recovery, given that house purchases by British citizens have historically been very sensitive to economic conditions in their own country. On a more positive note, the good economic outlook for the other main home-buying countries in Spain, together with the continuation of accommodative monetary conditions and the decrease in the political uncertainty in the Eurozone countries, represent an opportunity for the Spanish real estate sector.

On a more positive note, the good economic outlook for the other main overseas buyers of homes in Spain, together with the continuation of loose monetary conditions and the decrease in the political uncertainty in the Eurozone countries, represent an opportunity for the Spanish real estate sector.

Original story: CaixaBank Research

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Fixed Rate Mortgages Enjoy Unparalleled Popularity

29 July 2016 – Cinco Días

The mortgage market is not only on track to recovery, it is proving unstoppable. The enormous and increasingly attractive mortgages being offered by the banks to secure new clients are encouraging homebuyers. And that is being reflected in the figures. According to the property registers, the signing of new mortgages for the acquisition of a home recorded a significant YoY increase of 34.1% in May, to reach 26,579 contracts, an increase that was ten basis points higher than the rise recorded in April (24.6%) and twenty points higher than the increase in March. With the YoY rise in May, mortgages recorded 24 consecutive months of increases.

And the data reveal another important fact to keep in mind. It seems that the firm commitment of the financial institutions to fixed rate mortgages is working, with increasingly more clients choosing that option. 80.4% of the mortgages constituted in May had variable rates, compared with 19.6% that had fixed rates. Just a month before, in April, variable rate mortgages accounted for 85.2% of the total, whilst fixed rate mortgages represented 14.8%. But the increase in fixed-rate loans is unquestionable if we compare the latest figures with those from just a year ago. In May 2015, when 19,732 new mortgages were constituted, 92.8% of them were variable rate and 7.2% were fixed rate. In other words, the proportion of new fixed rate mortgages has almost tripled in one year.

And, in recent months, the financial institutions have shown a greater predilection for fixed-rate mortgages, given the low interest rate environment in which they are operating. And, what’s more, the battle to win clients is still very much alive and kicking, with some entities now offering interest rates of less than 2%. There are several examples: BBVA is offering 15-year fixed rate mortgages at 1.90%. Bankinter is offering 1.80% on its 15-year mortgages and 1.60% on its 10-year products. Meanwhile, Activobank’s promotional mortgage to celebrate its anniversary establishes a rate of just 1.50% over 10 years. (…).

With just two days left of trading before the end of July, the average Euribor rate currently sits at -0.057%, compared with -0.028% in June. Thus, the decrease in Euribor has doubled in just a month. (…).

According to the provisional data for May, provided by INE yesterday, which comes from public deeds signed in the previous months, the 26,579 mortgages that were constituted during the month represent an increase of 12.6% compared with the 23,607 signed a month earlier.

The value of those mortgages amounted to €2,776.9 million, up by 33.1% compared to a year ago and 8.6% higher than in April. The average mortgage loan amounted to €104,480, which represents a reduction of 0.8% compared to May 2015 and 3.6% compared to a month earlier. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días (by M. Calavia)

Translation: Carmel Drake