10 October 2016 – Expansión
Money is seeking refuge and returns in the real estate sector once again. Real estate assets, which experienced such significant gains at the beginning of the century and which, shortly thereafter, generated so many problems, represent one of the main options for investors in Spain once again. The significant instability that we are seeing in the stock markets; the absence of attractive investment products from the banks; and the many doubts hanging over the global economic recovery, mean that many investors are now backing the security being offered by the, until recently, maligned Spanish real estate sector.
“In the current economic climate, characterised by market volatility and negative interest rates, the real estate sector, and in particular, the luxury residential segment, is becoming the safest choice for investors”, explained sources at the real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank.
These data are corroborated by the evolution of prices in some of the main areas of Madrid and Barcelona. According to data published by the appraisal company Tinsa, since Q1 2015, which is when it is considered that prices in the sector hit rock bottom, prices in the centre of Madrid have soared by more than 10%. Specifically, in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, the increase has been almost as high and the price per sqm now amounts to €3,500/sqm. The increase in the Cataluñan capital is even more pronounced and in the Ensanche de Barcelona area, prices have risen by 20%, from €2,717/sqm at the beginning of 2015 to more than €3,200 at the end of Q3 2016. Moreover, prices rose by more than 15% in the Gracia neighbourhood and by 13% in Sarriá.
This situation is the result of the economic recovery in the country, but also the apepal that the real estate sector has for overseas investors. According to Knight Frank, Latin America and European investors are being very active in their purchases, given that prices fall well below those seen in cities such as Paris, London and Milan.
This good image of the Spanish property sector overseas is going to be maintained over the next few years. That is according to Deutsche Asset Management, which reaffirmed its advice to “buy” in the real estate sector in Spain in a recent report.
“We expect significant returns to be generated (…), well above those being offered in other European markets”, it said.
The only problem that both the manager of Deutsche Bank and Knight Frank are concerned by is political instability. In fact, the real estate consultancy said that “we cannot avoid the situation of political uncertainty that Spain has been living for the last 10 months (…). Activity has been good in the sector but with a stable Government, the growth rate could have been exponential”.
Nevertheless, this obstacle is not likely to outweigh the attractive returns being offered by the sector. According to forecasts from the consultancy CBRE, real estate investment between now and the end of the year is expected to amount to almost €3,000 million, taking the total for the year to between €8,500 million and €9,000 million.
Original story: Expansión (by Daniel Viaña and César Urrutia)
Translation: Carmel Drake