Regional Property Taxes Will Rise in 74 Municipalities in Málaga From 2019

11 September 2018 – Diario Sur

The autonomic coefficients that are applied to cadastral values to adjust them to market prices for the purpose of calculating Property Transfer and Property Succession taxes are going to be updated from 2019.

If you are planning to buy a property next year or if you acquire one as a result of inheritance or a donation, then it is quite likely that you will be hit by an increase in the two autonomic taxes linked to the real estate market (the Property Transfer tax and the Property Succession tax) given that the index that the Junta de Andalucía uses to set the charge is going to increase in 74 of the 103 municipalities in the province of Málaga. With the recovery of the real estate market as the main justification, the multiplying coefficients that are applied to cadastral values to adjust them to market prices (to reflect the performance of the sector) will increase by an average of 12.05% in the Andalucían province with respect to the values in 2017, according to plans compiled by the Ministry of Finance (…).

Málaga province leads the rise

According to the corresponding economic report, Málaga and Almería are the only two provinces where increases are expected to be seen in global terms (of 12.05% and 10.83%, respectively). Many of the other provinces in the autonomous region will be moving in the opposite direction, with decreases expected in Huelva (-13.19%), Granada (-12.41%), Córdoba (-8.32%) and Sevilla (-7.26%) (…).

Original story: Diario Sur (by Francisco Jiménez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Benidorm Fever: TM Sells 15 Apartments in Just One Day

10 May 2018 – El Confidencial

More than 40 homes have been reserved in just two weeks. And fifteen of them in the first 24 hours. TM Grupo Inmobiliario, the owner of the largest batch of land located one street from the beach in Benidorm, one of the most sought-after markets along the coast at the moment, has put the first units up for sale of what is going to be its most ambitious project ever.

In January, the Alicante-based company acquired 165,000 m2 of land in Benidorm, which will initially, in its first phase, be home to two buildings comprising 132 homes each, containing two-, three- and four-bedrooms. The appetite for buying homes in the city has been so great that in just two weeks, 15% of the units that are going to be built in this first phase have already been reserved.

The prices of the two-bedroom homes range between €275,000 and €325,000, whilst the prices of the three-bedroom homes range from €325,000 to €400,000. To give us an idea, on the market at the moment, you can find properties ranging from small apartments costing just €20,000, to detached homes costing as much as €4 million. The reality is that, since its origins as a tourist destination, Benidorm has always been suitable for all kinds of budgets.

In fact, the town boasts the most expensive property prices per square metre in the region, with an average of €1,585/m2 – for new build and second-hand homes – above the prices paid in neighbouring Altea, Calpe and l’Alfàs del Pi, according to data from Tinsa. Although prices have fallen by almost 44% since their peak, it is one of the places in Spain that is enjoying a fair wind. In the last year, prices have risen by 11%, according to the latest report from the appraisal company about the coastal market.

The land, acquired in January this year, is located one street back from Playa de Poniente in Benidorm – right opposite the In Tempo skyscraper, marketing of which will also begin shortly – and around 1,200 homes are planned for the site. In addition to the residential area, the overall project will also include commercial and social use plots. Moreover, the land is located next to the Sunset Drive development, another one of TM’s projects in Benidorm, which has been completely sold.

The project was chosen in accordance with the bases of an ideas tender held for that purpose, to provide an avant-garde serene and long-lasting image, characteristic of the environment in Benidorm. The winning studio was Gea Arquitectos, which has already collaborated with TM on other developments (…).

The buildings are going to be located on the highest part of the plot and their layout is going to be designed to maximise the sea views as you go up (…).

Given its design, TM’s project is reminiscent of Promora’s Delfín Tower, which is going to occupy the last available plot on the beachfront in Benidorm. The main difference between the two stems from the fact that the latter is a luxury housing project, comprising 44 homes containing two-, three- and four-bedrooms, spread over 22 floors. Almost 50% of the properties have been sold and the project holds the record for the most expensive home ever sold in Benidorm. According to different sources, the home is located on the 16th floor and the buyer, a foreigner, paid just over €2 million for it.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gentrification Drives Up House Prices In Barcelona

13 March 2017 – El Periódico

It never rains but it pours: property prices in Barcelona are rising in a continuous and alarming way; a bullish process that echoes the trend seen in residential rental prices in recent times. Only those who are very optimistic – or very cynical – will be able to argue that these price rises are not a reflection of the improvement in the economy and that the laws of the market are as follows: the more pressure in terms of demand (from property buyers), the more the supply benefits (owners and real estate companies alike). According to all indications, the worst of the crisis is over, but the reality of the daily economy is far from the one seen during the years before the bubble burst, in 2007-2008 (and probably will not be in the next few years): average salaries have decreased, employment is more precarious and young people looking to emancipate themselves are finding it very difficult to put a roof over their heads.

But Barcelona is fashionable, a phenomenon that seems unlikely to end (nor would that be desirable) – and moreover, available land for new homes is in short supply. The combination of these two factors is fuelling the purchase of properties as investments, in many cases by foreigners and, is leading to a price spiral that, according to reliable samples, means that 80% of the homes currently up for sale cost at least €200,000. Below that price, properties abound only in the neighbourhoods of Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Horta-Guinardó.

The Town Hall, led by Ada Colau, has taken some initiatives to alleviate these perverse effects of Barcelona’s appeal, but its legal and economic capacity is limited. The problem requires coordinated action with other administrations if a mockery is not to be made of the Constitution, which establishes that: all Spaniards have the right to decent housing and that the public authorities must ensure as such, “by regulating the use of land in accordance with the general interest to avoid speculation”.

Barcelona, at the forefront in many periods in history, still has time to show that success does not have to denaturalise a city to the point of turning against its inhabitants and driving them out through a large-scale gentrification process. Nobody wants Barcelona to end up like Venice, a paradigm of a city, with lots of glamour and many visitors but with increasingly little soul.

Original story: El Periódico

Translation: Carmel Drake

Notaries: House Prices Decreased By 2.4% YoY In Q2 2015

16 September 2015 – El Confidencial

We are clearly living in a skewed market. The experts in the sector have been saying as much for several months now and the various sets of data being published about the housing market in Spain tell the same story week in week out.

Just one week ago, the House Price Index (IPV) published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) showed a 4% YoY increase in house prices in Q2 2015. That percentage raised alarm bells as it fuelled fears that the market may be overheating again. Today, data from the Ministry of Development shows an increase of 1.2% during the second quarter of the year compared with the same period last year, a more moderate rise than reported by INE.

Now, to cool tempers, data from the notaries reflects exactly the opposite, a YoY decrease of 2.4%, taking the average price per m2 to €1,247. According to the General Council of Notaries, this decrease is due to a 3.1% YoY fall in flat (apartment) prices, meanwhile family homes experienced an increase of 3.4%. Moreover, these latest statistics reflect important differences between the prices of second-hand homes and new properties, with a decrease of 4.5% and an increase of 9.4%, respectively.

Which data is most reliable?

According to INE, “All of the parameters relating to property prices are skewed, the market is not yet operating with any kind of normality”. As such, any figures that are published should be interpreted with caution.

In terms of statistics, rather than depending on one official set of data as an indisputable reference, we are faced with multiple reports that only serve to generate confusion and contradictions. At the state level, for example, we have data from the Ministry of Development and INE, meanwhile the notaries and registrars supply their own data to the market, and so do the appraisers and real estate websites.

All of these reports are prepared on the basis of different methodologies. In this way, the data published by the Association of Registrars differs from that released by INE and again from that supplied by the notaries. The first group publish data with a delay of two or three months, i.e. they release information about prices and transactions signed before notaries two or three months earlier. Therefore, they do not really show the increase or decrease in prices in a given month, but rather what happened in the market several months ago. By contrast, the data issued by the notaries is more or less published in real time. As such, the statistics generally do not reconcile with each other. However, if instead of looking at the exact figures or percentages, we focus on their evolution over time, all of the indicators seem to be telling the same story – the market is stabilising.

That is because we find ourselves in a market that has now emerged from the emergency room, although it is still in need of professional care. In other words, the market has not been discharged from hospital yet and it will take months, if not years, for it to return to any kind of normality.

That is mainly because we are starting from a position of historical lows in terms of sales, mortgages and the construction of new homes; therefore any upwards movement may distort the figures. As a result, it is not surprising that we are talking about increases in terms of sales and the granting of mortgages at rates exceeding double figures. We are starting from zero and therefore any upwards movement distorts the percentages.


Furthermore, we should not forget that we are dealing with a very heterogeneous market. The level of activity is not the same in Madrid as in Albacete, nor is it the same in the neighbourhood of Salamanca as in Usera. Clearly, prices and the market in general will begin their recovery in those areas in which demand is highest and supply is scarce.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RE Sector: Are The Mistakes Of The Past Being Repeated?

3 June 2015 – Expansión

Overseas investors are exerting significant buy-side pressure, which is driving up property prices; the experts hope that rental prices will increase accordingly, otherwise another bubble will begin to grow, they fear.

The mass entry of foreign capital into Spain’s real estate market after six years of absolute drought has led to significant changes in the sector, but some (experts) fear that the mistakes of the past may be repeated. At a meeting of experts from the real estate sector, organised by Expansión and KPMG, the speakers agreed that the (economic) cycle has now changed, but they warned against the speed of the price increases in certain segments and the indebtedness of some transactions.

CBRE’s CEO in Spain said that “two years ago, we could not have dreamed of such a rapid recovery”. He added: “From the outside, the investment sector validates that Spain will do its homework and that rental prices will recover, however these rents must increase, since they are the lifeblood of the sector; if not, we will be inflating a new bubble”.

The director of the Masters in RE Consultancy at the University of Barcelona, Gonzalo Bernardos, is more pessimistic. “We are witnessing a new cycle of growth that is going to result in further price rises in Spain; whether that is harmful or not will depend on the financial institution, but I personally have serious doubts as to whether the banks have learned anything”, he said.


By contrast, the partner responsible for Real Estate at KPMG in Spain, Javier López Torres said that “banks are reviewing transactions with tremendous care, they are not managing land any more”. And he confirmed that “in a residential building, for example, the loan to value ratio must not exceed 50%”.

The CEO of Hi Partners, Alejandro Hernández-Puértolas also thinks that “the analysis that banks are currently performing with respect to hotel assets goes beyond their mere value, it is completely different from a few years ago”. He said that “increasingly, there are more sophisticated investors in this segment: it will be an important year for investment by private equity firms, Socimis and private individuals”.

Rebound effect

All of the speakers agreed that there has been a rebound effect in Spain after the investment drought. However, the co-founder of Elix, Jaime Lacasa, is concerned about the debt that is accompanying the investment operations. He thinks that “the banks’ models are too short-termist” and…he considers that many people are practically being forced to invest their money.

The CEO of Colonial, Pere Viñolas, also thinks that “the mistakes of the past will be repeated in the future: significant errors may already be happening in some deals in Spain”, he said. In Madrid, for example, “players are investing in office buildings on the outskirts, at very dubious prices. In general, in the prime areas, property values are now just 30% below the peaks reached in 2007 and the recovery in terms of rental income has not even started yet”.



Martínez-Laguna wanted to point out that the property (ownership) business should be distinguished from the property development business…Lacaso affirmed that in the development sector “the riskiest financing is to developers; if we solve that, then financing to end buyers is not risky”. He also called for “regulation of the development sector..”.

Bernardos thinks that “Spain will be fashionable for a few more years” and also that “the Catalan independence process will crush the office market in Barcelona”.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation by: Carmel Drake

The Economist: Homes In Spain Are Still Overvalued By 8%-18%

22 April 2015 – El Confidencial

Five years ago, housing in Spain was overvalued by more than 50% and every year since then, the Economist has considered that house prices still need to decrease further.

House prices in Spain have decreased by between 30% and 50% – the range varies depending on the source consulted and the type of assets being considered. According to the statistics and the experts, this decrease has now come to an end. But, what if prices are still inflated?

That is what the weekly British publication The Economist thinks; and it has been warning against the overvaluation of house prices in our country for the last five years. The publication says that house (prices) in Spain are still inflated by between 8% and 18%. By almost 10% on the basis of the net income of citizens and by almost 20% if we take into account the relationship between the price of house sales and rentals. This overvaluation comes despite the fact that the publication calculates that prices have decreased by 31.3% since the peaks recorded in the fourth quarter of 2007.

In 2010, The Economist created an index that was based, precisely, on the relationship between the sales price of properties and rental, and the net income of citizens in different countries to calculate reasonable house prices. Then, homes in Spain were overvalued by more than 50% and in every year since then, the publication has considered that house prices still need to decrease further.

Having said that, our country is not unique in this sense. Not surprisingly, homes are much more overvalued with respect to the average earnings of their citizens in countries such as Canada (by between 35% and 89%), France (25%-29%), Belgium (50%-55%) and Australia (39%-61%).

However, the data from The Economist reflects that if any further decrease takes place, then it will come in dribs and drabs – prices (in Spain) have decreased by just 0.2% in the last year, the smallest decline recorded in any of the countries analysed, and below those registered in Greece (6.1%), China (-5.6%), Singapore (-3.9%), Italy (-3.8%) and France (-2.1%).

By contrast, Ireland, a country that had a very similar real estate bubble to that experienced in Spain and where prices have decreased by almost 40% from their peak levels, heads up the ranking for highest price increases with a 16.2% year-on-year rise, followed by Turkey (16%) and Hong Kong (11.9%).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Elena Sanz). Refer to original story for table showing ‘The Economist House Price Indicators’ by country.

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankinter: House Prices To Grow By 1.5% In 2015 And By 5% In 2016

18 February 2015 – El Mundo

Bankinter expects the volume of house sales to reach 450,000 by 2016.

The large ‘stock’ (in poor locations) will not prevent the recovery in construction.

GDP is forecast to grow by 2.2% in 2015, which will significantly boost the real estate market.

Demand for housing in Spain will increase again in 2015, with a 15% increase in the volume of transactions, which will drive up property prices by 1.5% on average and by a further 5% in 2016, according to the half-yearly report about the real estate market in Spain, prepared by Bankinter.

The financial institution states that, given the heterogeneity of the Spanish real estate market, prices in most provincial capitals and in the towns furthest from the large cities will remain stable and may even decrease slightly over the next few months. Meanwhile, in the most sought after areas (prime) of the main cities and in the best locations of tourist centres, prices will increase and may even grow by more than 3% in 2015 and by 5% in 2016.

Bankinter explained that this improvement in the outlook for the real estate sector is due to the economic recovery – GDP is forecast to grow by 2.2% this year – which will lead to a better climate for employment, increased confidence and greater access to finance. However, the financial institution warns that it does not expect the recovery of the sector to be fast or sufficiently profound to generate a return to the pre-crisis position, either in terms of transaction volumes or price increases.

The report states that unemployment will remain above 20% over the next two years; the financial effort required to make a purchase will continue to be high due to the decrease in disposable household wealth; the size of the Spanish population will decline (with the consequent negative knock-on effect on demand); and homes foreclosed by banks will continue to come onto the market with big discounts.

Recovery in new build sales

In terms of demand, the report expects an increase to 400,000 homes in 2015 and to 450,000 homes in 2016. A significant part of this growth will be driven by a recovery in the sale of new homes and by the maintenance of demand from foreigners. This increase will cause (new) house sales to break through the psychological barrier of 100,000 transactions in 2016.

In the case of supply, Bankinter points out that Spain still has a stock of between 650,000 and 700,000 empty homes, based on data published by the Ministry of Development and Sareb. Nevertheless, it considers that “this will not prevent the reactivation of the construction sector, given the mismatch between the location of the surplus (stock and demand)”.

In this sense, it warns that around 100,000 homes may never be sold unless huge discounts are applied to compensate for their challenging locations. Whereas, in the prime areas, there is a shortage of supply, according to the entity, which will be covered through renovations and new developments over the next few quarters.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Investment In Housing Returns To Barcelona After 7 Years

18 February 2015 – El País

The housing market is the last sector to emerge from the crisis. Nevertheless, investment returned to the residential segment last year, after seven years of sluggishness towards undertaking significant projects in the Catalan capital. In addition to the purchase of portfolios by vulture funds, nine major acquisitions were also recorded in Barcelona, corresponding to 55,095 square metres, according to the real estate consultant CB Richard Ellis. These developments, most of which are aimed at high-end clients, showed a move away from the traditional prime (residential) area – Sarria-Sant Gervasi – towards the neighbourhoods of Eixample, Ciutat Vella and Diagonal Mar.

The Vice President of CB Richard Ellis, Enrique Martínez-Laguna, described 2014 as a “historical” year because the volumes of investment amounted to €10,463 million across the whole of Spain, even higher than the levels recorded in 2007, the year in which most capital was invested. The Director of the consultancy firm in Barcelona, Anna Esteban, highlighted that property prices have fallen since then, and so more transactions were recorded in 2014 than in 2007. The consultancy firm expects investors’ appetite to continue this year, to the extent that “we will begin to see cranes (appearing on the horizon)”, says Martínez-Laguna.

The Catalan capital destroyed 90,000 square metres of office space in 2014

But the map of the city has not only changed in terms of the construction of housing. In total, 90,000 square metres of office space were destroyed in the city centre in 2014 alone. Buildings were converted or will shortly be converted into hotels and homes.

Changing landscape

For example, the Paseo de Gracia, has now become a residential and retail area. And something similar may take place on the Diagonal following its renovation. “There are also two buildings, at number 10 Francesc Macia and number 111 Paseo de Gracia, whose premises could be converted into the entrance of what may become a new open-air shopping centre” says Martínez-Laguna. At the same time, some of the buildings in the 22@ district are generating very similar rents to those being paid for other properties in the traditional business district.

The current rental price in the best areas of Barcelona amounts to c.€17.75 per square metre, down from the peak of €28/m2 recorded in 2007. Moreover, the consultancy firm considers that these rents have now bottomed out and will grow by 30% over the next two to three years.

Original story: El País (by Lluís Pellicer)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ST: Housing Becomes Investor Safe Haven Once More…

20 January 2015 – Cinco Días

…in the face of stock exchange volatility.

Experts forecast more sales in the future but do not expect significant price rises.

Refurbishments, rental and tourism are the three key niche areas for housing.

The housing market is preparing to emerge completely renewed from its worst crisis in recent history. Or at least that is the view of the latest study conducted by one of the main real estate valuation companies, Sociedad de Tasación. All of the parameters that drive the market are in better shape today than they were a year ago and that, coupled with the challenges facing this activity, means that forecasts are much more optimistic.

The CEO of Sociedad de Tasación, Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, said today that property prices are showing a clear trend towards “stabilisation”. Particularly, in used homes, where the growth in demand has caused smaller price decreases and even the first annual price increases. “In resale homes, we are seeing very clearly that prices have bottomed out, whereas for new homes, if all of the other variables fall in line with our expectations, then prices should reach their minimum levels at some point this year”, said the CEO of the real estate valuation company.

Refurbishment and rental

Speaking of variables, Fernández-Aceytuno, cited three key parameters: employment, purchasing power and finance. Continued improvement in the labour market will be crucial for ensuring that demand for housing continues to increase, now that the banks deem determined to re-establish the flow of credit. “In fact, all indicators show that, as at the end of previous crises, demand is building, as potential buyers wait for prices to come down to the desired level or to the level that they consider they can afford. As soon as that happens, sales will increase” said the CEO of Sociedad de Tasación.

This indicates that over the short to medium term, the market will see more sales without necessarily having to raise prices. And this does not even take account of the fact that some of the circumstances that occurred in the early 2000s, when the last boom in property prices began, are now repeating themselves.

And it is now, like then, that experts believe that housing is regaining its traditional appeal as a safe haven in the face of low returns on deposits and the high volatility of the stock market. With the euro, oil and other commodity prices all in decline, it is inevitable that investments in property and gold, amongst others, become more attractive, explain analysts. In addition, uncertainty exists overseas.

“We see more clouds on the horizon outside of Spain that within it. We are concerned by the situations in Russia and Greece, by terrorism, by how the deflationary situation in Europe will develop in the face of economic and price growth in the US. In Spain, the evolution of the economic situation is critical”, noted Fernández-Aceytuno.

Asked whether international investors seem concerned about the rise in political groups such as Podemos, the CEO of Sociedad de Tasación was keen to minimise the effect that such factors have on the decision-making of companies investing in Spain. “As you would expect, they ask about Podemos, Cataluña and corruption, but we are not aware of any project that has been halted for any of those reasons”, he said.

In terms of future challenges, refurbishment, rental and tourism are the three areas in which experts at the real estate valuation company expect to see the highest growth. In refurbishment, because 90% of existing homes do not meet the requirements of the 2006 technical code. In rental, because buy-to-let is one of the fastest growing trends in the market given its high yields (depending on the area, yields can exceed 6%). And finally, tourism because statistics show that up to 12 million travellers will stay in houses instead of hotels every year, “tourism represents a huge niche in which hotels can compete by buying homes, refurbishing them and offering them up for rent”.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

 Translation: Carmel Drake

The IMF Reports Spanish House Prices Bottoming Out

9/01/2014 – El Mundo

In its “Multi-Country Report”, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates that housing prices seem to be reaching the rock bottom level in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain, the four countries which have had experienced significant house-price falls in recent years.

The report reminds that the four analyzed countries share similar monetary policy. It also remarks that the most acute price slumps were seen in Spain and Ireland, which additonally suffer high unemployment rates. The IMF staff assignes this fact to a huge loss of jobs in the home-building industry.

Fall in prices had an impact on consumption. Household debt has had increased during the real estate boom (these countries saw sudden property prices upsurge in years 2000-2007 due to easy access to financing) and housing equity has had shrunk during the recession, the IMF reports. What is more, both residential and non-residential investment did not escape the hit. In turn, financial institutions restricted their loan-eligibility conditions.

According to the Fund, the four analyzed countries should address the real estate sector in the context of reactivation and reduction of the impact of the crisis. To achieve that, they are advised to focus on macro-economic policies, rental market, undertake tax reforms for pensions to fight liquidation gap and adopt measures which would help to make the mortgage debt healthier.

“It is essential to guarantee that the mispolicy which has led to the real estate bubble will gradually vanish”, the report concludes.


Original story: El Mundo (by Pablo Ramos)

Translation: AURA REE