Santander May ‘Free Up’ 560 Popular Branches For The Retail Market

4 October 2017 – Eje Prime

Santander is starting to decide how to reduce Popular’s stock of bank branches. The investment bank RBC Capital estimates that Santander should close around 560 branches to avoid duplication in the network, which would mean decreasing the total number of branches that the two entities own by 12%. If that is what ends up being carried out, Santander would free up 560 branches in prime and secondary locations for the retail sector.

In a report sent to its clients a few days ago, RBC’s analysts outline the reduction plan for Santander after meeting with directors of the entity during the second week of September, according to Expansión.

The company has set itself the objective of decreasing its branch network, which will generate a reduction in expenses of €500 million. But the cost of closing 12% of the branches would amount to €190 million, according to estimates from RBC.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Quabit’s Losses Decreased By 45% In H1 2016

16 August 2016 – Expansión

Quabit has closed the first half of the year with a net loss of €3.29 million, representing a reduction of 45% compared with H1 2015. The firm chaired by Félix Abándades has multiplied its revenues five-fold, to €21.1 million, and has reduced its net debt by 4% to €216.8 million as at the end of June.

The real estate group recorded gross operating losses of €3.45 million, which represents a reduction of 41% with respect to the negative balance recorded during the same period in 2015.

Quabit – which is in the middle of a five year business plan – underlined the fact that both the generation of revenues as well as of profits will “happen gradually” as its residential projects progress. They have a maturity period of between 24 to 36 months, which means that, during the first two years of the plan, the company’s EBITDA will remain negative.

The group added that, during this period, it will be possible to obtain profits through discounts on its debt and the gradual activation of tax credits. Quabit has agreed payment conditions on its debt that will allow it to register profits from discounts on its debt amounting to €55 million. It also has unregistered tax credits on its balance sheet amounting to €183 million.

On Friday, the company’s share price fell by 0.31% on the stock exchange to €1.74.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Primary Residence Foreclosures Fell By 31.8% In Q1

3 June 2016 – El País

The number of foreclosures over primary residences is continuing its decline. The number of cases involving homes (secured by mortgages) being sold due to a failure to keep up with the mortgage repayments, decreased to 6,118 during the first three months of the year, which represents a 31.2% reduction compared with the same period in 2015, according to Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE). Taking the total number of family homes in Spain during the first quarter (18,408,300) as a benchmark, foreclosure proceedings were initiated on 0.03% of those properties during the quarter.

Whilst the crisis recedes, so too does one of its darkest sides. Two years ago, in 2014, 34,680 primary residences were handed over to the banks to settle unpaid debts. In 2015, that figure decreased for the first time by 13%. The decrease in interest rates to historical lows – they closed May in negative territory for the four month in a row and the monthly rate dropped to -0.013% – and agreements between borrowers and financial entities have helped to alleviate the drama.

Homes mortgaged in 2007 are the worst off

Borrowers who mortgaged their homes in 2007 and did so over second-hand homes have been hit the hardest. 20.4% of the foreclosures in Q1 corresponded to loans granted in that year. 15.6% related to mortgages signed in 2006 and 11.8% to loans taken out in 2008. The period comprising 2005-2008 accounted for 58.5% of all mortgage foreclosures and the highest values were reached in 2013 and 2007. During Q1, foreclosure proceedings were initiated against 0.20% and 0.19% of the mortgages granted over homes in each of those years, respectively, according to INE. 86.4% of the cases initiated during the three months to March related to second-hand homes, whilst 13.6% corresponded to new builds.

Homes owned by legal entities accounted for 17.7% of the total mortgage foreclosures. Beyond the housing market, the number of mortgage foreclosures registered over properties in general during the first quarter amounted to 19,354, which represents a 37.9% decrease with respect to the same period in 2015.

Andalucía, the most asphyxiated

The autonomous regions with the highest number of mortgage foreclosures over homes were Andalucía (3,144), Cataluña (2,113) and Valencia (2,094). And the fewest foreclosures were filed in Cantabria (43), La Rioja (54) and Navarra (61). Borrowers who took mortgages out between 2003 and 2015 in Murcia (0.25%), Andalucía (0.20%) and Valencia (0.18%) were the worst off. Meanwhile, those in the País Vasco (0.03%) and Cantabria (0.06%) suffered the least.

Original story: El Páis (by Sandra López Letón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankinter Reduces Interest On Its 10-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage To 1.75%

19 April 2016 – Expansión

Bankinter has lowered the interest rate on its fixed rate mortgage to 1.75% over 10 years, the most competitive rate in the market, and to 2% over 15 years.

Euribor’s entry into negative territory and the continuous decrease of the index, which is the reference rate for most mortgages, has led the banks to step up their commitments to fixed rate mortgages in recent months. Bankinter, which was already offering the cheapest product in the market, has taken a new step in this commercial battle with an additional reduction in the rate of its fixed rate mortgages.

This reduction, which is the third in seven months, takes the interest rate on 10-year fixed rate mortgages to 1.75%, down from 1.8%. The entity chaired by María Dolores Dancausa has also decreased the rate on its 15-year fixed rate mortgage from 2.1% to 2% and on its 20-year mortgage from 2.5% to 2.4%. (…).

Other products

BBVA is the other entity that has strongly backed the fixed rate mortgage segment, which tend to have shorter repayment periods than their variable rate counterparts. The interest on its 15-year fixed rate mortgage is 1.9%, the lowest in the market over that term. (…).

Bankia…is also offering a 10-year fixed rate mortgage with an interest rate of 1.9%, as is Banco Cooperativo Español.

Translation: Expansión (by A. Roa)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Expects To Sell Out Its Stock Of New Housing In 10 Months And Predicts A Rise In Prices

9 February 2016 – ABC

The capital has given out 82.5% of its offer in two years and there are only 1,710 new units put up for sale.

In Madrid capital there are only 448 new homes left for sale out of the 2.558 units registered in the list drafted in 2014 by “Sociedad de Tasación” (Valuation Company). A figure which has warned the property sector on the stock pace of the absortion, which implies that 82% of this offering has been sold. In addition, in the capital 1,710 new units put up for sale in the last two years remain for sale. The generic balance is 2,158 homes. All of this brings a stock net reduction in Madrid capital of 15,6%.

This comes from the report released from this valuation company, which reflects that this current extends to the municipalities of the Community of Madrid with more than 50,000 inhabitants. Thus, the CEO of “Sociedad de Tasación”, Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, warns that the supply of new housing in the region could be sold out in 10 months. “In the case of Madrid capital it would be 9 months.” A situation that would lead to a “price spike scenario,” according to study “List of New Housing in Madrid and Madrid Capital 2016″ prepared by the valuation company.

Out of the 8,898 new housing units on sale in 2014, there are currently 1,911, representing a stock reduction of 78.5 percent in two years. To this remnant, the 3,563 new units in stock which have been detected from 2014 to now are added, resulting in a current balance of 5,474 homes and a net reduction of 38.5 percent over the 2014 List.

“In this context, if new units are not put up for sale, we could find ourselves in a scenario of price spike in this segment of the market, since there is not sufficient supply to meet demand», Fernández-Aceytuno says.

Original story: ABC (by Adrián Delgado)

Translation: Aura Ree

Madrid’s Property Tax (IBI) Will Decrease By 7% In 2016

22 September 2015 – El País

In October, the Town Hall of Madrid will approve a 7% decrease in the property tax (‘Impuesto sobre bienes inmuebles’ or IBI) for all homes and the majority of commercial premises, offices and retail stores. This decrease, accepted begrudgingly by the minority Ahora Madrid government following its enforcement by the other parties (PP, PSOE and Ciudadanos), will be passed with equal reluctance next month by the socialists, who were seeking a higher cut. The 7% decrease in IBI will be equivalent to a €25 reduction in the average monthly bill (€350).

Yesterday, a Councillor from the Treasury, Carlos Sánchez Mato (pictured), announced a 7% decrease in the rate of IBI for all homes in the capital (1,448,765 households) and for the majority of non-residential buidlings.

Nevertheless, the rate will increase by 10% for those non-residential buildings that have a “higher cadastral (land registry) value”. The Town Hall defines this threshold as follows: for individual buildings, the increase will apply only to those that have a cadastral value of more than €35 million (there are around 30 such properties in Madrid); retail stores worth more than €860,000 (around 3,000 of more than 97,000); buildings used for sporting activities worth more than €20 million (around 30 in total); and offices worth more than €2 million (1,760 out of almost 32,000).

These targeted increases to non-residential buildings with higher cadastral values will almost entirely offset the decrease in the rate of IBI for the rest of the city.

IBI is the main source of income from the Town Hall, and therefore any change in the rate significantly affects its capacity to provide public services: IBI will account for €1,279 million of the €4,388 million that the municipal coffers will receive this year (i.e. it accounts for almost one in every three euros). The changes proposed by Ahora Madrid will reduce this revenue by just 3.7%.

A new tax

This fall in revenues (€49 million) will be primarily offset by the creation of a new tax to be paid by the companies that generate the most waste. The other municipal taxes will remain unchanged in 2016, although there may be an as -yet-unknown decrease in the price of certain services (sports centres, kindergartens, etc). (…).

Original story: El País (by Bruno García Gallo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Reyal Urbis’s Losses Decrease By 14% In 2014

2 March 2015 – Expansión

The real estate company, Reyal Urbis, recorded net losses of €694 million in 2014, i.e. a reduction of 14% on the losses of €807.42 million it recorded in the previous year, according to reports by the company, which has filed for bankruptcy.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake