7 November 2017 – Cinco Días
With barely two months to go before the end of the year, forecasts abound about what is going to happen to house prices, house sales and construction activity in the residential sector. After three years (2014, 2015 and 2016) during which the sector has gradually emerged from the worst real estate crisis in recent history, 2017 is going to be remembered as the year in which the improvement in all the variables was consolidated, property developers returned to the stock market and overseas investment in the sector reached record levels.
The only but that continues to mark this recovery is its heterogeneity, given that prices are not rising by the same amount in every autonomous region and homes are nowhere near as easy to sell in Cáceres as they are in Madrid (for example); moreover, cranes are not expected to return to certain regions for a long while yet.
Nevertheless, 2018 can be summarised by the fact that we expect to see more of the same. Prices will continue to recover, even reaching double-digit growth rates, above all in Madrid, Barcelona and certain parts of the Mediterranean Coast; transaction volumes may exceed the 500,000 unit threshold; and the number of new homes started will amount to 80,000 units, if the current rate continues.
And that is because the statistics in aggregate terms reveal some very significant increases, both in terms of transaction volumes and new home starts. For example, between January and August 2017, 56,000 new homes were sold in Spain, up by 5.8% compared to the same period last year, according to the latest report from the Spanish Confederation of the Associations of Construction Product Manufacturers (Cepco).
That represents quite an accelerated rate, with which permits for new homes are trying to keep up. During the first seven months of this year, 49,200 new permits were granted, up by 9,700 compared to the same period last year, which represents an increase of no less than 24.4% in relative terms.
That is what is causing the experts to predict that if these trends continue, then work could begin on the construction of around 80,000 new homes by the end of this year. If that volume of construction ends up being confirmed, the level of activity recorded in 2016, when 64,038 homes were started, will have risen by 25%. Nevertheless, these figures are still well below the more than 865,000 new home permits that were granted in 2006. And a considerable distance from the 200,000 or 250,000 that the consensus of experts in the sector believes will represent the real estate market’s cruising speed over the medium term.
Meanwhile, the number of finished homes also grew significantly during 2017, by 40%, although in absolute terms the figures are still minimal (33,085), as Cepco’s research acknowledges (…).
Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)
Translation: Carmel Drake