Global Geopolitics Fuels Demand for Luxury Homes in Madrid

12 May 2019 – El Confidencial

Wealthy investors and families from China, Russia, Venezuela and Mexico are particularly active in the luxury home segment in Madrid, in particular in the districts of Salamanca, Chamberí, Retiro and Moncloa-Aravaca.

According to the College of Property Registrars, foreigners accounted for 6.7% of all residential purchases over €500,000 in the Community of Madrid in 2017, a figure that rose to 8.4% in 2018.

There are several pull-factors motivating these buyers including tax exemptions, golden visas (thanks to Law 14/2013), (relative) legal certainty, low rates of crime and affordable prices, compared to Miami and other European capitals. The language, climate and excellent transport infrastructure also play their role, as do the world-class universities and business schools in the Spanish capital.

A number of push-factors are also evident, which is where the geopolitical developments come into play. The political and economic crisis in Venezuela, the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the President of Mexico in December, the political uncertainty in Cataluña and even the on-going Brexit saga, are all important reasons for wealthy buyers to turn their backs on their home countries in favour of Madrid when it comes to buying a property.

To date, since they were introduced in 2014, 2,948 golden visas have been granted for the purchase of luxury homes, with half going to Chinese citizens (1,476) and a fifth going to Russians (621).

Moreover, according to official statistics from Spain’s National Institute for Statistics, the number of Mexican residents in Spain has risen from just over 20,000 in 2014 to more than 25,200 by the end of 2018, of whom one third live in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the number of Venezuelan residents has increased from just over 32,000 five years ago to 57,120 in 2018. Nevertheless, in both cases, the real number of arrivals is higher since many move to Spain through family links making them entitled to Spanish passports.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos García)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

E&V: 800+ Luxury Homes Were Sold In Madrid In 2016

29 March 2017 – El Economista

The luxury real estate sector seems to have been the least affected by the real estate bubble and the serious economic crisis that has hit the country over the last few years. In this sense, premium housing in Madrid has reached a historical high with the number of real estate transactions at maximum levels. During 2016, more than 800 homes costing more than €1,500,000 were sold in the capital. That represents an increase of 60% compared to the previous year.

This data has emerged from the latest report compiled by the prestigious luxury real estate agency Engel & Völkers. The report also states that house prices in Madrid have increased exponentially with respect to previous years.

According to data provided by this luxury real estate agency, in 2016, the vast majority of luxury homes in Madrid, almost 720, cost between €1.5 million and €4 million. A small percentage of the premium homes sold in the capital had a purchase price of more than €6 million. In fact, in some areas of the capital, a luxury home now costs more than €15,000/m2.

Good times for luxury homes

These are good times for luxury homes in Madrid. The current trend, according to the experts, is to construct new build properties, to the detriment of second-hand homes. Nevertheless, this increase in the number of luxury homes sold in the capital in 2016 could be explained by an increase in real estate renovations in the city’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. The high demand for homes in premium areas and the limited supply available also means that prices in certain areas of Madrid are soaring.

The Madrilenian neighbourhoods with the highest demand for luxury homes include El Viso in the Chamartín district and some neighbourhoods in the districts of Salamanca, Retiro and Centro.

In terms of new builds, developers are moving to the outskirts of the capital, given that there is no land left in the city on which to build new and exclusive developments. Boadilla del Monte, Villaviciosa de Odón, Las Rozas and Pozuelo have become the most appealing areas for the construction of exclusive new build homes.

Original story: El Economista (by María Sempere)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bank Of Spain: Residential Rental Yields Rise To 5%

18 May 2015 – Expansión

Residential market / The average annual return on rental properties is equivalent to 3.1x the return on public debt – a historical record. Demand for rental property has soared by 42.5% in three years.

After seven-years in decline, it seems that the housing sector is back. The residential market is oozing optimism once again, although it is also full of caution, learned during the post-bubble era, and  uncertainty, inherent in a recovery that is still recent.

But the data is improving and housing has become a good investment once again, above all due to the significant rental returns offered nowadays. Investors looking for yields that exceed those on deposits and public debt are on the hunt for properties in good locations, with high demand, with a view to buying them to let.

The data endorses this trend, since the rental income for a residential property offers an annual gross return of around 5%. On average, 4.7%, according to the Bank of Spain. It is the highest percentage recorded since June 2003, during the height of the housing bubble, although other reports, such as the one published by idealista, puts the figure even higher, at 5.3%.

The gross yield is a percentage of the total price of the house covered by the annual rental income. This yield, published by the Bank of Spain, also takes into account capital gains.

Taking into account the data from the body led by Luis María Linde, the average annual rental yield is no less than 3.1x the return generated by public debt on the secondary markets during the last quarter (1.5%). That is a historical record for this comparative ratio, which dates back to 1991. Meanwhile, bank deposits offer a return of 0.6% each year.

What does all this mean? Simply, that the moment is ripe for investment in buy-to-let housing, especially for small investors. The price of homes is beginning to increase and so are rentals, which means that the market is at an impasse of high returns without much risk. Moreover, the percentage of citizens who prefer to rent rather than buy has risen sharply, from 11.4% in the boom years to the current rate of 19%. In the past three years alone, the rental market has expanded to include one million more homes; it has grown by 42.5%.

On the other hand, the price of homes is starting to rise, specifically by 2.65% during the first quarter of the year, according to the registers. This trend towards stability in terms of property prices points to an easing of returns in the rental market, and so analysts believe that now is the best time to invest (rather than waiting to invest over the next few quarters).

According to the experts, the prime areas of the large cities are those that offer the safest opportunities, due to their significant demand, although without exorbitant returns. For example, the Madrid neighbourhood of Retiro, where the average price per square metre for sale is €3,289 and for rent is €11.6/m2/month, according to the index prepared by IE Business School and Fotocasa. A property measuring 100 m2 with these parameters would have an annual return of 4.2%. A second-hand home measuring 100 m2 in the Goya neighbourhood (Madrid) would have a return of around 4.7%.

“Homes in the best locations are the most attractive to rent. They will go up in price and there is no risk of default or lack of demand”, says the real estate consultant José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé. “It is possible that rental prices will also start to rise, although by less that sales prices. The rental margin will narrow, but that is because certainty will increase as well; I do not see that as a bad thing”, he adds.

And in the peripheral areas? “You have to look at where there is more demand than supply”, says Ruiz. Julio Gil, President of the Foundation for Real Estate Studies agrees: “It is the best option for small investors, due to the returns and minimal risk”.

Some properties offer higher yields than housing, such as commercial premises (7.2%) and offices (6.7%), according to idealista.com. Garages yield 4.5%.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake