Sevilla: The Slow Re-awakening of the Real Estate Sector in the Andalucían Capital

2 August 2018 – Eje Prime

Sevilla, the third largest Spanish city by population, is seeing the first signs of recovery in its residential market (…).

The capital of Andalucía, which is home to almost 690,000 inhabitants, has seen its population decrease on a gradual basis since 2012 when it exceeded 702,000 inhabitants. The slow but progressive decline of the population is probably one of the reasons why house prices have not risen there and why new builds account for an all but residual percentage of the market.

Nevertheless, some of the data does indicate that Sevilla is jumping on the bandwagon in terms of the improvements in the real estate market that are being seen across Spain: a sharp increase in prices in 2017, an on-going rise in sales and, finally, investment in the city by groups of the calibre of Habitat and Ayco.

The city of NO8DO, Sevilla’s traditional motto, saw its population peak at 710,000 inhabitants in 2003, before falling below the 700,000 threshold in 2007. That figure rose above 700,000 again in 2009 before reaching a decade high of 704,000 in 2010, but it has fallen continuously since then to the current figures.

Real estate dynamism

Despite that, the dynamism in terms of house purchases has been considerable in recent years. In 2013, operations in the sector were still registering strong decreases, with a fall that year of 24.4% to just 4,715 house sales. However, the rises have been unwavering since then: up by 12.1% in 2014; 11.3% in 2015; 15.1% in 2016 and 14.1% in 2017, with a total of 7,732 sales.

According to data from the Ministry of Development, during the first quarter of this year, 2,234 house sales were recorded in the city, of which more than 95% corresponded to second-hand homes. With just 98 sales, new homes accounted for just 4.4% of the residential activity during the first quarter.

Nevertheless, and despite this growing activity in terms of sales, residential prices in Sevilla remain stagnant. In recent years, average appraisal prices per square metre in the fourth quarter of each year have decreased steadily, with the exception of 2014 only, when they rose by a measly 0.3% (…).

Currently, house prices amount to €1,468.70/m2 on average (€1,754,40/m2 for new builds and €1,464/m2 for homes aged five years or more). That value is 26.3% lower than the prices in Sevilla in 2012 and 35.9% lower than the peaks of 2007, before the outbreak of the crisis, when the average house price amounted to €2,316.10/m2.

Governed by the socialist Juan Espadas since June 2015, the weight of social housing in the city is greater than that of many other Spanish cities, at least based on data for the first quarter of 2018. In this sense, 177 of the purchases recorded in the city between January and March involved social housing properties, which accounted for 7.9% of the total.

New projects

Habitat is one of the companies that has invested in the Sevillan market this year. In July, the property developer announced a €30 million investment in a new development in the Andalucían capital comprising 199 homes. The acquired land is located in Mairena del Aljarafe, one of the fastest growing areas in the local residential market (…).

Another active player in the city is Ayco, which has acquired a batch of buildable plots this year in the municipality of Camas (Sevilla). In total, that company has purchased land spanning 18,000 m2, where it plans to build around 200 homes.

Another emerging business for the city is the office market, which closed 2017 with 919,173 m2 of space leased, up by 4% YoY, and approaching the records of 2013, according to a report by the Sevilla-based consultancy Inerzia (…).

In the commercial sphere, the Torre Sevilla project is the most important in the city at the moment. Six years after inheriting this macro-project, CaixaBank has let 100% of the office space and the shopping centre is on the verge of opening its doors.

Aenor, Deloitte, Everis, Orange and the Chamber of Commerce are some of the entities present in the 18-storey office block, which account for just half of the skyscraper. The rest of the tower is occupied by a hotel managed by Eurostars, belonging to the Hotusa Group.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. De Angelis)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Venezuelans Lead Ranking of Most Active Foreign Residential Investors in Madrid

5 June 2018 – La Vanguardia

Venezuelan immigrants lead the ranking of home acquisitions by foreigners in the Spanish capital, according to data from Redpiso’s Research Service.

This data represents an increase of 10% with respect to the previous year and places investments by Venezuelan immigrants above those made by the Russians and Chinese, who were, until now, the nationalities that purchased the most homes.

The typical investor profile are people with a medium-high purchasing power, educated and employed, who have lived in the country for no more than three years.

Above all, they are buying homes in the areas of Chamartín, Hortaleza, Salamanca and Retiro.

The average cost per home amounts to around €565,000 and purchases are mainly happening in the second-hand housing market, “given that the supply of new build properties is very low and even more so in these areas”, said Redpiso.

In terms of the rental market, the average number of contracts increased by 35%, with the average spend on rent by Venezuelans amounting to €1,700 per month with three-year renewable contracts.

To explain the factors driving this growth, sources at Redpiso allude “to the mass arrival of Venezuelan immigrants who are coming to Spain due to the controversial socio-political situation in their country, as well as the limited and increasingly more expensive supply of rental homes in Madrid”.

Original story: La Vanguardia 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Development: House Sales Totaled €74bn in 2017

29 May 2018 – Idealista

The housing market in Spain is moving increasingly higher volumes of money, boosted by the improvement in the economy and the increase in prices in the real estate sector.

According to data from the Ministry of Development, last year, private home sales amounted to €73.849 billion, a figure that exceeds the amount recorded a year earlier by 21%, and which represents the highest volume since 2010 (when sales worth more than €80.6 billion were recorded). In fact, the number doubles the figure recorded in 2013, the ‘annus horribilis’ for the sector, when less than €38.1 billion was registered.

Those almost €74 billion were transacted through the completion of more than 532,000 real estate operations, a data that far exceeds the 458,000 sales registered in 2016 and the 300,500 in 2013.

The second-hand segment was the star of the sector (second-hand homes account for more than 80% of operations), whilst Madrid was the region that accounted for the greatest volume of house transactions (by sales value), followed by Cataluña

Original story: Idealista 

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: House Prices Will Rise by 6% in 2018

25 May 2018 – Expansión

Good omens for the Spanish residential market. After experiencing a serious setback five years ago, with a significant decline in demand and, as a consequence, a decrease in prices, the housing market is now well on the road to recovery, with a positive outlook for the year ahead. In this sense, for 2018, the predictions are optimistic, with an estimated increase of 6% in average house prices at the national level, according to data compiled by the real estate consultancy firm CBRE.

“We expect strong growth over the next six to twelve months, which will reach 6% compared to the current YoY rise of 5% and, then growth at a lower intensity from then on of between 3% and 5% for 2019”, says Álvaro Martín, Head of Research at CBRE.

This growth rate of 6% will be more acute in the large cities such as Madrid and Valencia, as well as in tourist towns such as Málaga and the Balearic Islands, where the YoY increases will reach up to 10%, according to the consultancy firm.

“In large cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, we have seen price tension but prices are still 50% lower than the average prices over the last ten years”, explains Samuel Población, National Director of Residential and Land at CBRE España. According to estimates from the consultancy firm, house prices in Madrid will increase by between 8% and 10% this year with respect to 2017.

Despite these price increases, the absolute values are still well below those seen during the real estate boom. In this way, although house prices have been rising at the national level since 2014, the intensity of that growth has been moderate, with YoY increases of around 5%. “In recent years, price rises of between 5% and 6% have been recorded, but during the boom, those figures reached 12%”, recalls Población.

Nevertheless, there are exceptions to that moderate rise: such as the case of towns like Madrid, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, where new build house prices have risen by 23%, 34% and 13%, respectively with respect to the historical minimums recorded at the beginning of 2014. Meanwhile, in the second-hand segment, the increases registered amount to 28% in Barcelona, 27% in Palma and 21% in Madrid (…).

Transactions

The price rises are being accompanied by an increase in demand, which, currently, is focused on those buyers who are looking for homes to reposition themselves or as investments.

“House sales have grown at a constant rate since 2015, but they have been very oriented towards the second-hand market, which accounted for 90% of transactions in 2017, due to the lack of supply in the new build segment and the absorption of much of the unsold stock”, says Población (…).

The consultancy firm predicts that demand for housing will continue to grow, with more than 575,000 transactions being closed in 2018, up by 8% compared to the previous year.

Of those operations, foreign buyers will retain an important role, above all, in the market for second homes. “The bulk of that demand is concentrated around five provinces, with established tourist infrastructure: Alicante, Málaga, Barcelona, the Balearic Islands and Tenerife, which accounted for more than half of the average annual volume of transactions by overseas citizens between 2006 and 2017”.

Another buyer cohort will be investors who buy properties to let them out, taking advantage of the growth in the rental market, which currently accounts for around 22.5% of the total stock of Spanish households. “The expansion of the rental market is attracting lots of investors, something that wasn’t happening ten years ago, given that they can now achieve returns of between 4% and 6% on average”, says Martín. By city, in Madrid, the average gross return amounts to 4.7% p.a., compared with 5.4% in Barcelona and 5.8% in Sevilla.

“If we also consider gains from the appreciation in property values, we see yields of up to 9% in the large cities”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Lack of Rental Homes Boosts House Purchases in Canary Islands

12 May 2018 – Canarias 7

During the first quarter of the year, 6,373 homes were sold in the Canary Islands, up by 20% compared to the same period a year earlier, and 8 percentage points higher than the national average. Every day between January and March, 70 homes were sold, 12 more per day than in 2017. Moreover, operations involving new build homes grew by more than those involving second-hand homes for the first time.

The lack of rental homes in the Canary Islands is boosting the volume of house sales in the archipelago above the national average. And that is because buying a flat is the only way of securing a home in certain areas of the archipelago, according to warnings from real estate experts.

Data published on Friday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE) confirm the trend in the Canary Islands’ real estate market. During the first quarter of the year, 6,373 homes were sold on the islands, which represented an increase of 20% with respect to the previous year. Every day between January and March, 70 homes were sold, 12 more per day than in 2017.

During Q1 2018, 1,001 more operations were closed in the Canary Islands than during the same quarter last year, according to the Statistics for the Transmission of Property Rights published by INE. At the national level, the increase was half that figure, 12%: between January and March, 128,348 homes were sold in Spain compared to 114,965 a year earlier.

In terms of the type of homes sold in the Canary Islands, for the first time since the outbreak of the crisis, the number of new home sales grew by more than the number of second-hand home sales. Operations involving new builds are fewer in absolute terms but they are growing more rapidly. Between January and March, 1,333 new homes were sold in the Canary Islands, up by 22% compared to the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile, 5,040 second-hand homes were sold, up by 17.8% compared to a year before, according to data from INE.

Price rises

House prices are going to rise by 5% on average this year, i.e. by almost twice the rate they grew by in 2017, according to forecasts from BBVA Research reflected in its magazine, the Real Estate Situation in Spain.

Similarly, the bank’s research department predicts that the volume of operations will reach 570,000 this year, up by 7% compared to 2017. In terms of new home permits, the forecast is that 93,000 will be signed by the end of the year, up by 15% compared to 2017.

In general, the potential demand for housing is expected to grow by between 1 and 1.4 million over the next 10 years, which translates into an annual average of between 95,000 and 135,000 households.

Original story: Canarias 7 (by Silvia Fernández)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: House Prices Rose by 5.4% in April

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

House prices are continuing to rise unabated. Finished home prices (new and second-hand) rose by 5.4% in April compared with the same month last year, driven by rises in the capitals and large cities, which saw price increases of 8.7% with respect to April 2017, according to Tinsa’s index.

On average, house prices have now risen by 10.3% since the minimum level reached at the beginning of 2015, although they are still 36.7% below the peak of the boom recorded in 2007. Prices along the Mediterranean Coast were the most severely hit during the crisis, given that they have recorded a cumulative decrease of 45.8% since their maximum level.

That region is followed by the cumulative decreases in prices in metropolitan areas (42.8%) and, despite having seen an 18.6% increase in their value since May 2015, prices in large capitals are still 36.6% below their 2007 levels.

The capitals and large cities are still continuing to perform the driving role in terms of the reactivation of the market, together with the metropolitan areas and the Balearic and Canary Islands, where prices have risen by 5.7% and 5.6%, respectively.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Are Spaniards “Condemned” to Buying Second-Hand Homes?

4 February 2018 – El Confidencial

Only 18% of the homes sold last year were new build properties. 

It is the dream of thousands of Spaniards: to buy their own home and, wherever possible, for that home to be brand new. Nevertheless, it is a dream that now, more than ever, only a lucky few are managing to realise. In 2017 – based on data for the 11 months to November from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) – more than 350,000 second-hand homes were sold in Spain – comprising second and subsequent sales for statistical purposes – compared with just 77,500 new homes – first sales -. In other words, the latter accounted for just 18% of the total number of transactions.

That has not always been the case. At the height of the crisis – between 2008 and 2013 – and as a consequence of the huge stock of unsold new homes that was generated during the real estate bubble, sales of both types of homes were pretty much the same. However, all indications are that new homes are going to continue to be a scarce product and only affordable for the lucky few, given that estimates for the property development sector as a whole indicate that activity is going to normalise at an output rate of around 150,000-200,000 units per year, a figure which the experts consider corresponds to the natural demand for housing, in other words, to the creation of new homes. These numbers come in stark contrast to the 850,000 new homes that were approved in 2006, the highest figure in the historical series.

To put it in context, 81,500 (new home) permits were granted last year, up by 27% compared to the previous 12 months, but still only half the number that property developers expected to reach and 10 times fewer than at the height of the boom.

Property developers dream of reaching those figures in the short term, nevertheless, some voices have already started to warn about the possibility that they may not be able to achieve it due, on the one hand, to a lack of land – plans and urban development projects have been suspended all over Spain, and in particular in markets with lots of demand for housing such as Madrid – but also, and above all, due to a lack of financing.

There will not be financing for 150,000 homes

That was stated publically this week by the President of Property Developers in Madrid (Asprima), Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado. “The problem is that the market is heading towards 150,000 homes per year, whilst bank financing looks set to provide for just 65,000 homes” (…)

Despite those storm clouds, if there does end up being enough money to go round, will people on the buy-side be able to afford the new homes? For months, real estate debates have been raging about the fact that the homes that are being built at the moment are not affordable for most buyers, which primarily constitute owners looking to reposition themselves – people who already own a home and who want to sell it to buy a better one -.

“The demand is not willing to assume future increases in house prices (…)”, said Ignacio Moreno, CEO of Inmoglacier just a year ago.

The lack of product for sale and the high costs of construction are being passed on in the final prices of homes and also in the prices of land. And all indications are that the rising spiral is set to continue and may even intensify. “Land prices are going to continue to rise, following in the footsteps of housing but multiplied by three. In other words, if house prices go up by 5%, land prices will rise by 15%”, calculates Mikel Echavarren, CEO at Irea.

Price gap

In this way, according to data from INE, during the third quarter of 2017,  the prices of both new build and second-hand homes rose by 7%. And it is the very lack of new build product that is inevitably pushing up prices. But that same shortage is also forcing demand towards the second-hand market, which is also pushing prices up, although, at the national level, the price gap between second-hand and new build homes has been increasing in favour of the latter (…).

Nevertheless, the price per square metre of a new build home is not always more expensive than a second-hand property. El Confidencial has compared the prices per square metre of new build homes in several districts of Madrid and Barcelona, as reported by Socieded de Tasación at the end of 2017, with the prices of second-hand homes, according to the real estate portal Fotocasa, and found that in some cases second-hand homes are more expensive.

How is that possible? The real estate portals show asking prices – not the prices at which operations are actually closed. According to a recent study performed by this real estate portal, in the last year, 71% of buyers obtained an average reduction (on the asking price) of €14,000, a figure that in the majority of cases represented a discount of 10% on the initial sales price (…).

On the other hand, for statistical purposes, when we talk about second-hand housing, we are not always taking into account the age of the property, but rather the number of times that the home has changed hands. Many developments in the hands of the banks are considered second-hand because there has already been a prior transaction involving that property – from the bankrupt property developer to the bank, for example – This means that when such a home is sold it is considered as a second-hand property, even though it may never have actually been lived in. And the prices of those units tend to be higher than those of homes that are several years old (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Sales Soared by 23% in January

15 March 2018 – Expansión

The real estate sector is aiming high in 2018 off the back of the economic recovery. Having surpassed the barrier of half a million homes sold in 2017 and whereby made a return to pre-crisis levels, in January, house sales soared by 23% YoY, to reach 47,289 units. It is the best data for a decade, since May 2008, according to the latest data published by INE. That, combined with the 4.5% recovery in prices in February, as estimated by Tinsa’s price index, indicates that the time is ripe for consolidation in the sector. “The consolidation of credit, the improvement in the economic context and the strong outlook for the sector and the economy, in general, explain this reactivation in demand for housing”, explains the Head of Research at Fotocasa, Beatriz Toribio. With respect to December, sales in January soared by 46.8%.

Forecasts for the real estate sector point to increases of 5% in terms of prices and 10% in terms of sales, in line with the forecast evolution of the Spanish economy. Even so, the number of operations recorded is still well below the more than 100,000 homes sold per month in the years prior to 2008, when the real estate bubble burst. Prices have also continued to recover, and whilst in the centre of some cities, they have now recouped their losses, there are still many areas of the country where house prices today are 65% lower than they were in 2007.

On the one hand, the large capitals and coastal areas are leading the increases in prices, boosted by interest from investors, the tourist boom and a shortage of stock and of new homes. In fact, the overheating of prices in many areas is leading to a displacement of demand towards less central areas of those cities.

In terms of sales, the 23% increase is backed by double-digit growth in 13 autonomous regions. Asturias, the Community of Valencia and Murcia lead the rises, with increases of 56%, 40% and 39%, respectively. Nevertheless, only Valencia remained in the top 3 in absolute terms. That community was, after Andalucía, the one where most house sales were recorded in January (7,409 units). Andalucía was the area where most homes were sold, 8,988 units, up by 31% compared to January 2017. The third region on the podium was Cataluña, which recorded 7,334 sales, although at a rate that was well below the average, of 8%. In this regard, Toribio said that although “the political situation may have slowed down activity in the Catalan real estate market, it has not paralysed it completely”.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, 6,526 homes were sold, up by 14%. Together with Cataluña, La Rioja, Aragón and Extremadura recorded the lowest increases in transaction numbers, up by 8%, 5% and 1%, respectively. The geographical differences expand further as you zoom out of the photo. By province, Álava grew by the most (56.5%) and several provinces saw their sales figures fall. Specifically, in Ciudad Real sales decreased by -19.4%, in Zamora by -10.3% and in Badajoz by -7.4%.

The composition of that growth was also uneven by segment, with a clear predominance in terms of second-hand housing. Of the total number of transactions, just 8,272 were new homes, compared to 42,745 second-hand properties, in other words, 17.5% of the assets sold were new and 82.5% were second-hand. Nevertheless, both segments are evolving in parallel, with growth of 23.5% for new homes and of 23% in the case of second-hand dwellings.

Original story: Expansión (by I. Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Luxury Home Sales Soared in Marbella, Ibiza & Valencia in 2017

8 March 2018 – Eje Prime

Although the focus in the residential market tends to be on Madrid and Barcelona for almost all indicators, Marbella, Ibiza and Valencia are emerging as the leaders of the luxury home segment in Spain. The offer of sun and beaches along the Mediterranean Coast, accompanied by the economic recovery across the country, attracted lots of big shot investors in 2017, who purchased more homes at higher prices.

Along the Coast del Sol, where the exclusive Marbella resort stands out, the luxury residential market grew by 28% during the first half of last year. In total, 160 luxury home sales were recorded during the first two quarters of the year, up from the 125 transactions signed during the same period in 2016.

Moreover, the value of those homes in the area multiplied by almost five times during the year. The percentage of international investors in prime residential properties along the Málaga coast reached 31% during the fourth quarter of 2017, according to data collected by Lucas Fox for its report about luxury housing.

Estepona and the coast of Mijas are tipped as the two areas to watch this year since they will see the most new build projects (…).

Meanwhile, in Ibiza, the lack of residential stock and the high permanent demand that has existed on the island for several years, caused prime house prices to rise to €5,165/m2 on average in 2017, up by 51% compared to 2016.

Similarly, the volume of sales in the Balearic Islands rose by 10% last year, with a total of 215 transactions. Of its many highlights, “the interior of the island is a ‘love at first sight’ place for many overseas buyers”, says Rod Jamieson, Commercial Director at the real estate agency. Areas such as the town of Santa Gertrudis “are a magnet for artists and writers”, states the executive.

Making a beeline from the Balearic Islands to the peninsula, Valencia is also taking advantage of the recovery in the luxury residential market in Spain. Sales of high-end properties grew by 85% according to data from Lucas Fox, with an increase in the sales value of 72% (…).

A hopeful outlook for 2018 

For 2018, forecasts in the sector indicate that more luxury homes are going to continue to be sold with a value that will also record increases. Juan Luis Herrero, Partner at Lucas Fox in Valencia, highlights that in the city “confidence in the real estate market is going to continue to grow”. In his region, “there is going to be more movement in the market for new build developments, both in Valencia as well as on the outskirts, and international buyers are going to continue to play a very important role in the market, especially in areas such as Eixample, Ciutat Vella, Alameda, Ciencias and Patacona” (…).

Meanwhile, Jamieson points out that “the official data indicates that the market has recovered from the crash of 2008, and in some areas, the number of transactions is reaching similar levels to those seen before the crisis” (…).

Along with Valencia, another province that is aspiring to grow significantly over the next few months and years is Girona. “We believe that 2018 is going to be a decisive year for new build developments along the Costa Brava”, says Tom Maidment, Partner at Lucas Fox. “In 2017, the province of Girona saw a YoY increase of 25% in the sale of new building developments, and we expect that this figure will increase considerably over the next two years (…)”.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Solvia: Buy-to-Let Returns Reach 11% in Alicante

3 March 2018 – El Mundo

If you want to generate some decent returns from your savings and are thinking about getting into the world of real estate, to buy a home and let it out, then the best options in Alicante can be found in the neighbourhoods of Carolinas Altas and Bon Repós, where rental yields currently exceed 11%. The lowest returns are being recorded in the centre and in the old town, with 5.8% and 5.6%, respectively. That is according to the report Solvia Market Overview: Alicante, the forecast for 2018, prepared by Solvia, the real estate arm of Banco Sabadell.

The analysis indicates that in the local rental market “prices are rising at a faster rate than sales prices, taking the average rent to €614/month, up by 9.6% compared to one year ago”. Tenants paid €6.6/m2/month. The stock of rental homes has increased to 3,297 units, up by 0.5% compared to the previous quarter. The average return on a rental property in Alicante amounts to 6%, which significantly exceeds the returns generated by other conservative investment options such as bank deposits and treasury bonds, whose yields are in tatters. The average return on rental properties across Spain is 6.1%.

The most expensive rental prices are located in the centre of the city: €8.65/m2/month, which means that for a 90m2 home, the monthly rent amounts to around €778 on average. Playa de San Juan is the second most expensive location, at €8.61/m2/month, which corresponds to an average monthly rent of €774.

The most affordable areas are La Florida Alta and Florida Baja, with rents of €5.64/m2/month and €6.23/m2/month, respectively. Moreover, the most profitable neighbourhood for a landlord to rent out a flat is Carolinas Altas. The €560 that can be obtained for the rent on average, taking into account the sales prices in the area at the moment (around €60,000 per property on average) allow for the generation of a return of 11.2%; that is much higher than, for example, the dividend yield of any company listed on the Ibex.

Upwards trend

In its report, Solvia highlights that the forecast for 2018 is that house prices “are going to continue to rise in the city, with an expected increase of 5.3%, slightly below the 6.1% that is forecast for the whole of Spain”.

Property prices in Alicante recorded a YoY increase of 4.1% at the end of 2017 to reach €1,258/m2, above the national average. Specifically, second-hand properties reached a sales price of €1,207/m2, whilst new build homes cost €1,653/m2. “The amount per square metre is still considerably lower than the highest peak, reached in 2007 in the case of second-hand homes (€1,765/m2) and in 2008 in the case of new build properties (€2,041/m2). The most expensive areas are in the centre (€2,250/m2), the old town (€2,126/m2) and Playa de San Juan, where prices have soared by 9.7% over the last year.

Original story: El Mundo (by F. D. G.)

Translation: Carmel Drake