Ministry Of Development: House Sales Return To 2008 Levels

9 June 2017 – El Mundo

After the storm always comes the calm. The same is true in the residential real estate market. During the first quarter of 2017, house sales returned to levels not seen since 2008. According to transaction statistics from the Ministry of Development, between January and March, 122,787 operations were completed, up by 18.5% compared to the same period in 2016. To find a higher figure during the first quarter of the year, we have to go back to 2008 (159,088).

Of the total number of operations, only 10,771 related to new builds, which accounted for 8.8% of the total. Meanwhile, second-hand properties (112,016) accounted for 91.2%. This data shows once again that the segment of second-hand homes is consolidating its position as the real driver of the market.

In term of protection regimes, the number of free (unsubsidised) house sales amounted to 117,477, accounting for 95.7% of the total. Meanwhile, social housing transactions amounted to 5,310 during the same period, up by 4.3%.

In terms of the data by autonomous region, increases in the number of house sales were recorded in every single one, with the exception of La Rioja, which recorded a decrease of -1.6%. The highest increases were observed in Aragón (53.5%), Asturias (32.5%), Cataluña (27.6%), Cantabria (26.6%) and Castilla-La Mancha (26.3%).

By municipality, the highest volume of transactions during the first quarter of 2017 was recorded in Madrid (9,674), Barcelona (4,657), Valencia (2,588), Sevilla (2,007), Zaragoza (1,799), Málaga (1,778), Palma de Mallorca (1,386) and Alicante (1,194).

Foreigners account for 16.8% of all purchases

In terms of the nationality of buyers, the number of transactions undertaken by foreign residents in Spain experienced a YoY increase for the 23rd consecutive quarter. Specifically, the number rose by 17.9% compared to the first quarter of 2016, totalling 19,805 sales. In total, the number of purchases made by foreigners (residents and non-residents) amounted to 20,593, in other words, 16.8% of the total.

By province, the most purchases by foreign residents were recorded in Alicante (4,539), Málaga (2,206), Barcelona (1,806), Madrid (1,581), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1,416) and Baleares (1,254).

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meliá Will Open 23 New Hotels In 2017

19 January 2017 – Cinco Días

The hotel chain Meliá plans to open at least 23 hotels this year as part of its expansion plans. Six will be opened in the Asia-Pacific region, with inaugurations planned in Vietnam, China and Indonesia.

The Vice-President and CEO of the group, Gabriel Escarrer, said that the company will continue the pace of signings and new openings this year, after several years during which it has opened between 20 and 30 hotels a year, which represents one new property every two or three weeks.

Six new hotels will be opened in Latin America and the Caribbean. They will include the Gran Meliá Nacional Río de Janeiro, which is looking to revolutionise the luxury hotel market in the Brazilian city and which will be open soon. In Europe, Meliá will also open another five hotels, three in Spain, whereby strengthening its commitment to major cities and urban destinations that are oriented towards leisure.

The group is also planning to open three hotels in the Middle East: one in Doha, one in the Maldives and the ME Dubai, which will open in December and which was designed by the architect Zaha Hadid. Meanwhile, in Africa, it will open another three establishments, in its first foray into the holiday segment, in Morocco, Cape Verde and Tanzania.

The company has also announced the signing of two new hotels, which will open in 2019. The first will represent Meliá’s debut in The Netherlands, with a 328-room property in Amsterdam. The second will be located in Terminal 3 of the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and is the result of the hotel chain’s agreement with the French group ADP, which manages the airports in the French capital.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Laura Salces Acebes)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: Mortgage Signings Rose By 15.9% In February

28 April 2016 – Expansión

The signing of new mortgages to purchase homes increased by 15.9% in February, up from the 10.6% increase recorded in January, but well below the rises seen in years gone by. In total, 24,887 mortgage contracts were signed, according to the provisional data published yesterday by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Experts in the sector point to a slight slowdown in the recovery, given that although the data is positive and growth remains in the double digits, it is significantly lower than the rate of growth recorded just a year ago, according to Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at the real estate portal

In the same vein, Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at, notes that we have seen a moderation in the growth of mortgage lending in Spain in January and February, and that this has come despite the broad and competitive range of mortgage products that the banks are offering. Nevertheless, Toribio points out that we have now seen 21 consecutive months of increases “and that tells us that mortgage lending is now normalising in our country”.

In her opinion, for the real estate sector to recover completely, the lending figure has to be consolidated because without financing, there will be no recovery.

Meanwhile, the Director of Research at, Manuel Gandarias is more optimistic. He thinks that “the annual variation will continue to grow in a significant way, and if it does so throughout the next quarter, then we will be talking about continuous growth in mortgage lending for two consecutive years”.

During 2015, and so far in 2016, the number of homes purchased using financing has grown stronger as a percentage of the number of total purchases to account for three out of every four acquisitions.

The value of mortgages constituted over homes in February amounted to €2,699.2 million, up by 14.4% compared with the same month in 2015 and by 9.7% compared with the previous month. This type of loan, for the acquisition of homes, accounted for 54.2% of the total in February. One of the main findings to emerge from INE’s data relates to the interest rates being applied to loans.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake