31 May 2018 – Eje Prime
The data is conclusive: ten cities account for 55% of the residential developments underway in Spain. They constitute a municipal land oligopoly, which is now showing signs of tension on the demand side given the lack of buildable land available for development and the delays by the public administrations when it comes to approving building permits. “The concentration of the population in the major cities is a phenomenon that is going to increase over the next few years”, predicts Sergio Gálvez, Director of Strategy and Investment at the property developer Aedas Homes in the context of the Madrid Real Estate Fair (SIMA) conference on land and its strategic market.
The executive of the listed Spanish company also explained that the delays in the granting of licences in certain cities are lasting for up to ten months. Gálvez regrets that “any delay suffered in the production chain clearly results in a higher sales price for the end client”.
The Director of Aedas, who believes that “the public administrations still have a long way to go in terms of the agility of the licence-granting process”, was accompanied at the roundtable by Ignacio Ocejo, Partner at Kronos Homes. The director of the Spanish property developer turned the spotlight onto financing: “the situation in the financial world has changed drastically with the new cycle; in the past, the supply could have been four times larger”.
Nevertheless, Ocejo was favourable of the fact that land financing is now “much more controlled” because capital can still be obtained under reasonable conditions. “I do not think that it is a problem, the banks themselves are being proactive when it comes to financing; the problem is more that there are fewer entities”, said the Director of Kronos.
Meanwhile, the Commercial Director of the appraisal firm Tinsa, Pedro Soria, seemed more concerned than his roundtable colleagues about land and its overheating (…) “In some places, we are already seeing price caps on land”, says Soria, “the only option left if we want to achieve the desired returns is to raise house prices”. In the event that land prices continue to rise, the Tinsa executive sees a “risk”, nevertheless, the market could be more profitable on the land investment side than when it comes to house building itself.
Spain is seeing an improvement in its new home permits once again, but the figures are still well below the more than 800,000 permits granted in the most active years of the boom in the 2000s. In this regard, Ocejo explains that “in a scenario of stability and compared with the previous cycle”, an increase in new builds at a rate of between 25% and 30% would be “positive”. “A healthy market for me would see the construction of between 130,000 and 160,000 new homes each year in Spain”, added the Partner of Kronos Homes.
Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)
Translation: Carmel Drake