INE: House Sales Rose By 14% In 2016 To 403,866

13 February 2017 – Expansión

On Friday, official data from Spain’s National Institute for Statistics (INE) certified that 2016 was the year of recovery in the housing sector. In total, 403,866 homes were sold, up by 13.6% compared with 2015. It was the third consecutive year of growth following an increase of 11.5% in 2015 and 2.2% in 2014, and it was the first time since 2010 that the property market exceeded the psychological barrier of 400,000 operations. The cumulative increase in the number of house sales since the last year of the recession in the real estate sector now exceeds 30%.

18.7% of the homes sold and purchased in 2016 were new and 81.3% were second-hand. The number of operations involving new homes decreased by 1.7%, whilst the number involving second-hand home sales rose by 17.8%, with respect to 2015.

At this point, it is worth noting that the INE considers all homes aged over five years old as “second-hand” homes, even if no-one has ever lived in them, something which happens a lot with the stock held by the banks.

“Our expectations were fulfilled during the year, despite the turmoil created by the political uncertainty and other problems, which could have easily delayed the recovery. People buying and selling homes to reposition themselves on the property ladder have driven the boom”, said the Director of Research at, Manuel Gandarias.

More new builds in 2017

In any case, the hegemony of the second-hand market is a trend that may start to reverse this year: “During 2017, we will see new build homes gaining momentum and growing at a faster rate”, said Gandarias.

“House sales will continue growing at a good pace, but new builds will give us more positive data and if financing is maintained at its current levels, increasingly more people will be able to access mortgages”, said Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at Fotocasa.

The number of house sales grew in every autonomous region in 2016. The highest increases were recorded in the Balearic Islands (31%), Cataluña (20%), Extremadura (18.6%), Asturias (16%), Aragón (14.7%) and Cantabria (13.7%). The Community of Madrid registered an annual increase of 12.2%. Meanwhile, La Rioja (5.7%), Murcia (7.5%) and Galicia (7.7%) recorded lower increases with respect to 2015.

Based on the number of house sales registered, the autonomous regions with the highest number of sales per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016 were the Balearic Islands (1,521), the Community of Valencia (1,478) and the Canary Islands (1,196).

89.7% of homes sold in 2016 were free (unsubsidised) and 10.3% were social housing properties. The number of unsubsidised homes sold increased by 13.5% with respect to 2015 and the number of social housing properties rose by 14.5%, according to INE.

For Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at Idealista, the strong increase in 2016 is “an accolade to the normalisation of the sector, which despite the turmoil in the mortgage market, managed to sell 50,000 more homes”. “Over the next few months, we will see the sales statistics continue to rise, although it is possible that we will see growth rates moderate slightly, driven by higher mortgage rates”, he added. (…) .

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Fotocasa: Second-Hand House Prices Remain Stable In January

9 February 2017 – El Economista

Second-hand house prices remained stable during the first month of 2017, at €1,649/m2, compared with December 2016, according to data compiled by Fotocasa.

Specifically, the real estate portal said in a statement that this data shows “once again” that second-hand house prices are stabilising and are leaving the losses of recent years behind them.

Meanwhile, the Head of Research at Fotocasa, Beatriz Toribio, confirmed that the second-hand home segment is proving itself to be one of the “main engines” behind the reactivation that the real estate market is experiencing and that is being reflected in prices.

During January, the price of second-hand homes rose by 1.6%, to record four consecutive months of YoY increases of more than 1%.

According to Fotocasa, average house prices in Spain have recorded a cumulative decrease of 44.1% since their historical peak of €2,952/m2 in April 2007.

Currently, 12 autonomous regions have recorded decreases of more than 40% since their peaks of nine years ago. The regions that have seen the highest price decreases are: La Rioja (-58.1%), Aragón (-53.1%), Navarra (-52.8%) and Castilla-La Mancha (-52.6%).

In January, the average price of a second-hand home rose in seven autonomous regions, namely in: Extremadura (+1.3%), Castilla-La Mancha (+0.9%), Navarra and the Canary Islands (+0.4%), Castilla y León and País Vasco (+0.3%) and Cataluña (+0.2%).

By contrast, Murcia (-2.2%) was the region where house prices decreased by the most, followed by Aragón (-0.9%), Madrid and the Balearic Islands (-0.6%), Galicia (-0.5%), Cantabria (-0.4%) and La Rioja, Asturias and Andalucía, where prices decreased by -0.1%.

The most expensive autonomous region was still País Vasco, at €2,706/m2, followed by Madrid (€2,241/m2) and Cataluña (€2,095/m2), whilst the cheapest regions were Castilla-La Mancha (€1,048/m2), Extremadura (€1,105/m2) and Murcia (€1,120/m2).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

BNP: Inv’t In Logistics Assets Reached €662M In 2015

8 June 2016 – Mis Naves

According to the real estate consultancy firm, BNP Paribas, “2015 was an exceptional year” for the logistics sector in Spain, with total investment amounting to €662 million, whereby exceeding the figure recorded in the previous year to register the highest investment volume in the last eleven years.

The data available for 2016, corresponding to the first quarter, confirms this rising trend, with total investment exceeding €320 million between January and March 2016 – this figure essentially relates to three large portfolios: Metrovacesa, Zaphir and Prologis.

For the analysts at BNP Paribas Real Estate, the good performance of consumption and industrial output, which began three years ago, has continued to boost the logistics market in 2015 and so far in 2016. Moreover, the shortage of high quality products has led to a slight increase in income and above all, to a stabilisation of prices. Thanks to the availability of land, new developments may go on the market at these rental prices. For this reason, the consultancy considers that 2016 offers good opportunities for buying and selling logistics assets.

It is worth highlighting two key milestones that are shaping the evolution of the logistics real estate sector and boosting the strong outlook for this sector.

On the one hand, 2014 and 2015 were the years when the highest ever investments were made in logistics warehouses. More than 50% of the high quality logistics warehouses changed hands during that period. The market saw a generational change in owners, with the disappearance of some and the appearance of others. The latter group includes international investors, which have been positioning themselves in the market, including several specialists, such as Prologis, which have strengthened their positioning; and the Socimis, which have secured capital overseas and invested it in this segment to create significant portfolios of logistics warehouses. During the first quarter of 2016, the main Socimis and funds interested in logistics assets invested around €320 million.

On the other hand, consumer habits have changed with the crisis, which has led to a very significant increase in the volume of purchases made online, to the detriment of in-store shopping. In this vein, e-commerce is growing at an average rate of 20% p.a.. To the extent that the volume of purchases made online increases, so too does demand for logistics spaces designed to provide support for these types of businesses. In 2015, around 17,000 sqm of logistics space was leased for e-commerce use. Even so, in Spain, online shopping accounts for just 3% of overall consumption, which reflects the potential for growth in the country, above all if we compare it with other markets such as Germany and the UK, where e-commerce accounts for 10% and 13.5% of all shopping, respectively. (…).

During 2016, consumption is expected to continue to grow with the same energy, along with the leasing of logistics space. Income will continue to increase and yields will continue to decrease due to the shortage of high quality logistics products. The e-commerce business will grow and so too will demand for cross-docking and XXL warehouses. The main Socimis and funds will continue to expand their portfolios with logistics assets. (…).

Original story: Mis Naves

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: Holiday Home Prices Rises Spread Along The Coast

15 June 2016 – El Mundo

Holiday home price increases have spread to more than twice the number of municipalities that they were seen in last year, with the Costa del Sol, Alicante, Balearic and Canary Islands enjoying the most active markets. Meanwhile, Castellón, the Cantabrian coast, Menorca and La Palma are still seeing price decreases/stabilisation. Those are the findings of the Coastal Homes 2016 report prepared by Tinsa, which shows that prices increased in 71 of the 136 municipalities analysed along the coast during Q1 2016, compared with 35 in 2015 and 4 in 2014.

The appraisal company explained that although this trend, “which is more in line with a stabilisation phase than a clear recovery” is spreading “gradually”, the coastal market is still “very heterogeneous”, given that prices in certain locations are still decreasing at an annual rate of more than 5%. The company added that the most repeated pattern is the absence of construction as well as of transactions involving land. (…).

By municipality, the towns of Teguise and Tías, in Lanzarote, recorded the highest YoY price rises during the first quarter, with increases of 17.8% and 14%, respectively, according to provisional data from Tinsa’s appraisals. They were followed by Gavà (Barcelona) and Benicarló (Castellón), both of which saw an increase of 13.2%, and Blanes (Gerona), where prices rose by 12.8%, with respect to Q1 2015.

The largest decreases were recorded in Piélagos (Cantabria), where the average price fell by 16% over the last 12 months; Antigua (Fuerteventura), down by 12.6%; and Los Alcázares (Murcia), with a decrease of 10.6%.

Price decreases of more than 50%

Similarly, the report shows that the Spanish coast accounted for a large majority of the highest price decreases during the crisis. Of the municipalities analysed, the most intense reduction since 2007 was recorded in Mataró (Barcelona), where the average price has decreased by 59.8% since the height of the boom. (…).

Stable outlook

Tinsa’s forecast for the next few months is characterised by stabilisation. Tinsa expects prices to remain stable in just over half of the regions analysed in its report and for prices to rise in just over a third of the areas. This forecast for improving prices focuses primarily along the coast of Valencia Alicante, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Canary Islands and San Sebastián, as well as along some stretches of the coast in Gerona, Barcelona, Cádiz and Asturias.

In terms of the supply of holiday homes, the report notes that it mostly comprises second-hand properties. The stock generated in recent years as a result of the slowdown in financing and sales is gradually being absorbed.

Moreover, Tinsa’s technical network classifies the over-supply of holiday homes as “very abundant” in just 8 of the 55 regions. These include the northern coast of Castellón; the Manga del Mar Menor; the west of Almería; the south of Barcelona; the central stretch of the Tarragona coast; the western region of Cádiz and the eastern coast of Vizcaya.

To evaluate the degree of difficulty in terms of stock absorption, Tinsa concludes that the current stock is “manageable in the short term” in 56% of the regions. This group includes the coasts of the provinces of Girona, Valencia, Huelva, Granada and San Sebastián, as well as Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, and most of the provinces of Alicante, Murcia and Cádiz. (…).

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

The RE Sector Attracts Overseas Investors Once More

12 April 2016 – Cinco Días

(…) Overseas capital is focusing on the property market once again. And Spain is one of the main European markets for offices, hotels and logistics. Madrid and Barcelona are leading the charge and the Socimis at the forefront of the revitalisation of the market. (…)

According to data from the Foreign Investment Register, published by the Ministry of Finance, the construction sector and real estate-related activities secured almost €7,700 million of direct foreign investment in 2015, i.e. 34.5% of the total. As such, one out of every three euros of international funds received by the Spanish economy last year was invested in the property sector.

Productive foreign investment (that which generates activity and employment) grew for the third consecutive year, to close 2015 with an increase of 11%, to €21,724 million. Of that amount, €4,706 million, i.e. 21.7%, was allocated to the construction of residential buildings and property development, compared with €1,762 million in 2014….Meanwhile, real estate-related activities (sales, purchases and rentals) accounted for 13.8% of the total, i.e. €2,992 million. (…).

In the context of this new activity, the Socimis have emerged as the main supporters of the market. The large Socimis experienced a real boom in 2015, when they flooded the MAB with their stock exchange debuts and came close to tripling their profits, which rose from €89.5 million in 2014 to €251.2 million last year, according to data from the CNMV.

Within the last year, the four largest Socimis (Merlin Properties – which has been listed on the Ibex 35 since December -, Hispania – thanks to its partnership with Barceló -, Lar España and Axiare Patrimonio) have doubled the value of the properties they own, to more than €9,200 million in total. (…).

The Socimis accounted for 41% of all funds invested in the purchase of real estate assets in 2015 – they spent €5,237 million on asset transactions. In this way, the increase in the volume of their investments amounted to 129%, in particular due to Merlin’s purchase of Testa for almost €1,800 million.

Wealthy individuals and several international funds have invested fully in these investment vehicles, attracted by the low prices in the sector and the tax advantages on offer (Socimis are exempt from paying corporation tax). The Qatar sovereign fund is trying to become the largest shareholder in Colonial; it now owns almost 30% of the Catalan real estate company.

George Soros has strengthened his commitment to Hispania, in which the millionaire John Paulson holds a stake of almost 10%. Carlos Slim controls Realia…Amancio Ortega, with his investment arm Pontegadea, now manages a very interesting and diverse asset portfolio.

The experts agree that the sector has left behind the turbulent times that it experienced following the burst of the real estate bubble. It is undergoing a period of normalisation and stabilisation – albeit a long way from its pre-crisis levels – and it is facing a new environment, with sustainable growth, in a market that is more mature and more professional.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Pablo Pico)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Development: House Sales Rose By 9.8% In 2015

11 March 2016 – Expansión

Residential property sales closed 2015 with growth of 9.8%. According to statistics from the Ministry of Development, which are based on operations closed in the presence of a notary, 401,281 homes were sold during the year, the highest figure since 2010. The real estate market whereby strengthened its journey towards normalisation. Overcoming the barrier of 400,000 transactions (per year) was an important step in the right direction. Experts believe that the cruising speed (in terms of sales volumes) may exceed 500,000 sales per year.

Nevertheless, the housing recovery is not uniform. In some autonomous regions, the market grew by more than 10% – the Balearic Islands, País Vasco, Cantabria, Murcia and Aragón recorded annual increases of 17.4%, 17%, 16.6%, 16.3% and 14.3%, respectively – whilst in others, there was barely any growth – Extremadura (0.7%), La Rioja (2.5%), Navarra (2.5%) -. And in Castilla-La Mancha, sales continued to fall (-0.8%).

In addition, it is worth noting that sales fell by 2.9% in January, according to INE (which reflects data from two months ago, in other words from November). In any case, the important thing is the trend, and that is rising, towards stabilisation.

“Growth of almost 10% in terms of the number of operations is good news for the market, which confirms that 2015 was the year of normalisation in many parts of Spain”, says Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at Idealista. “Nevertheless, we expected more transactions and the quarterly data indicated that the figure would comfortably exceed 400,000”, he added.

What happened? Well, “in the fourth quarter, there was a slowdown in purchases, probably due to the pre-election period and uncertainty over the formation of the new Government”. In fact, the results of the statistics about residential property transactions signed in the presence of a notary in the fourth quarter of 2015 show that only 114,598 homes were sold in Spain. The last time more homes were sold in the fourth quarter was in 2010 (150,494). Although, the data for Q4 2015 represented an increase of 2.4% compared with the fourth quarter of 2014, so it is not that clear whether the political uncertainty really did curb sales. We will have to wait and see before we reach that conclusion.

By province, the greatest increases in sales in 2015 occurred in Segovia (28.5%), Vizcaya (24.8%), Cádiz (21.4%), Baleares (17.4%), Cantabria (16.6%), Murcia (16.3%), Valencia (14.8%) and Zaragoza (14.8%).

The provinces with the highest decreases in sales were Ciudad Real (-9.5%), Guadalajara (-7.5%), Ávila (-4.9%), Cáceres (-4.8%) and Salamanca, with a drop of 4.2%.

Of the large municipalities, the following increases stand out: Segovia (75.6%), Bilbao (45.4%), Huesca (35.3%), Huelva (29.5%), Badalona (29.1%), Santa Coloma de Gramanet (27.8%) and Leganés (26.6%).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Outlook 2016: The Housing Market

11 January 2016 – El Mundo

(….) Gonzalo Bernardos, Economist and Director of the Real Estate Masters at the University of Barcelona; José García Montalvo, Professor of Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University; Julio Gil, President of the Real Estate Research Foundation (FEI); and José Luis Ruiz Bartolomé, partner at Certus Capital; outline their predictions for the residential market in 2016. In general terms, all of them consider that the improvement that began in 2015 will strengthen in 2016… political uncertainty permitting.

Increasing prices

All of the experts agree that house prices will rise this year. But they differ in terms of their view regarding the size of this increase. Bernardos is the most optimistic and talks about a “splendid year” with an average price rise of 12%. (…).

Ruiz Bartolomé is more conservative. He expects the annual increase to amount to around 3%-5% in 2016 – “the year of consolidation” – and warns that there are “regions that will not begin to recover until 2017”. For García Montalvo, “in Madrid, Barcelona, the coast of Málaga and a few other areas, prices may rise by between 5% and 10%, whilst on aggregate they will continue to be stable with small variations”, he says. “Nevertheless”, he warns, “there are significant political risks that could have a substantial impact in the market”.

More accessible credit

Access to mortgages will continue to relax in 2016, according to most of the analysts, but their view vary regarding the intensity. For Ruiz Bartolomé, demand for credit will be prudent, whilst for Bernardos, it will be more decisive. “Banks are going to pursue clients”, says the latter, who calculates that 30% more mortgages will be signed this year. (…).

Bernardos even says that financial institutions will grant almost 100% of the appraisal value of homes to those individuals who earn more than €4,000/month. In terms of the cost of credit, they praise low interest rates – and expect Euribor to enter negative territory within a year. Gil also expects that credit will continue to flow and hopes that it will be limited to solvent demand. At the same time, he highlights that “we are living in the best financial situation in terms of interest rates to buy a home”. He does not expect these circumstances to extend beyond 2016, once rates in the USA begin to rise in earnest.

More younger buyers?

(…) In terms of the profile of buyers, Bernardos is clear: “Almost everyone who has a job will be able to afford to buy a house, provided they have some savings – around €20,000”. The economist refers to those households with monthly incomes of €1,800 (young couples with salaries of €900 each) and points out that he is talking about homes worth between €100,000 and €150,000 – “the best sellers”. He expects house purchases to increase by 20%, to reach 490,000 operations per year.

Despite the aforementioned “relaxation” in terms of credit, García Montalvo does not expect that young people will be able to return to the market, at least in the short term, due to the high rate of youth unemployment, the predominance of precarious (employment) contracts and low salaries. Gil shares this view. (…).

More powerful sellers

After years at the mercy of demand, sellers are going to gain strength once again. “They will regain their bargaining power, primarily, in the cities. If they set reasonable prices, they will not have to offer discounts”, says Bernardos. “As demand increases, so too does the power of sellers. In 2016, the situation of sellers will improve in general”, agrees Ruiz Bartolomé. (…).

According to Bernardos, property developers will increase their prices. “Property developers (with projects) in good areas will increase prices three times between the project launch and project completion”.

New builds will increase

(…) “Whilst in 2015, permits were processed for 65,000 new homes, in 2016, we expect that figure to increase to 100,000 units. The best sign of the recovery is that in 2015, property developers bought a lot of land in the large cities, as well as in the suburbs”, says Bernardos.

Ruiz Bartolomé thinks that residential developments will grow even further because “dozens of investors and property developers are looking for operations”. He also warns about the shortage of good quality land. (…).

Turning point for the rental market

With the tailwind supporting the market to buy, 2016 will represent a turning point for the rental market, according to the experts. Following its meteoric rise in recent times, the rental system will now stabilise. “The proportion of homes being rented will start to stabilise”, says García Montalvo, who is in no doubt that “the rental market will strengthen as the main way towards emancipation, just like in other countries that are developing in a similar way to Spain”.

“In general, Spaniards still prefer to buy rather than rent if they can afford to”, says Ruiz Bartolomé. Having said that, he clarifies that “there is still rental demand from those who cannot afford to buy and also from young people with a new vision of housing as a necessary cost that must be covered rather than as an investment or status symbol. (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Jorge Salido Cobo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Club Noteges Predicts House Price Stabilisation In 2016

11 January 2016 – ABC

House prices rose by 5.42% in 2015 following three years of sharp decreases, according to actual sales data compiled by Club Noteges, the leading national industry trade association, which comprises 135 companies.

Despite the positive trend in 2015, Club Noteges notes that the difference between asking prices and offer prices amounted to 32% at the national level, and was as high as 46% in some areas of Spain.

In this way, the autonomous regions that recorded the smallest gap in terms of (asking/offer) prices during the year were País Vasco and Madrid with a difference of 20%; and Navarra with a difference of 21%. They were followed by Extremadura with a difference of 30%; Cataluña with 32%; Castilla y León with 33%; Andalucía with 34%; the Canary Islands with 36%; and Cantabria, Murcia and Galicia with 37%.

The regions with the largest gap in prices were Castilla-La Mancha with 43%, Valencia with 45% and the Balearic Islands, which led the ranking with 46%. The most significant price decreases in recent years were seen in 2012 and 2013, when prices fell by 15.30% and 14.38%, respectively. They were followed by a slight decrease of 2.31% in 2014 and an increase of 5.42% in 2015.

According to Club Noteges, the highest average sales price this year was recorded in Madrid at €196,749 and the lowest was recorded in Castilla-La Mancha at €69,976. Similarly, the average discount that owners have had to accept to complete sales was the highest in the Balearic Islands, with a reduction of €87,103 on the initial price and the lowest was in País Vasco, with a discount of €36,449.

The actual sales data corresponding to the 3,054 homes that Club Noteges sold in 2015 for more than €384million, show that two spikes were observed during the year; they coincided with the regional and municipal elections in the Spring and with the Catalan and general elections in the Autumn.

Price stabilisation

In this way, the data confirms that the two spikes recorded in 2015 were caused by “electoral expectations in the Spring and Autumn rather than by structural changes in the market, which returned to its original position following the election periods”, explains the CEO of Club Noteges, José Luis Jimeno.

After the first round of elections, prices returned to the path of stabilisation that we have observed since 2013 and according to Club Noteges, all of the data “shows very similar forecasts for 2016, when house prices will once again stabillise following the general elections”.

For Jimeno, “the stabilisation of house prices will continue for at least another decade, due to the lack of demand and the excess stock generated following the explosion of the real estate bubble in 2007”.

Club Noteges brings together 610 real estate agents from 135 associate companies with 165 offices throughout Spain; some of the companies also have a presence in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Panama. The trade association currently leads the country’s real estate sector with a sales rate that is 248% higher than the sector average.

Original story: ABC

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid & Barcelona: Drivers Of The Housing Mini-Boom

4 January 2016 – Expansión

The housing market is now in full recovery mode, driven by the improving labour market and access to credit. House prices rose by 1% in 2015, which represented the first year of positive growth following seven years of decreases. Specifically, the average price per square metre increased by 1% between Q4 2015 and the same period a year earlier, according to Tinsa’s Local Markets Index. This put an end to the decreases seen following the burst of the real estate bubble during which time house prices decreased by 40.7%, compared with their levels in 2007.

According to Tinsa’s report, this 1% increase was driven by a miniboom in the large urban markets of Barcelona and Madrid, which accounted for the majority of the overall upward swing, together with other smaller cities such as Badajoz and Ávila. Thus, the Catalan capital recorded a 8.7% increase, whilst prices in Madrid rose by 3.8%. Significant increases were also registered in Badajoz (5.7%), Ávila (4.3%), Ciudad Real and Cuenca (3.3% in both cases) and Palma de Mallorca (2.2%).

According to the experts, several factors have led to the relatively sharp rise in house prices in these areas, such as the decrease in the volume of stock and the increase in demand. On the other hand, these areas have fewer remaining unsold homes, which means that demand is pushing prices up much more quickly. Unsurprisingly, Madrid is one of the most liquid markets in Spain, according to Tinsa, since it only takes 7.2 months, on average, to sell a home in the province, compared with 10.2 months for Spain as a whole. In addition, Madrid and Barcelona are both highly attractive areas, with demand from overseas savers and other citizens moving from the rest of Spain and overseas to work in the two cities.

Both areas have also seen a marked adjustment in terms of prices in recent years. In 2007, locals in Barcelona used to have to spend 36% of their average incomes on mortgage repayments, making it one of the most expensive cities in Spain; now, they have to contribute just 22% of their salaries, in line with the national average. In Madrid, that figure is one point lower (at 21%) and it only takes 5.3 years of salary to acquire an average home there, compared with 5.9 years for Spain as a whole.

Nevertheless, this is not the case in all of Spain’s large capital cities. Valencia recorded timid growth of 0.6% in 2015, whilst prices in Sevilla fell by 0.3%. The decreases amounted to 1.6% in the case of Bilbao, to 4% in Zaragoza and 6.7% in Murcia, still heavily affected by the surplus stock.

The striking variations between Spain’s major capitals is also reflected by the marked differences that exist between the different types of market in Spain, given that the majority of the country is still experiencing price decreases, or at best, price stability. That is one of the reasons why Tinsa prefers to talk about “a trend towards price stabilisation, which will be consolidated over the coming year”, rather than a general upturn in prices. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RE In 2016: The Experts Are Cautiously Optimistic

31 December 2015 – El Economista

Experts in the real estate sector continue to talk about the improvement experienced in the market in 2015 with caution; and they consider that 2016 will be the year of stabilisation following almost a decade of severe crisis. But, above all, the experts believe that we will see new homes being constructed once again next year.

That is according to the statistics published by the Ministry of Development for construction permits (…).

Given that it takes around 18 months for a new development to be constructed, in 2016 we can expect to see the inauguration of properties for which permits were granted at the end of 2014 and during 2015.

In this way, the President of the Spain’s Property Developers’ Association (APCE), Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, believes that investment funds and Socimis will both continue to be key players in 2016, although he says that the role of “property developers will become increasingly important and we will probably see (more) joint operations between these players”.

Such operations are already taking place in certain areas where new build properties are scarce, with investors approaching traditional property developers to leverage their experience in the sector in exchange for providing financial muscle. (…).

Other forecasts for next year

With this outlook, Beatriz Toribio, Head of Research at expects to see a YoY increase in the price of second-hand housing in 2016, for the first time in eight years, as well as a lower rate of growth in terms of sales volumes, not because of a decrease in activity, but because the comparison will be made against figures from 2015, which will not have the same “step effect” that we have seen in 2015, with respect to the 2014 figures. (…).

Stabilisation or recovery

Against this backdrop, the experts have differing opinions when it comes to naming the current situation in the real estate sector. Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, the Director General of Sociedad de Tasación, thinks that 2016 could be the year of “consolidation”, but warns that several uncertainties still exist in the market.

Beatriz Toribio also thinks that it is still too soon to be talking about recovery because at the moment, house sales represent just one third of the volumes recorded ten years ago”, and so she prefers to describe it as the “normalisation” of the sector.

The main challenges facing the sector

In terms of the main challenges facing the real estate sector in 2016, Toribio believes that the main one is having the capacity to construct homes that new buyers actually want to purchase, in terms of quality, design and energy saving features, at prices that they are willing to pay, as well as reducing the housing stock at the same time.

According to Fernández-Aceytuno, the sector needs to open the market up to the demand that has been building up during the crisis to drain the stock of unsold properties. Finally, APCE has said that the sector’s main task for 2016 is to cultivate “more transparency” and to improve its image.

Property developers want a Housing Minister

In any case, given the political uncertainty following the general elections on 20 December, property developers in Spain believe that “having a Secretary of State or Minister for Housing would be more than justified” given the sector’s weight in terms of GDP. (…).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake