INE: House Sales Grew By 16.8% In March

11 May 2016 – El País

House sales increased by 16.8% in March with respect to the same month in 2015, to reach 31,925 operations, according to statistics about the transfer of property rights published by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE). As such, sales recorded two consecutive months of YoY increases, as they also rose in February, by 15.8%. However, the number of transactions in March decreased with respect to the previous month, when 34,771 agreements were signed, and also deteriorated with respect to January (32,417).

Fernando Encinar, Head of Research at Idealista, explained that “the data shows that the normalisation of the market is a reality and seems to be strengthening, with the volume of house sales exceeding 30,000 units each month. However, we will have to wait and see what happens over the next few months, as this easing of the growth rate may indicate that we are approaching the natural sales figure for our sector”.

Once again, INE placed the focus on what it regards as second-hand homes, figures that include new unsold properties that have been on the market for more than two years. In this segment, the volume of transactions increased by 24.2% in YoY terms in March, to reach 25,765 operations, compared with a decline of 6.6% in the sale of new homes during the month, to 6,160 units. Overall, 19.3% of the homes that changed hands were new builds and 80.7% were second hand properties.

There was no variation in terms of the split between unsubsidised and subsidised homes. Just like last month, unsubsidised homes accounted for 89.2% of all sales, whilst the latter represented 10.8%. In annual terms, the number of unsubsidised homes sold rose by 16.5% and the number of subsidised homes sold increased by 18.9%.

The regions with the highest number of sales per 100,000 inhabitants were the Canary Islands (127) and the Balearic Islands (108). The regions that reported the highest YoY variations in terms of the number of house sales were the Canary Islands (52.7%) and Extremadura (34.6%). Meanwhile, La Rioja and Galicia (both with decreases of -3.1%) recorded negative annual growth rates.

Original story: El País (by Sandra López Letón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

New Home Shortage In Madrid Drives Up Prices

3 May 2016 – Capital Radio

“All of the new build projects being marketed at the moment are off-plan and those that are finished have already been sold. We do not have any more new build home stock left in Madrid”, said Carlos Smerdou, CEO of Foro Consultores. That was one of the conclusions to emerge from the Real Estate Investment debate about the present and future of new build homes, held on Thursday at Capital Radio. The recovery of the real estate market is a fact. “Certain cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona, started to run out of new build stock sooner, when demand exceeded supply, but that phenomenon has now spread to other cities such as Málaga, Alicante and Córdoba and the recovery is now evident across the country. (…)”, said Carlos Smerdou.

“The client profile has changed. Before we had investors looking to benefit from property price rises, but now investors are an end clients looking to upgrade to larger homes. One- and two-bedroom flats are no longer being built, instead we have three-, four- and five-bedroom homes. Buyers are now looking for quality, design, ecological projects and energy efficiency”, explained Javier Román, Commercial Director at Solvia.

“We are a cooperative manager and we have noticed that despite the political uncertainty, there is a lot of interest from people looking to buy a home. Young people have started to buy subsidised homes because the economic situation is allowing them to do so. It is clear that we have reached the lowest point of the house price cycle and in certain micro-markets, such as the one that we move in (subsidised housing), we are seeing a great deal of interest and we are even seeing price increases for unsubsidised homes”, said Juan Carlos Bartolomé, Real Estate Director at Víveme.

“During the boom, everything was sold, but now clients are more demanding and, as property developers, we have to focus on the clients’ preferences. We have to deliver a quality product, not only in terms of the materials, but also in terms of energy efficiency, which then generates savings for the buyer. Our plan is to end this year with 40 developments underway in Madrid, Andalucía, Costa del Sol, País Vasco and Cataluña”, confirmed Gabriel Sánchez, Business Director at Neinor Homes.

Industry experts are calling for a more efficient licence approval process from the Town Hall of Madrid. “We have a problem with the timeframes. The Town Hall of Madrid is taking too long to grant licences and is delaying lots of projects. That is wrong and it means that in the capital, there is already a shortage of new homes, which is leading to price rises”, explained Carlos Smerdou.

“It is undeniable that there is a problem in Madrid due to the delays in granting building permits, which in the best cases is taking six months. And that means that investors are afraid of starting a project that then gets paralysed”, said Juan Carlos Bartolomé.

“The delay by the Administration is widespread across the country, but there is more focus on Madrid and Barcelona because there are more projects there waiting to receive licences. (…)”.

Original story: Capital Radio (by Meli Torres)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: País Vasco & Aragón Led Rise In House Sales In June

7 August 2015 – Expansión

Recovery / The real estate sector consolidated its recovery in June, thanks to the second hand market. The Páis Vasco and Aragón were the regions that saw the highest increases in the number of house sales.

“If the current trend continues, 2015 will be the year that marks the before and after in the real estate sector”. The residential market is continuing to build on its stabilising trend, after seven years in decline.

Yesterday, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) confirmed that: house sales soared by 17% in June to record ten consecutive months of increases. According to Manuel Gandarias, Research Director at, if the trend continues, 2015 will signal the start of the recovery in the sector.

This increase, which is the largest since March 2014, is due to strong growth in the sales of second hand homes (27,947 transactions), which shot up by 44.5% YoY. By contrast, the sale of new homes (6,631) plummeted by 30.6% compared with the same month last year.

Experts say that the second hand market, which accounts for 80% of all sales, is the true barometer of the current health of the sector. They also explain that the data recorded in June relates to transactions signed in April and the beginning of May.

Thanks to this surge in the sale of second hand homes, increases have been observed across the whole of Spain, except for in Galicia, where sales decreased by 6.5%. The greatest increases were recorded in the País Vasco (40.5%), Aragón (35.3%) and the Canary Islands (31.8%), although the region with the highest number of sales per 100,000 inhabitants was Castilla y León (718), followed by Aragón (639) and La Rioja (605). At the other end of the spectrum, Asturias and Galicia were the regions with the least activity, recording just 46 sales each per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Castilla-La Mancha, with 53. In absolute terms, Andalucía led the market, recording 6,129 transactions in total, up by 13.9% from a year earlier.

Positive climate

Real estate experts believe that the positive sentiment in the residential market has now taken root and that the end of the crisis is near. (…).

According to Gandarias, “the granting of mortgages, which is fundamental for the increase in house sales, is flowing better than expected. Households have become less indebted and now have more (disposable) income”. In fact, according to INE, the signing of mortgages to purchase homes increased by 10.9% in May and has now recorded a whole year of consecutive increases. Moreover, residential prices increased by 1.8% in 2014 and by 1.5% during Q1 2015.

In monthly terms, house sales grew by 3.8%, the first increase in the month of June since the start of the crisis. Almost 90% of transactions related to unsubsidised homes, which increased by 16.4% (27,493 transactions). Sales of social housing properties grew by 22.8% (3,085).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet) 

Translation: Carmel Drake

High Court Repeals Andalucían Anti-Eviction Law

27 May 2015 – Expansión

The temporary expropriation by banks of homes in the process of eviction is unconstitutional. That was the ruling issued by the High Court (HC) following its in-depth analysis of the controversial decree law governing the Social Function of Housing, approved by the Government of Andalucía in June 2013, which was challenged by the Central Government.

Until the HC suspended this law, as a precautionary measure, 121 expropriation demands were filed, over a three-year period. The law was later reissued, although without any significant changes

According to the ruling, articles 1.3 and 53.1 of the regional law have been annulled. Previously, those articles imposed on the owner of houses “the duty to effectively use property for the residential purposes provided for by the law”, since the essential content of the rights of ownership pervade; an area “prohibited” for the decree law of the autonomous community. This law does not affect individuals.

For the same reason, the ruling issued by the HC declares the imposition of fines on financial entities that own uninhabited homes to be unconstitutional. To date, the Andalucían Government has imposed fines on various banks – including Popular for €5.8 million and BBVA for €1.6 million – for not putting empty subsidised (VPO) homes at the disposal of the municipal registries for claimants.

Encroachment of competencies

Alongside this ruling, the HC considers that the regional legislation deals with the state duties provided for by the Constitution, such as “coordinating the planning of economic activity”, whereby nullifying the second additional provision of the decree law “aimed at ensuring the right to adequate housing”.

The ruling also explains that “it constitutes a significant obstacle for the effectiveness of the measures taken by the central Government”, which issued legislation that provided for the possibility of suspending the introduction and promoting the creation of a social fund containing the properties owned by the entities to facilitate their lease to evicted persons.

In this sense, it is worth noting the agreement of disparate legal figures regarding the same reality – the suspension of the introduction of state legislation and the expropriation of the use under the regional legislation – “makes the joint application difficult”.

The HC also advises all of the regions that the State should determine “the extent of the public intervention” and indicate “certain guidelines in the mortgage market”, and should do so in such a way that “it is compatible with the proper functioning of that sector”.

As a result, this “prevents” the regions from “adopting provisions that affect this market in a more intense way”.

Original story: Expansión (by Lidia Velasco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Sales Accelerate Overall And Fall In 4 Regions Only

9 March 2015 – Cinco Días

The recovery in house sales is strengthening slowly, month after month, according to the statistics prepared by the National Institute for Statistics (INE) – refer to article published on Friday for high level data. (….).

(….). The sale of second-hand homes accounted for 73.1% of all sales recorded in January, whilst the sale of new homes accounted for 26.9% of transactions, heavily influenced by the scarce construction of developments that still afflicts the market. During the first month of the year, just 9,003 new homes were sold, 37.1% fewer than 12 months earlier.

Unsubsidised housing

As INE highlights in its notes, the data released on Friday relates to sales recorded in property registries for transactions closed in the months leading up to the month of January. In any case, even through there is a certain timelag, the statistics prepared by the notaries and the Ministry of Development (using the figures of the former), which lack this mismatch in terms of dates, show exactly the same trend towards a clear increase in the volume of sales. The recovery of employment and the re-opening of the funding tap, together with significantly lower prices, explain the increased volume of transactions.

By type of home, the majority of the homes sold during the first month of the year, specifically 88.8%, were unsubsidised. The sale of this type of home increased by 10.4% in year-on-year terms, to amount to 29,667 transactions. By contrast, 3,749 subsidised (VPO) homes were sold during the month, an increase of 3.3% with respect to January 2014. Another way of assessing whether this recovery is sustainable or not is to look at how this trend is evolving across the country. Although at first, only a minority of autonomous regions recorded positive annual rates in terms of house sales (those with a higher income per capita and with a higher percentage of tourist homes), now the situation has turned around (with only a minority of autonomous regions recording negative annual rates). In absolute terms, Andalucía continued to lead the ranking in terms of house sales in January, with 6,114 transactions, followed by Madrid (5,282), Cataluña (5,219) and Valencia (4,630).

Nevertheless, in relative terms, the regions that saw the highest increases in house sales were the Canary Islands (+56.7%), La Rioja (+48.3%) and Extremadura (+30%). Only four regions recorded annual decreases: Cantabria (-17.3%), Navarra (-17.2%), Galicia (-7.3%) and Castilla-La Mancha (-3.9%)

Original story: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Prices Rose By 0.4% In 2014 After 6 Years In Decline

9 March 2015 – Expansión

House prices increased by 1.8% during the fourth quarter of 2014 to record three consecutive quarters of increases, according to the National Institute for Statistics. During 2014 as a whole, prices increased by 0.4% after six years in decline.

Between 2008 and 2013, the price of unsubsidised homes recorded annual decreases of varying magnitudes: -1.5% in 2008, -6.7% in 2009, -2% in 2010, -7.4% in 2011, -13.7% in 2012 and -10.6% in 2013. In 2007, when this index first was first launched, the price of unsubsidised housing recorded a positive growth rate of 9.8%.

By type of housing, the price of second-hand homes increased by 0.1% in 2014 after six years in decline. In the case of new homes, the average price increased by 0.9% in 2014 after five years in decline.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, the price of unsubsidised homes increased by 1.8% with respect to the same quarter in 2013, increasing the year-on-year variation recorded in the third quarter (+0.3%) by 1.5 points.

As such, prices have now experienced positive year-on-year variations for the last three consecutive quarters after six years of year-on-year decreases.

By type of housing, the price of new homes increased by 1.9% compared with the fourth quarter in 2013, increasing the year-on-year variation recorded in the third quarter by more than one point; meanwhile, the price of second-hand homes rose by 1.7%, compared with an increase of just 0.1% in the third quarter.

In terms of the quarter-on-quarter rate (i.e. the fourth quarter 2014 versus the third quarter of the same year), the price of unsubsidised housing increased by 0.2%, whereby completing three consecutive quarters of growth.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Sales Increased By 9.6% In January

6 March 2015 – Expansión

House sales increased by 9.6% in January with respect to the same period in 2014, according to data released by INE today.

33,416 house sales were recorded during the first month of 2015. This year-on-year increase is the fifth consecutive rise and was primarily driven by a 50.8% increase in the volume of second-hand home sales, which amounted to 24,413 during the month. By contrast, the sale of new homes decreased by 37.1% compared with January 2014, to just 9,003 transactions, announced the statistical body.

The data shared by INE corresponds to sales recorded in the property registries relating to public deeds signed in the months prior to the month of reference.

If we look at the monthly data only (January 2015 versus December 2014), house sales increased by 28.5%, the lowest rise during this month for the last five years.

Most of the homes sold during the first month of the year, specifically 88.8%, were unsubsidised. The sale of this type of home increased by 10.4% in year-on-year terms to reach 29,667 transactions; meanwhile, there were 3,749 sales involving subsidised homes, an increase of 3.3% with respect to January 2014.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Housing: 319,389 Homes Were Sold In 2014, Up By 2.2%

11 February 2015 – Expansión

After three years in decline, INE confirms that the residential sector is on the road to recovery. The greater increases in the number of transactions were recorded in the Balearic Islands (18.5%), Navarra (13.9%) and the Canary Islands (12%).

The National Institute of Statistics (el Instituto Nacional de Estadística or INE) confirmed yesterday that house sales have turned the corner around Cape Horn. The crisis is not behind us yet, by any means, but the sector has begun its long road to recovery, and that is the best news to come out of the property sector in over six years. Residential property transactions increased by 2.2% in 2014.

Last year, 319,389 homes were sold, compared with 312,600 in 2013 and 318,534 in 2012. This represented the first annual statistical increase since 2010, although that year was clearly affected by the termination of the tax relief for first home purchases for individuals earning more than €24,107, which caused numerous families to bring forward their house purchases so as not to miss out on the tax incentive of up to €1,350 per year.

“The year-end figure reflects a rise that, although timid, is a symptom of a significant change in the pace of operations. It is an encouraging piece of data that emphasises the stabilisation of the sector and it is based on the return of financial institutions to the field of finance and on the price adjustments undergone in the market”, said Manuel Gandarias, Head of Research at

In reality, 2014 was the first year since 2007 in which demand grew by itself, without tax incentives or other decisive policies. The worst years of the crisis for the property sector were 2008 and 2009, when residential sales decreased by -28.8% and -25.1%, respectively. In 2010, sales increased by 6.3%. The decline then slowed down gradually in 2011 (-18.1%), 2012 (-11.5%) and 2013 (-1.9%, when tax relief ended completely).

The expected upturn in purchases in due solely and exclusively to the strong sentiment in the second hand market, the real thermometer of the residential sector at a time when new homes are still somewhat mummified, in an over-inflated stock.

Sales of used homes increased to 199,943 in 2014, i.e. 18.4% more than a year earlier. Second hand homes now account for two out of every three transactions (62.6% of the total). These sales had increased by 3.8% in 2013.

Meanwhile, sales of new homes in 2014 amounted to 119,446 (down -6.9% with respect to 2013) and now accumulate four consecutive years of decline.

“This superiority of used homes over new builds is not only based on the larger volume and leeway afforded by the prices of such homes, it is also due to the scarcity of new developments and the effect caused when the banks dumped the new developments they held on their balance sheets, which effectively converted these properties into second hand homes for tax purposes”, said Gandarias.

The number of unsubsidised homes sold increased by 3.2% with respect to 2013, whilst the number of subsidised house sales decreased by 6.2%.

By autonomous region

The autonomous communities that experienced the greatest increases in the number of house sales in 2014 were the Balearic Islands (18.5%), Navarra (13.9%) and the Canary Islands (12%). The largest decreases were recorded in La Rioja (-25.1%), Castilla-La Mancha (-12.6%) and Murcia (-6.3%).

The regions that recorded the most transactions per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014 were Valencia (1,182), the Balearic Islands (1,043) and the Canary Islands (1,015).

83.0% of the sales recorded in 2014 related to urban properties and 17% to rural properties. In the case of urban properties, 55% corresponded to homes. Sales of rural properties increased by 7.3% and sales of urban properties rose by 0.9%. Within this second group, housing was the property type that experienced the highest growth.

The experts expect the improvement in house sales to extend into 2015. The 21st Edition of the Real Estate Heart Rate Monitor (la XXI edición del Pulsímetro Inmobiliario) published by the Institute of Business Practices (el Instituto de Práctica Empresarial or IPE) last week, forecasts that sales will grow by 7.5% this year.

According to the IPE, house prices will grow by 2.5% in 2015. In addition, mortgage lending will increase by 2.5% and the construction of new builds will grow by 7.5%.

Sales have already increased. Will prices rise too? We will know on 9 March, when INE publishes data abour the average house price at the end of 2014.

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake