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 (…).
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