324,000 New Homes Still Not Sold 10 Years On

13 July 2017 – La Vanguardia

At the end of this year, a decade after the real estate bubble burst, the number of new homes constructed during the boom that are still left unsold will amount to 324,000, according to a report on the Residential Market in Spain prepared by Servihabitat.

The stock of unsold homes is gradually decreasing: it shrank by 18.6% last year to 394,000 homes and sales are accelerating this year, in such a way that an additional 17.8% decrease is forecast by year end. “There is still stock is the areas where there has not been much demand for housing in recent years”.

But purchases are rising and in the majority of areas, the numbers may reach the technical stock level, typical of a healthy market, within a few years, said Julián Cabanillas, CEO at Servihabitat.

Homes are now being sold at a good rate even in the most depressed areas

The report prepared by the firm indicates that the majority of the unsold homes are concentrated in Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja, Cantabria, Murcia and the Comunidad Valenciana. “In some towns in Toledo, with large housing developments, there are four or five times as many homes as there are local inhabitants; there, it is hard to imagine that these homes will be absorbed and it is possible that the developments that were half-finished will have to be demolished”, he acknowledges. According to Cabanillas, the technical stock should amount to around 165,000 homes.

The absorption of new homes is happening in a very heterogeneous way. In Andalucía, where 90,000 homes will be sold this year, there are still 35,000 unsold homes leftover from the boom “which will be absorbed within a couple of years”. By contrast, in the Comunidad Valenciana, where the stock of unsold homes stands at 100,000, sales are forecast to amount to just 60,000 this year, and so the unsold homes will not be absorbed for another 5 or 6 years.

According to Cabanillas, the situation is very different in Cataluña, where less than 10,000 unsold new homes are left, which means that, in his opinion, “the market has already normalised there”. In his view, there are still some “specific and very localised areas of depression”, such as parts of Lleida, the south of Tarragona, Terrassa and Salt. By contrast, the stock in Barcelona “falls below the technical stock level”, which is leading to a lack of housing, new developments and land, which is putting pressure on prices and driving out the local population”. In his opinion, the differences between areas reflect the fact that some areas “are less appealing and that is a structural factor that will continue to exist”.

According to the servicer’s data, the sale of homes will grow by more than 17% in Cataluña this year, to exceed 78,250 units sold, whilst in Spain as a whole, the figure will reach 465,000 operations, representing an increase of 15.2% (…).

Original story: La Vanguardia (by Rosa Salvador)

Translation: Carmel Drake

APCE: We May Have To Demolish Some Of The Pre-Crisis New Home Stock

7 December 2016 – El Economista

Some of the stock of new homes that were left unsold when the real estate bubble burst and the crisis began in 2008 will have to be demolished, given that they cannot be absorbed into the market, as they do not fulfil the criteria that house buyers now look for.

That is according to the President of the Property Developers’ Association, APCE, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, who, nevertheless, thinks that the market may still be able to take on some of that housing stock.

“Some of the stock may be absorbed, but in other cases, properties will have to be demolished because people prefer new developments, with environmental features, that are constructed with other materials and that are planned in a different way to how things were done ten years ago”, said the President of the Property Developers’ Association.

According to Gómez-Pintado, the stock is being sold in “certain geographic regions, but not in others” and he claims that the situation in terms of housing developments “was planned by bodies who should not be involved in planning, namely,  Town Halls”.

“Autonomous regions should be the ones to plan where and how they want to grow their cities and towns”, said the President of the APCE  in an interview with the College of Registrars.

According to data from Servihabitat, by the end of 2016, the stock of unsold homes left over from the beginning of the crisis will amount to around 388,000 homes, however that figure will decrease by 20% in 2017, to 315,000 units. (…).

Analysis performed by the company shows considerable variations in the distribution of these left over homes across the different regions in Spain, in such a way that there is hardly any stock left in Madrid, whereas in the Community of Valenca, there are 228 unsold new homes for every 10,000 inhabitants.

“A before and after” in the sector

During the interview, the President of the APCE highlighted the “before and after” experienced by the construction sector and house sales, which account for 6% of domestic GDP, as a result of the crisis. “The sector is trying to do this differently to how it did it in the past. The practices of the past were not widespread, but they no longer play any role at all”, he said.

Nevertheless, Gómez-Pintado considers that Spain’s real estate companies are still facing three challenges: to grow in size; to introduce changes in terms of construction; and to become more environmentally aware and energy efficient.

In terms of the evolution of the market, the main aim is for young people to be able to afford to buy their first home, given that, currently, the sector “nourishes” the so-called “demand to reposition” from those people who bought a home fifteen or twenty years ago and are now looking to upsize.

In terms of their relationship with the Public Administration, the Property Developers’ Association has just one request – a “stable legal and fiscal framework”. “We do not want PIVE plans, subsidies or aid, we just want legal certainty – clear, concise and transparent rules for everyone”, said the President of the APCE, who drew comparisons with the automobile sector to illustrate his point.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Valencia’s New Home Stock Has Fallen By 35% Since 2009

5 December 2016 – Levante EMV

According to a report by the Spanish Confederation of Construction Product Manufacturer Associations, the stock of new homes has decreased by 35% in the Community of Valencia since the collapse of the construction sector in 2009. The market has digested 26,926 properties in Valencia’s three provinces, leaving 92,782 unsold. The sales figures are very uneven, but the sector is now recovering on the Costa Blanca and in Alicante capital and the city of Valencia. In Valencia capital, there are just three hundred new unsold homes left, with some analysts estimating that as few as one hundred homes have yet to be sold; and the first developments to be promoted by Sareb, investment funds, financial institutions, cooperatives and overseas funds have already started.

The situation for Valencia’s construction companies is still complicated, to the extent that the President of the Association of Valencian Property Developers (APCV), José Luis Miguel, acknowledged yesterday that “anyone who owns land should hold onto it. A good decision would be to do nothing”, said José Luis Miguel, as he presented a study about the situation in the sector.

The property developers have commissioned a study to obtain a detailed understanding of how the sector is performing following the crisis, at a time when the “rules of the game have changed to allow the entry of new competitors, such as investment funds and financial institutions”. The author of the study pointed out that the sector is still at “historical lows”, despite the first signs of recovery being seen along the coast in Alicante and Valencia capital. “We are at the beginning of the (upwards) curve, but it is clear that the recovery is now being felt in certain areas”.

José Manuel Luis added that the volume of sales in the second-hand market are similar to those recorded in 2006 and 2007, but at that time they accounted for just 38% of all transactions, whereas now they account for 88%, compared with 12% involving new homes.

Weakness in demand

The head of the study underlined that the sector still perceives a weakness in terms of demand due to the difficulties involved in obtaining financing and because the banks are requesting deposits of 20% before they are prepared to grant mortgages. In any case, the greatest problem is that 40% of Valencians admit that they are unable to afford extraordinary expenses of €650 per month, which means that they are not able to buy. The only option for these people is to rent.

Nevertheless, the property developers are reluctant to commit themselves to building homes for rent because that requires the freezing of assets for a long time and the repayment period for such operations is twenty-five years.

José Luis Miguel lamented the situation in the sector and the disappearance of 90% of the property developers that existed before the crisis. “Many property developers were small and the crisis did away with them. The association used to have four hundred members and there are now only forty left”, he said.

Original story: Levante EMV

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: Coastal House Prices Share In The RE Recovery

4 July 2016 – Expansión

Analysis by region / The price of tourist housing is thriving once again in many areas along the coast, including in the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Málaga, Cádiz, Alicante and Gerona. More than half of Spain’s beaches are experiencing clear recoveries in their property prices or are showing signs of recovery, with an increasingly active market, according to Tinsa; very few areas are still in decline.

The housing market has taken off with a bang, above all in the major cities. Nevertheless, certain other areas also stand out, in particular: the coasts, where 56% of the areas are now in recovery and where foreign demand and the limited stock in the prime areas has further encouraged increases in real estate prices. Specifically, and according to a recent report from the appraisal company Tinsa, 56.2% of the coast areas are now in a process of recovery, whilst prices have bottomed out in 28.1% of areas and only 15.8% are still experiencing price decreases.

In this way, the report highlights the Balearic and Canary Islands, which have several areas in “clear recovery”, followed by the Costa del Sol (Málaga) and the Costa de la Luz (Cádiz). In addition, there are significant improvements in Barcelona, Gerona and Alicante. In these areas, a good portion of the unsold housing stock has now been sold off, given that the number of transactions has shot up, and so too therefore has the granting of new permits, which have doubled. By contrast, prices in some parts of the Comunidad Valenciana, Murcia and Andalucía are still decreasing, as the markets there are saturated with unsold properties, which means it is still possible to find bargains relatively easily. The Cantabrian Coast has experienced a more moderate evolution. There are several keys that point to the prolongation of the rising trend. “We have been observing a moderate but stable increase in prices for several quarters now, foreign demand is rising sharply, above all along the coast, which means that the remaining unsold homes are now starting to run out in many areas”, said Beatriz Corredor, Director of Institutional Relations at the College of Property Registrars. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ST: Barcelona’s New Home Supply Could Run Out Within 12 Months

16 June 2016 – El Mundo

Sociedad de Tasación has published its ST New Home Census for 2016 for the province of Barcelona and Barcelona Capital. The company has provided the market with complete and detailed information about the supply of unsold new homes in the region, whereby updating the ST Census for 2014 to include the new supply of homes constructed during the last two years. In addition, it includes a breakdown of the properties by construction phase, price and surface area.

The study contains analysis of the municipalities that have more than 50,000 inhabitants in the province of Barcelona, as well as specific data about the capital. The municipalities analysed together account for almost 65% of the population and stock of existing homes in the region.

According to the report, currently only 725 of the 2,719 new homes registered for sale in 2014 are still on the market, which implies a reduction in the stock of 73.3%, in just two years. Moreover, 2,068 new units have been identified, which means that in total the current supply adds up to 2,793 homes. That figure represents a net stock increase of 2.7% compared with the ST Census for 2014.

In light of this data, ST Sociedad de Tasación’s Director General, Juan Fernández-Aceytuno, said that “if this rate of absorption of the new home stock continues, then the current supply could run out within 12 months in the province of Barcelona and within 14 months in the capital”.

In the city of Barcelona, only 215 of the 917 new homes up for sale in 2014 are still on the market, which means that 82.5% of the supply has been sold in two years. As well as the homes that have been on the market since 2014, 857 new homes have been put up for sale in the last two years, which means that the current supply amounts to 1,072 homes, a net increase in the total stock of 16.9% with respect to the ST Census for 2014.

The supply of off-plan homes increases

Fernández-Aceytuno also highlights changes in the composition of the housing stock: “As far as the construction phase is concerned, the supply of homes that have not been started has grown by 212% in the municipalities of Barcelona that have more than 50,000 inhabitants. As such, there has been a 45% reduction in the volume of finished homes included in the stock in 2016, which amounts to 834 units in total”, concluded Fernández-Aceytuno.

In the city of Barcelona, there has also been an increase in the number of off-plan homes, in this case by 150%, with respect to the data in 2014. Thus, whilst in 2014, the supply of finished homes accounted for 50.4% of the total, in 2016, they represented just 19.2%.

Increases in the average house size and the average price

The study reflects an increase in the average size of homes. Whilst in the ST Census for 2014, homes measuring less than 100 sqm accounted for 67.7% of the supply, they now represent just 47.6%.

Similarly, in 2016, the average price of new homes is higher in 2016 than in 2014. As such, homes worth more than €300,000 have increased from representing 26% of the stock in 2014, to 35.3% in 2016. (…).

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Carmel Drake

INE: House Prices Rose By 6.3% In Q1 2016

10 June 2016 – Expansión

The recovery of the real estate market is picking up strength, so much so that both house prices and the volume of transactions are growing at their highest rates since the burst of the real estate bubble. Specifically, house prices rose by 6.3% during the first quarter of the year, compared with the same period last year; meanwhile, the number of acquisitions increased by 29% in April. All of those figures come from data published by INE yesterday.

House prices, which first started to rise again two years ago, increased significantly during the first quarter of the year. In this way, whilst prices increased by 4.2% during Q4 2015, that rate of growth accelerated by another 2.1 percentage points in the subsequent three months. As such, they have reached their highest rate of growth since Q3 2007, when the real estate market had just started to slow down, but the bubble had not yet burst.

With these figures, it seems that the real estate market has now entered a new phase in its recovery. Although the volume of transactions began to recover a few years ago, prices continued to hit new lows; now, however, it seems like prices are starting to recover too, and with increasing strength, in line with the increase in operation volumes.

Madrid led the price rises during Q1 2016, with an increase of 9.7%, followed by the Balearic Islands (8.8%) and Cataluña (8.6%). That is because those regions include areas with high demand from foreigners and also because, that is where the stock of unsold homes has been more limited. Amongst these regions, the increase in Madrid was particularly strong, given that prices rose by 2.9% with respect to the previous quarter, double the average rate of growth across the country (1.5%) and the highest growth rate seen in any of the autonomous regions.

Conversely, the increase was much more moderate in Castilla-La Mancha, where prices rose by 1.5% with respect to the previous year. Castilla y León and Extremadura (1.7% in both cases) recorded similar increases. Nevertheless, these statistics do not take the shine off of the real estate recovery, given that prices rose at a higher rate than last quarter in every autonomous region. (…).

Finally, the price of second-hand homes rose by 6.4% with respect to 2015 and so outperformed new home prices by 0.3 percentage points (6.1%).

Transactions

This increase in prices is fuelling the increase in demand, given that the volume of house purchases grew at a rate of 29%, the maximum rate since records of these statistics began back in 2007. Moreover, INE published this data on the same day that the Ministry of Development confirmed that the volume of acquisitions had increased by 20.7% during Q1 2016, with respect to the same period in 2015. Although the methodologies are different, it seems that growth had already become strong during the first three months of the year, before shooting up in April.

The volume of second-hand homes sold rose by 32.3%, whilst the number of new homes sold increased by 17.6%. By region, the highest increase was recorded in the Balearic Islands (61.7%), whilst the lowest rise was seen in the Canary Islands (2%).

Original story: Expansión (by Pablo Cerezal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Home Sales Will Reach 420,000 Units In 2016

10 February 2016 – El Mundo

Housing demand will continue to grow in Spain to reach 420,000 properties sold in 2016 and 450,000 in 2017, according to a report of Bankinter, which indicates that nonetheless the price increase will not exceed 3% in average or 5% in the case of the best locations.

These transaction figures mean an increase by around 20% with respect to the 354.100 homes sold along 2015, according to National Statistics Institute (INE) data In addition, the report points out that second-hand homes will continue to be the dominant alternative in a scenario of economic recovery, with over 85% of all transactions in the coming quarters.

As properties which have started to be built from the second half of 2015 are put for sale, says Bankinter, new home sales should increase, reaching rates above 15%,so that these transactions could reach 60,000 or 70,000 units per year.

The financial institution says that this increase in demand is explained by the predictable improvement in employment, low interest rates and higher attractiveness of housing as investment.

On the price side, the report notes that the residential market is heterogeneous, but it will increase in average, driven by the lack of supply in places like Madrid or Barcelona. In this regard, it also notes that the first increases in land value could begin to affect the final price of housing.

However, Bankinter states that price increases will not be “substantial”, partly because the purchases will come in part from the process of marketing of homes awarded to banks, which have heavily discounted prices.

On the other hand, as a result of these market developments, the ‘stock’ of unsold homes could be reach levels below 500,000 homes in 2016

New housing will advance if there is political stability

At the same time, Bankinter points out that the improved outlook of the sector will extend to the promotion of new housing, which “will experience a new awakening in 2016 under the increase of work certifications in 2015, provided the political context does not result in a loss of confidence.”

“Promoter activity is currently going through a turning point and it will emerge over the next two years “, the financial institution ends with.

Recovery is already being talked of

For all those reasons, Bankinter says that “the consolidation of the recovery cycle in the residential property sector it is a reality “. It also notes that the commercial sector is already in a “clear upturn”.

Thus, the report indicates that the commercial sector will strengthen in 2016 and 2017 the positive trend of income, occupancy rates and revaluation improvement of the assets.

Again, Bankinter warns that the investment boom experienced in 2015 “will be slowed down by the lower number of large transactions and a situation of uncertainty that can postpone or cancel the launch of new projects.

Original story: El Mundo

Translation: Aura Ree

Deloitte: House Prices Up By 9.5% In Madrid & 15% In BCN

1 October 2015 – Expansión

The signs of recovery in the Spanish real estate sector are strengthening. The first sign was the arrival of international funds interested in investing in real estate assets in Spain; and now the residential market is also beginning to show the first signs of recovery.

House prices in Spain increased in 2014 after six years of decreases. According to a Europe-wide study prepared by Deloitte, average house prices in Spain’s two main cities, Madrid and Barcelona, increased by 9.5% and 15%, respectively, between 2014 and 2013. “Prices in Spain are increasing at an annual rate of 10%. The Spanish market was last in the line, in terms of the recovery in Europe, but now that trend has been reversed” explains Javier García-Mateo, Partner at Deloitte.

These signs of recovery are clearer if we analyse the results for new builds in isolation. The product has been particularly badly hit in recent years due to the over-construction that took place during the boom. “The gap between new builds and second-hand homes has increased with respect to last year and this is a sign of recovery” says García-Mateo. “New build prices are beginning to rise compared with previous years when the difference with respect to second-hand homes was less as vendors had to reduce prices to find buyers”.

Despite this growth, house prices are still below the levels seen before the crisis. In this way, house prices in Spain increased by 4% between 2002 and 2014, compared with 7% in Germany and the USA, 50% in France and 52% in the UK, according to Deloitte. “It is the start of a change in the trend, but we are not going to see a return to the boom figures. We are seeing a recovery because prices decreased so significantly (during the crisis)”.

Ireland

Since 2007, a record year for the sector, house prices in Spain have decreased by 39%, compared with an increase of 18% in Germany. In Europe, the most similar market is Ireland, where house prices have fallen by 41% over the last seven years. “Ireland is one or two years ahead of Spain; as such, it is possible that over the next few years, we will see similar data to that being seen in Dublin this year, where the price per m2 has risen by 34%”, say the Partners at Deloitte. (…).

Construction

The increase in house prices will have an effect on the launch of new developments, which reached minimum levels of 35,000 units in recent years. “We think that the recovery in the construction of homes will take place in 2016, starting from very low levels. Between 2006 and 2007, 7,000,000 homes were constructed in Spain, the same figure as in Germany, which has 90 million inhabitants”, says García-Mateo.

The construction of new developments will be reactivated despite the fact that Spain still has a stock of around 535,000 unsold homes. According to Deloitte, the stock of homes decreased by 3.2% last year and has recorded a cumulative decrease of 18% since 2009, when there were 649,780 unsold homes. “There are still a lot of homes to be sold because the population is not growing”.

In this sense, Spain, together with Italy and Portugal, is the country with the highest volume of stock at the European level.

Most of Spain’s provinces are now showing signs of recovery

The Spanish real estate market is very heterogeneous and that is reflected in the location of the stock of more than 500,000 unsold homes in the country.

According to the study prepared by Deloitte, the recovery of the residential sector is happening at three speeds across the country. The recovery will be seen first in Madrid, the Catalan provinces, Valencia and the majority of Castilla y León; meanwhile Almería, Huelva, Teruel and Castellón will be the last regions to recover.

Only three provinces still have a stock that is more than 10% larger than in 2009: Guipúzcoa, Teruel and La Rioja, which the supply of unsold homes has increased by 38%, 26% and 10%, respectively; meanwhile ten provinces have reduced their stock by less than 10% in the last five years.

At the other end of the spectrum the provinces of Cantabria, Cáceres, Badajoz and Navarra have pretty much reduced their unsold stock levels by 100% over the last five years.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry Of Development: Housing Stock Falls By 5% To 535,734

31 July 2015 – El Economista

According to data published by the Ministry of Development, the stock of unsold homes in Spain fell by 5% in 2014, to bring the total down to 535,734 properties, i.e. 2.10% of the total housing stock.

The statistics are compiled on the basis of the termination certificates issued by the College of Technical Architects…as a reference for the number of finished homes, and using the Ministry of Development’s own real estate statistics about house sales.

This represents the second largest decrease since 2010, when the downwards phase first started. (…).

It means that the stock of empty homes has reduced by 17.5% since its maximum level in 2009 (649,780 properties). Overall, the housing stock is still 29.5% higher than it was in 2007, when there were 413,642 empty homes.

No stock left in Cantabria or Extremadura

The housing stock decreased in all regions in 2014, with the exception of Ceuta and Melilla. In fact, in the cases of Extremadura and Cantabria, the stock of homes was completely absorbed last year.

However, in this case, the Ministry of Development explains that the ‘stock’ represents the surplus above the levels recorded on 1 January 2004, and therefore zero surpluses do not necessarily mean that there are no unsold new homes left, but rather that the number of unsold new homes has not increased since that date.

Navarra led the decreases, with a reduction of 86.5%, followed by Galicia (-8.45%), Aragón (-6.76%), Andalucía (-6.72%), the Balearic Islands (-5.97%), Murcia (-5.48%), the Canary Islands (-5.37%) and Asturias (-5.19%).

Other regions recorded decreases below the national average, including: Madrid (-4.78%), Castilla-La Mancha (-4.66%), Castilla y León (-4.24%), Comunidad Valenciana (-3.14%), Cataluña (-2.99%), La Rioja (-1.76%) and País Vasco (-0.75%). Meanwhile, the stock in Ceuta and Melilla increased by 18.1%.

Following these changes, three regions now account for 49.6% of the stock: Comunidad Valenciana (98,087 homes), Andalucía (85,081 homes) and Cataluña (82,753 homes). Meanwhile, the regions and cities with the lowest stock percentages are Ceuta and Melilla (744 homes), Navarra (184 homes) and Cantabria and Extremadura, where there is no stock left. (…).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ministry of Development: Housing Stock Still Exceeds 500,000

23 July 2015 – El País

Spain is still slowly digesting the volume of unsold new homes that was left over following the burst of the housing bubble.

According to the Ministry of Development, the stock of newly constructed homes decreased by 5% last year with respect to 2013, to 535,734. The remnants of the bubble are concentrated in those areas in which developers constructed the most during the boom times, in such a way that the provinces with the highest number of vacant homes are: Castellón, Almería and Toledo. The sector warns that many of these properties, especially those in poor locations, will be very difficult to sell.

The stock of newly built homes peaked in 2009, when the market came to a standstill, large companies in the sector collapsed and assets started to move onto the balance sheets of the financial institutions. That year, the country registered almost 650,000 new homes without a buyer. Since then, the volume of unsold homes has declined at an annual rate of 3.6% per year. “A decline of 5% still represents a tiny amount” says José García Montalvo, professor of Applied Economics at the University of Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

The slow rate of decline is due to two main factors. Firstly, house sales are recovering, but in a very uneven way: whilst sales involving second-hand homes have increased by 42%, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), sales of new homes have decreased by 37%. This means that barely 20% of sales related to new homes, whereas between 2008 and 2013, they accounted for half of all sales.

The second reason is that the market has written off some of that housing stock as unsellable. “Some of the stock will never be sold” says García-Montalvo. Moreover, Bankinter’s study service estimates that around 150,000 homes will fall into that category, above all those located in ‘ghost’ towns and neighbourhoods, and in coastal areas where there is little or no demand.

This explains why the provinces with the highest volumes of vacant new homes are located on the Mediterranean Coast and in Castilla La Mancha. In relative terms, the provinces with the most unsold stock are Castellón (6.45% of the total), Almería (5.47%), Toledo (5.39%) and Albacete (4.31%). In Madrid and Barcelona, where the cranes have now returned to start new projects, that proportion stands at 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively. And according to the Ministry of Development, the stock is non-existent in Cantabria and Extremadura. (…).

The stock of empty homes still exceeds 10,000 units in around twenty provinces. In general, the decreases amounted to around 5% on average, except in Málaga (16.4%) and A Coruña (8.3%). At the other extreme, the volume of unsold homes actually increased in Álava, Bizkaia, Ceuta and Melilla, albeit from relatively low levels. (…).

Original story: El País (by Lluís Pellicer)

Translation: Carmel Drake