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Home Sales Up in Andalusia in November

Andalucía saw home sales increase 2.7%
Andalucía saw property sales increase 2.7%

Andalucía saw home sales increase 2.7%

There was 152,699 property transfers registered in the property records in November, according to figures released by the INE this week. This is 11.8% lower than in the same month of 2018.

86.5% of those properties were urban and 13.5% were rural. In the case of urban properties, 56.4% were home sales.

The number of rustic properties sold in November fell 8.8% on the annual rate, while urban property sales fell 7.9%. In regard to sales of housing, the figures for November 2019 are 9.3% lower than in the same month of 2018.

Of the residences sold in November, 19.8% were new build homes, while the remaining 80.2% were second-hand properties. The sale of new properties dropped 3.6% on the annual rate, while sales of second-hand homes fell 10.5%.

Sales by Autonomous Community

In November, the total number of property sales registered in the property records per 100,000 inhabitants reached its highest levels in La Rioja (700), Castilla y León (662) and Aragón (588).

The only region to register a positive annual variation was Murcia, with a 0.6% increase. Meanwhile, the smallest negative variations were seen in Galicia (–0.2%) and Extremadura (–1.0%).

The biggest falls were seen in Navarra (–33.2%), Community of Madrid (–25.1%) and the Basque Country (–20.2%).

Based on sales of registered homes, the communities with the highest number of transactions per 100,000 inhabitants are Valencia (151), Andalucía (126) and Aragón (114).

In real terms, Andalucía saw 8,391 home sales in November. This represents a 2.7% increase in home sales, when compared to November 2018.

The communities with the greatest annual increases in the number of home sales in November are Extremadura (7.0%), Aragón (5.3%) and Andalusia (2.7%).

On the other hand, La Rioja (–25.5%), Community of Madrid (–21.2%) and the Canary Islands (–21.0%) registered the greatest falls.

 

House Prices Down Slightly in November

Home mortgages increased 10% in November
Home mortgages increased 10% in November

Home mortgages increased 10.3% in November

Sales of housing in November reached 47,182 transactions, according to notaries. This represents a year-on-year fall of 5.6%. The average price per square metre of homes sold in November was €1,406, representing a slight fall of 0.4%.

Meanwhile, there was a 10.3% increase in new mortgage loans taken for the purchase of a home in November, with 24,638 new loans agreed. The average amount of those loans fell by 2.5%, year-on-year, to €133,506.

Property Sales

By type of property, the sale of apartments showed a 6.3% year-on-year reduction. This was due to a contraction of second-hand property sales (-4.1%) and also sales of new property which suffered a 20.7% fall. The sale of single-family homes also suffered a decline in numbers but only slightly, seeing a 3.4% drop in sales.

In terms of average prices, a square metre of homes purchased in November reached €1,406, reflecting a slight fall of 0.4% year-on-year. This small reduction was due exclusively to the fall in price of single-family homes which showed a 4.8% annual decline. The price of flats/apartments registered a slight annual increase with prices rising 2.2%.

Finally, in November the purchase and sale of other types of properties stood at 10,799 operations (-11.2% year-on-year), of which 38.3% corresponded to land or plots. The average price per square meter of these land transactions was €218 (-12.6% year-on-year).

Mortgages

The total number of new mortgage loans made in November was 32,911, which represents an increase of 6.8% year-on-year. The average amount of those loans was €171,143, reflecting a fall of 1.3% year-on-year.

New mortgages taken for the acquisition of a property increased in November by 10.8% year-on-year to 26,455 loans. This was due both to the increase in the granting of loans for the acquisition of a home (10.3% year-on-year) and to the increase in mortgage loans for the acquisition of other real estate (19.1% year-on-year). The average amount of loans for property acquisition reached €136,871 (-3.1% year-on-year). In the case of housing, the average capital was €133,506, reflecting a decrease of 2.5% year-on-year.

Loans taken for construction showed a year-on-year decrease of 7.7% in November, to 597 operations. The average amount of capital borrowed in those cases was €627,338, an interannual increase of 20.8%. The average amount of loans for the construction of a house increased substantially, growing by 42.3% to €369,909 (480 operations).

The percentage of home purchases financed by a mortgage loan stood at 54%. Additionally, in this type of purchase with financing, the amount of the loan was 74.6% on average.

 

Rental Market Must be Priority in 2020

Increase in public rental property is important
Increase in public rental property is important

Increasing the volume of public rental property is vital

Spain’s new government are expected to put the entire property market under the microscope, with the current rental problems taking a priority.

It is, without a doubt, the biggest challenge in the housing market at the moment and has its origin in the growing imbalance between high demand and low supply. This has, of course, resulted in increasingly higher prices, especially in large cities and tourist hotspots, in a general context of almost frozen wages.

To confirm the problems we need look at only a single indicator: up to 75% of individuals who have rented or tried to rent a house as tenants in the last twelve months said the price was the main problem encountered.

The easy answer to this problem would be to increase the supply of rental housing to ensure that prices begin to correct. The questions is how to do that, and there doesn’t appear to be a simple answer, according to a report from fotocasa.

On the one hand, a firm and long-term commitment is necessary for the creation of a large public housing increase for which time and resources are required. This is an issue that virtually all political parties have included in the election manifestos.

Price Limits

One option mentioned by previous governments, is in respect of introducing price caps to rental properties. But this is complicated and would be very difficult to plan with prices across the country varying greatly.

In addition to limiting rental prices, which in some cases could lead owners to pull their property from the rental market, there is another more important problem: the limited supply. There are two possibilities when it comes to fixing that problem.

Spain has a public rental housing volume well below the European average. A long-term commitment is required from administrations to increase the amount of available public rental property and manage them at affordable prices. This would act as an immediate “brake” on the upward trend of prices in the private rental market. Of course, it is an expensive measure that would require the cooperation of public and private initiatives, but it would lay a solid foundation in the leasing market to ensure access to housing. It would also create a permanent tool available to administrations to cool the market when it became necessary. If this process is to move forward and needs to free land for new developments, if must be done carefully to avoid past mistakes.

As that could be a costly and time consuming process, the other option is to incentivise owners in the private sector. To do this the government can offer fiscal benefits. For example, tax deductions on rental incomes when the tenant is under 35 years old since this age groups is the one struggling the most to find a home. Reduced municipal taxes such as IBI could also be offered to landlords. Support could also be offered in situations where a tenant causes problems, damages property or defaults on rental payments. Support is currently lacking in this regard.

Sustainable Market

Although the necessary and urgent commitment is to rental property, home ownership also has its own challenges that deserve to be addressed. Firstly, because it is still the preferred option when looking for a house. But also because of the economic importance of the construction sector, whether in new-build property or in reformation of used housing.

Although the objectives of transparency and protection for the client included in the new mortgage laws are commendable, its entry into force last summer did put a brake on buying and selling activity. Because of this, it is important to recover the momentum as soon as possible through public initiatives and, in this sense and in the face of the growing demand for new property ownership, it would be helpful if the public administrations were to start by making it easier to make land available.

To avoid past mistakes, “land liberalization” (which is also necessary for the purpose of allocating them to rental housing) must be done wisely and with the appropriate evaluation of each case.

Climate Emergency

And, while we are talking about challenges, we cannot ignore the biggest challenge facing the planet: the climate emergency, a question about which the real estate market also has a lot to say.

2020 has been marked by the EU as the year that newly built homes should have almost zero energy consumption. Whether these homes are for rent or for sale, the sector will need the support of the administrations for the changes that are coming.

In short, solving residential rental needs, providing stability to the sales market so that it recovers vigour and commitment to sustainability in new construction and reformations are the three major challenges for the new government in housing.

 

Used House Prices up 4.6% in 2019

House prices up almost 5% in 2019
Second-hand housing prices up almost 5% in 2019

House prices up almost 5% in 2019

The price of used housing in Spain has increased 4.6% during 2019. This increase puts the average cost per square metre at 1,763 euros, according to data from idealista. During the last quarter, the increase was 1.6%, although this is based only on provisional data.

According to Fernando Encinar, head of studies at idealista, “the data shows how the sharp increases in the price of used housing seem to have been left behind. However, it is not likely that we are facing a new bearish cycle, at least not globally and in general. Over the next few months we will continue to see how prices behave in large markets, where demand pressure continues to exceed supply capacity, while in other areas of Spain prices will remain stagnant or with slight variations.

Access to affordable housing will continue to be an issue for Spaniards over the coming year. Having the ability to manage a monthly mortgage payment, and the difficultly in saving for the initial deposit is far from a reality for many Spaniards. In this regard, the implementation of the new mortgage laws in 2019 meant that for half of June and the start of July it was almost impossible to sign a new mortgage agreement which has affected the mortgage statistics and sales figures. In the coming months we expect to see those indicators returning to normal, although we may also see growth continue to slow down naturally.

2020 is therefore presented as a year with more unknowns than certainties for the real estate market in Spain. We will have to wait for the formation of the new government and the first new housing legislation, both for sale and rental, before we know what course the market will take.

Prices in Autonomous Communities

Five autonomous communities saw prices for used housing fall during 2019. The largest decrease occurred in Extremadura, where owners are now asking for 1.3% less for their homes than a year ago, followed by Galicia, where prices fell 1.2%, Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha (-1.1% in both cases) and Castilla y León (-0.2%).

In Cantabria, prices have not moved and in all other communities they have grown in the last 12 months. The largest increase was in Andalusia (8.8%), followed by the Balearic Islands (6.6%), the Canary Islands (5.2%) and Murcia (4.9%).

The Balearic Islands remain as the most expensive autonomy, with an average price of 3,060 euros p/m². This was followed by Madrid (2,805 euros p/m²), Euskadi (2,581 euros p/m²) and Catalunya (2,281 euros p/m²). On the opposite side of the table we find Castilla La Mancha (865 euros p/m²), Extremadura (889 euros p/m²) and Murcia (1,045 euros p/m²), as the most economical communities.

Provinces

31 provinces experienced price increases on second-hand properties during the last 12 months. The increases are led by Lleida (9.3%), followed by Málaga (8.5%), Granada (7.2%), the Balearic Islands (6.6%) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (6.2%). On the other end of the table we find falls in Ourense (-9.4%), Soria (-5.7%) and Cuenca (-5.6%).

The ranking of the most expensive provinces is headed by the Balearic Islands, with 3,060 euros p/m², followed by Guipúzcoa (2,969 euros p/m²). Behind them are Madrid (2,805 euros p/m²) and Barcelona (2,693 euros p/m²). Toledo is the most economical province (766 euros p/m²), followed by Cuenca (771 euros p/m²) and Ciudad Real (802 euros p/m²).

 

Price Still Main Factor for Tenants

Young people returned to renting in 2019
Young people returned to renting in 2019

Young people returned to renting in 2019

During the course of 2019, 17% of people in Spain over the age of 18 have had some level of involvement in the rental market, either as landlords or as tenants. This percentage is an increase of three points when compared to 2018. In fact, thanks to this increase, the rental market has recovered to participation rates similar to 2017.

Although the increase in participation in the rental market has occurred in all age groups, young people are mainly responsible for the upturn. This is due to the fact that in 2018 this group moved away from renting and in 2019 they have returned to renting. Specifically, the age group 18-24 years represented 15% in 2018 and this has risen to 26% in 2019; the age group 25-34 years made up 19% of participants in 2018 and this has risen to 30% this year.

“In the last year we have witnessed a general moderation of rental housing prices and this is causing the return of the younger groups that were forced to leave the rental market last year, although they don’t always find a property due to lack of supply. Both in the 18 to 24 and the 25 to 34 year old range, there has been a great increase in the share of the rental market,” said Ismael Kardoudi, Director of Studies and Training at Fotocasa.

In territorial terms, Catalonia (from 9% in 2018 to 13% in 2019) and Madrid (from 9% to 15%) are the two autonomous regions where the increase in the participation of individuals in the demand for rental properties has been most significant. There has also been a strong increase in Andalusia (from 13% to 17%) and the Basque Country, while the Valencian Community has remained more stable (also the decline in 2018 was more moderate in this community).

On the supply side, however, the trend with respect to 2018 is the opposite: there are fewer individuals renting or trying to rent a home of their own to others. From 6% a year ago, it has gone down to 5% in 2019.

If we make a territorial approximation, Catalonia is the only Autonomous Community that has registered a really significant decrease in the percentage of people over 18 who have offered a property to the rental market (from 6% to 4%), while in the others it has been much more moderate.

Supply and demand imbalance

If you look at the rental market as a whole, almost three out of four individuals who participate in it do so on the demand side and only 22% do so on the supply side. Also, 4% of people over 18 have participated in both sides of the market: as tenants (or applicants to be) and as landlords (who have rented or tried to rent a property owned by them).

The relative weight of each group over the total has varied notably with respect to 2018 – demand grows by 16 percentage points while supply falls by 14.

But what this distribution reflects is the growing imbalance between supply and demand by individuals in the rental market. Partly because of the increase in people who have tried to rent a house, but have not succeeded. And partly because, although individuals continue to be the main group of rental housing providers, this is a market in which new participants from the financial field have progressively entered in recent years.

Looking at the people who are on the demand side, there are two options: looking for a complete house or a room in a shared flat. The former are more numerous than the latter – as is logical – but the interesting thing is that, compared to 2018, the percentage renting a full house has increased. In addition, the transfer between the two groups also reinforces the interest in renting housing against the lease of a single room in a shared property.

Gender Distribution

Six out of ten people who have rented or tried to rent a house to live in over the last twelve months are women. The preponderance of women in the demand for rent is a common phenomenon that has already been observed on previous occasions.

This distribution between genders is even more pronounced in the younger age groups: between the ages of 18 and 24, three out of four people who have rented or tried to rent are female and only 25% are male. The weight of both sexes is more balanced after 35 years and among those aged 55 or over, men are the majority (66%).

When looking at lessors the gender distribution is turned around. Almost six out of ten landlords are men and the remaining four are women. Almost half of those who offer a property to the rental market live with their partner and children.

Among lessors, the age range of 55 to 75 years has gained the weight that the rest of the groups have lost (especially the youngest, 18 to 24 years old). Hence the average age of the landlord has passed from 48 to 50 years.

Price still main factor for tenants

When looking for a new rental property, the most important feature for tenants is still the price. Tenants put price importance as 8.7 out of 10, compared to 8.8 last year. Next in importance is not having to invest in renovations followed by having the required number of rooms.

Qualities to which tenants pay little attention include whether or not there is a pool available, or a storage room, as well as schools in the area, and communal areas (within urbanisations). These are the same as they were in 2018 confirming that value-added advantages are not among the main priorities for tenants.

Location

In 2019, 27% of those who rented a home to live in began their search in the same location where they already resided, but in a different neighbourhood. This is an increase of six points over 2018.

However, 26% start their search in their current neighbourhood, meaning more than half of prospective tenants who have rented a property in the last year began their search in the same town they lived in. This is slightly higher than the 49% who did this last year, but still lower than the 63% who did this in 2017.

The other significant change in relation to 2018 is the six point decrease in the number of tenants who began their search in a different province to the one they already lived in. This could be related to the motivations for the search including change of location for work or studies.