‘Low Cost’ property exhibition back in Barcelona

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The so-called ‘Low Cost’ property exhibition was back in Barcelona at the end of last week for 3 days of what the organisers claim are big discounts and juicy deals for bargain-hunting home buyers. But press reports suggest that visitors weren’t that impressed with the discounts of up to 46%.

The point of the ‘Low Cost Barcelona’ property fair (organised by Barcelona Meeting Point) is “everything at the best price”. The cost of exhibiting is kept down by a no-frills show, and 95 exhibitors, including banks, developers and estate agents, were expected to roll out their very best deals.

For example, a 40m2, 1-bed flat with communal pool in the centre of Blanes, on the Costa Brava, was offered at the show for 99,000 Euros, down from 145,000 Euros, a discount of 32%. A 41m2 flat in Barcelona’s funky Gracia district was going for 220,000 Euros, whilst a flat in Tortosa, the capital of a region popular with British buyers, was going for just 68,000 Euros. Not all the bargains look cheap, though. On flat in the Illa building on Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal was offered for 970,000 Euros, down from 1.2 million, a discount of 20%.

According to press reports the show wasn’t as busy as last year, perhaps in part due to clash with the Sant Jordi public celebrations in Catalonia. On the other hand, exhibitors are reported to have said that the quality of leads was better this year, with less time wasters.

But some press reports suggest that visitors weren’t impressed with the discounts on offer, and finance is still a big problem. “In many cases we find that people don’t have enough savings to buy a home, and now it is difficult for lenders to cover more than 80% of the flat’s valuation,” one industry insider told the Spanish press.

But surely, if ordinary punters can’t afford to buy homes with 80% mortgages doesn’t that suggest that prices are still too high, at least in relation to incomes? “People need to realise that price falls have a limit,” Marisela González, director of residential property at BNP Paribas Real Estate, told the Spanish press. True, but who’s to say we are there yet?

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