Land prices down 65pc claims one industry-insider

Urban land prices are down 65pc since the peak according to research by R.R. Acuña & Asociados, a consultancy specialising in the real estate market.

But it gets worse. “The price of poorly located land outside of metropolitan areas is symbolic,” says Fernando Rodríguez y Rodríguez de Acuña, quoted in the Spanish press. In other words, everything but well-situated urban land has lost most of its value, in some cases by 100pc.

Of course that is just the opinion of R.R. Acuña & Asociados, and many in the industry would disagree with them.

But even if they are half-right, it highlights a problem for banks and developers holding inferior-grade land with a capacity to build 575,000 homes, according to research by R.R. Acuña.

Insolvent, and bankrupt too

“Bearing in mind the expected deterioration in prices and the time it takes to develop this land, one can conclude that actual market prices are far below those reflected on balance sheets,” says Rodríguez, meaning that “many developers are not only insolvent but bankrupt too.”

Banks and developers are holding stocks of building land with a capacity for 2.7 million new homes, and land re-zoning projects for another 1.43 million homes, all paid for with 143 billion Euros of loans, equivalent of more than 10pc of Spanish GDP.

The biggest stock of land is in Andalucia, followed by Catalonia and The Valencian Community (see graphic above; bigger version here).

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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com.