Property market dives 16pc in March

After a promising start to the year, the property market slumped in March to the lowest level in 5 years.

Excluding social housing there were 28,110 sales in March, down 16pc over 12 moths and 28pc over 1 month.

Compared to March 2007, the market was down 59pc in volume terms, and probably around 70pc in value terms (my estimate).

Both new and resale transactions fell by more than 10pc to around 16,500 each.

The following table summarises mothly sales for the last 5 years:

Spain’s March slump might have been due to the abolition of mortgage tax relief at the start of the year, which brought forward the inscription of sales in the property register into January and February. So it’s still too early to tell if March was a one-off drop or the first sign of a double-dip recession in the housing market.

And despite the March slump in sales, the market was still up 4pc in Q1 compared to last year, thanks to stronger sales in January and February.

To put it in perspective, Spain did better than the US, where home sales were down 3pc in Q1, something that hasn’t happened since the depths of the recession 3 years ago. US house prices also fell 8.2pc in Q1, as explained in the following report from CBS News.

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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.