Another clutch of downbeat news stories from the Spanish housing market
The value of house sales fell 37.5pc in 2011, according to new figures from the Government (Fomento). There were 307,931 home sales last year (excluding social housing), valued at 50.5 billion Euros, 37.5pc down on the year before.
More or less the same story, but from a different source, comes the news that there were 370,204 home sales last year (including social housing), according to the property register (registradores.org). That Spanish housing market is now the smallest it has been since the Property Register started publishing this data series back in 2005. Transactions fell 11pc in the last quarter of the year.
The registrars also published this chart which illustrates how the market is dominated by just four regions: Andalucia, Madrid, Catalonia, and the Valencian Community. Between them they make up almost two thirds of the market, and it is useful to keep this in mind when reading stories about ‘the Spanish property market’.
Resale asking prices fell an annualised 3.4pc in the first quarter of this year, according to the asking price index published by Idealista.com, a leading portal. “The difficult access to credit, and the measures introduced by the Government to force banks and the real estate sector to continue the house price adjustment will probably maintain prices falls for the rest of the year,” said Fernando Encinar, head of research at Idealista. However, he also added that “today you can find homes at prices that seemed unthinkable, especially from the estate agents that are getting the best discounts in the market.” One man’s pain is another man’s gain.
New planning approvals fell an annualised 31pc in January to just 4,698, according to the Government (Fomento). At this rate there might not be any house-building industry left to speak of left. Back in the boom home builders were the lords of the economy. How the mighty are fallen.
And finally, BBVA, one of Spain’s biggest banks, says the market will continue shrinking and house prices falling until 2013. They expect transactions to fall an additional 20pc and prices 15pc before the market bottoms out.
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 email@example.com.