The darkest hour for the Spanish housing market?


One expert says the Spanish housing market is going through the worst period since the crisis began. It could be the darkest hour, just before the dawn.

The first quarter of this year was the worst “by far” for the Spanish housing market since the crisis began, argues Spanish real estate expert Eduardo Molet, quoted in the Spanish press. He also claims that the resale property market is “almost at a standstill.”

The end of tax breaks for buyers, the lack of mortgage financing, increasing unemployment, the introduction of Spain’s so-called “bad bank” (Sareb), the large-scale liquidation of homes with discounts of 50pc or more, and the collapse in house prices and confidence are all partly to blame, he argues.

It’s important to bear in mind that Molet is mainly talking about the domestic market for primary housing, which relies on local buyers. His comments are not as relevant to foreign demand for holiday homes on the coast, which appears to be starting to recover in some the best established areas like Marbella.

Personally, I think the foreign market is already past the worst, assuming it withstands the latest nonsensical moves by the Spanish Government to discourage foreign buyers (admittedly a big “if”). The domestic market will follow in due course, though I do not expect it to bounce back like it has in Florida and Dubai.



5 thoughts on “The darkest hour for the Spanish housing market?”

  1. Mike Goldberg

    Can you expand on the line your write : assuming it withstands the latest nonsensical moves by the Spanish Government to discourage foreign buyers (admittedly a big “if”

  2. Will needham

    Pretty certain he is correct for the market as a whole.

    The factors pushing down prices are still there.

    The upturn in sales was due to the banks massive reductions, by some banks, other banks are still holding stock at silly prices, which will have to be reduced in order to sell.

    Unemployment will continue to force foreclosures

    SAREB will trickle feed the market with cheap properties for some years to come and they haven’t really started yet.

    The top end of market will recover first or may already be recovering.

    The latest move by the Spanish ministry of property sales prevention to consider stopping private owners renting is completely idiotic and piles on even more uncertainty on the wood-be investor.

    Another thing that is not often considered is the demographic change in buyers, the number of aged 60+ retiree buyers is massively down and this will continue whilst people can’t afford to retire early and retirement ages edge upwards. It’s one thing moving overseas at 65, quite another at 70.

    Leaving the Euro seems to be the only thing IMO that will save Spain.

  3. Pearlfisher

    Dream on! As long as Spain remains in the Euro, along with the negative attitude of the Government the housing market in Spain is not going to recover for at least a decade! Potential buyers have no confidence in the Spanish property market, too many shady estate agents and lawyers.
    Membership of the Eurozone is destroying the Mediterranean countries, unless a method of devaluation can be found, the rot will continue to create more misery.

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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