Industry insider calls the bottom of the housing market

The Spanish housing market is at the bottom, and now is the time to invest, says the head of CBRE in Spain.

cbreCBRE: el mercado inmobiliario español ha tocado fondo” or in English “the spanish housing market has touched bottom” – that’s the headline of an article in the business section of today’s edition of El Mundo – one of Spain’s most popular daily papers.

“The arrival of big investors like Goldman Sachs and Blackstone buying large portfolios shows that the Spanish property market has touched bottom and now is the moment to invest,” says Alfonso Galobart, head of CBRE Spain, quoted in El Mundo. “Spain, as a country, no longer has the risks it had five years ago, and that makes it much more attractive.”

CBRE, an international property consultancy, forecast that Spain will attract 4 billion Euros in real estate investment from abroad this year, back to levels last seen in 2004, before the crisis.

CBRE say retail commercial property has been the most sought after in 2013, whilst “strong growth in tourism in 2013” has favoured the recovery of the property sector linked to tourism. They expect this to continue in 2014, especially in coastal areas and the islands.

There may be a glut of homes for sale in Spain, but the price of property in prime areas “has finished its adjustment,” says Galobart. “In cities like Madrid, San Sebastian, on the La Rioja region, we expect modest house price increases, although this will depend on an improvement in the economy.”



9 thoughts on “Industry insider calls the bottom of the housing market”

  1. tony foley

    Yes prices have dropped but still don,t reflect the reality of the domestic economy which as you know is not in a good place.Property prices are still not reflecting the wage levels in Spain and therefore have quite a bit to go before the bottom is reached

    1. juan de gales

      Reached the bottom? I don’t think so. prices are still falling, The same houses have been for sale for years. Where I an houses that are for sale have not had any viewings for 6 months and more.

  2. Mike Dyson

    The article refers mainly to commercial retail property and institutional investment; that sector may have ‘completed it’s adjustment’ but the headline misleads as the residential sector is still a long way from recovery and not helped by the recent ‘Transparency Index’ published this week showing Spain’s corruption perception as having worsened over the past year.

  3. scousemick

    I believe that Spanish house prices will bounce back when the Spanish government reduces the tax burden on property purchases. You only have to look at the number of property sales last year before and after property tax was increased. In addition to this property sales and purchases and other taxes should be standardised throughout the county, thereby preventing hot and cold regions.

  4. Paul

    I think there is still a lot more ‘pain before gain’ because unfortunately what these folks are saying does not fit with what is actually going on on the ground. Only this summer I have witnessed first hand the dire state of some of the unfinished urbanisations that were abandoned in the downturn and have now deteriorated to such a state that the remaining properties are almost unsaleable.
    Do these people ever go and look on the ground before compiling these reports or just swallow up some paper data?

  5. Chris Nation

    In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davis, “They would say that, wouldn’t they?”

    This chirpy report originates with a real estate agent. A great big corporate one with lots of number-crunchers in the back offices, to be sure. But that doesn’t mean to say it is not doing just what a sole-trader agent of my aquaintance did 5-6 years (!) ago – trying to tempt buyers corporate and otherwise out from behind our sofas to take a punt by “calling the bottom of the market”.

    It’s not estate agents who call the bottom of the market. Buyers do that.

    And who would be an estate agent in Spain anyway, with the daft legislation and taxes regularly emerging from Madrid and provincial gov?

  6. Robert

    Transactions costs? – High.
    Unemployment? – High
    Mortgage Availability? – Low.
    Taxes? – High.
    Confidence? – Low.
    Supply and Demand? – mainly lots of supply.
    Buy to Rent ratio – High (above 25 for just about everywhere)
    Speed at which the majority of Spaniards adjust to new realities? – Glacial. (I blame the press and TV)
    But the foreigners are buying? – They always did, for more than 30 years now. 90% of sales are to Spaniards.
    But London has recovered then so should Barcelona and Madrid? – Central London is not full to the rafters with flats, Madrid and Barcelona will recover on a different timeline.

    Oh’ but some of the big funds are investing, right? correct, however they are not investing in the same game as the majority. They will be gone when it’s time to sell to the pension funds and the bag holders.
    Oh’ but when everything is negative that’s when you jump in right? – sometimes, you only allocate capital to value. There will always be pockets of value in certain locations or under specific circumstances, e.g. following a death or divorce, I don’t like thinking like that, but it is life.

    Could I be wrong? – Of course.

  7. EnglishDragon

    I’ve been here in the capital city a couple of months, and have already met several new owners of properties. They’ve taken the opportunity to buy at lower prices in order to rent out particularly to tourists. Time will tell whether their investments pay off (many are renting via the web) but it does seem to confirm that the housing market is moving again, at least for now.

  8. Terry

    Buying property in Spain still has exactly the same risks it had 5 years ago. People are still having their homes demolished despite using lawyers etc. The situation has not improved and if anything has got worse. Buyer beware.

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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