NOTARIES: Sales surge and house prices rise in January

spanish property sales january 2016

The Spanish property market kicked off the year with a blast, as sales surged and house price increased, but the reality might not be as good as the numbers suggest.

There were 27,568 home sold in January (transactions witnessed in person by notaries) according to the latest data from the General Council of Notaries (see chart above). That represents an increase of 27% compared to the same time last year (next chart).

spanish property sales

However, the chart also shows that January 2015 was 11% down year-on-year (due to fiscal changes in recent years that have played havoc with sales in the Dec/Jan period), so this January’s big percentage increase might have more to do with weak sales last year than strong sales this year.

The notaries do not publish sales figures by region, so these numbers don’t tell us where the hotspots were, though it’s likely sales were up the most in Barcelona, Madrid, the most popular towns on the Mediterranean coast like Marbella, and the Balearic and Canary Islands.

HOUSE PRICES

spanish property prices

Average Spanish house prices (in terms of €/sqm) rose 2% in January compared to the same last year, having climbed from an annualised decline of 6% in January 2015( and -8% a year ago in March 2015).

The chart suggest that, although house prices have crawled back into positive territory (based on the price of property sold), they lack the momentum to rise fast anytime soon. And house prices are still 31% below their 2007 peak, according to this data.

In the context of the SPI House Price Index Tracker, which includes the seven most watched house price indices in Spain, the latest data from the notaries reinforces the picture of Spanish house prices stabilising in mildly-positive territory, after years of big declines.

Spanish property insight house price index tracker jan 2016

MORTGAGE LENDING

The most reliable way to work out where any advanced housing market is headed is to look at mortgage lending. If banks are enthusiastic about extending mortgages, then sales will go up. The latest figures show that banks are still keen to lend to people buying homes in Spain. There were 11,884 new mortgages signed in January, an increase of 30% over the same time last year (see next two charts).

spanish mortgage lending

spanish mortgage lending

CONCLUSION

Sales up 27%, mortgage lending up 30%, house prices up 2%: It looks like January was a great start to the year for the Spanish property market. However, as mentioned above, the figures might be somewhat misleading due the wild ups and downs in the percentage change of sales at the end of every year these last few years, for which Government tax policy can be blamed. Even so, it was an encouraging start to the year, as many commentators have worried that the political situation might put off buyers and undermine the recovery. That doesn’t appear to have happened in January.

Comments

comments

4 thoughts on “NOTARIES: Sales surge and house prices rise in January”

  1. Marty Popoff

    Obviously British ex-pats form a significant portion of the market in coastal areas such as the Costa del Sol. If Brexit were to occur, than potentially;

    a) Brits would no longer have an automatic visa for Spain meaning it would be harder for Brits who want to immigrate to Spain to get a visa,
    b) Brits who currently live in for a large portion of the year without permanent residence status in Spain would need to apply for visas,
    c) Brits would no longer qualify for Spanish Healthcare and other benefits under EU Law,
    d) Ten years ago foreigners paid a 35% capital gains tax whereas Spaniards paid 18%. This discrepancy was struck down by the EU based on the principal that an EU country could not discriminate against EU citizens based on their nation of origin. If Brexit occurs, Brits will not be EU citizens and so they would than be open to punative taxes similar to the one struck down last decade.

    Am I being alarmist or is the above analysis correct? How much of an impact could Brexit have on the market? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

  2. David

    Hardly a ‘surge’ in sales when January sales volumes were down on 9 out of 12 months for the past year!

    The possible Brexit is having a negative impact on confidence for expats and those considering a move to Spain, many worried Brits around. The fall (around 10%) in the £ against the Euro recently is also having a negative impact, making Spanish property a more expensive investment/purchase in sterling terms. OK for Brits selling in Spain if, and it’s a big IF, they can find a buyer!

  3. D. Snook

    Having purchased a property in 2007 for €105k euros and spent £12k on updating with furnishing Air-con and security grills. Paid the 80k debt of the Builder through the Community as well as paying over 1k a year in community fees. Todays VALUE. being €40-50k where do we stand if we sell up and return to the UK. The Builder & professional teams we purchased from have earned thousands our of the funds people like us that bought the properties we now own. The complex still waits for many parts to be completed (Road surface, and many other unfinished areas, A lift that had never worked after the first month (builder did not pay the bill) a Wall built stealing part of the complex ground, The Habitation Certificate still not granted.
    6 of the original purchasers have sold at great losses. We now through community fees have a fortress complex to stop the squatters moving in again. The complex administrators charges have doubles & the Bank have 16 of the unfinished units and do pay community fees but the builder has never paid the fees for any of the apartments he still owns.
    Yes we do have Court Case which was taken out for the in 2014 & still waiting for the outcome. The second try with a new Administrator. I would not advise anyone to purchase again but as we love Spain and are now retired. we carry on.

    We invested our life savings in this apartment and still pay €80-100 a month in community fees for the holiday home we spent 10 years to find.

    You say if we come out of the EU we would be charges more fees. I feel this would stop British purchaser in Spain. A big loss to your industry. The UK do not wish the Turkey to join the EU as they will only bleed the funds more than those that collect Billions of funds today.

    Why do you think Brexit is strong i the UK.

    Regards

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