HOUSE PRICES: Latest figures a mixed bag

Spain has variety of house price indices that are widely reported in the Spanish press, and often tell different stories. I put them all on the same page, so at least we can see where the confusion is coming from.

These widely reported figures, which also find their way into the international press, are based on different types of data, analysed with different methodologies. So it’s not surprising they differ. Three are based on transactions, two on valuations, and two on asking prices.

In these updates I don’t have the time to go into the details of each. The best I can do is help you see them all on one page. Overall I still get the impression from these figures that the worst of the Spanish house price crash is behind us when it comes to the country as a whole.

And bear in mind that, though national average house prices are worth keeping an eye on for the big picture, but they are almost meaningless when it comes to local markets, which can be going in different directions. Buyers and vendors need to look for local market data when making buy/sell decisions. The picture I get from popular local markets that attract foreign buyers is that prices are stable or rising when it comes to attractive property.


Spanish house prices

Tinsa house price index May 2016, by type of region

House prices based on valuations by Spain’s leading appraisal company Tinsa were up 1.3% on average in May, led by a 3.5% increase in the Balearics and Canaries, and a 1.6% increase on the Mediterranean coast. Peak to present house prices on the coast are still down 48% and by 29.8% on the islands.


Average asking prices in the Idealista property portal database fell by an annualised 3.4% in May to 1,537 €/m2.


Asking prices in the Fotocasa property portal database fell 0.9% in May, to an average of 1,620 €/m2. “In the year so far, our house price index is showing very small declines, less than 1%, indicating that the price of housing in Spain is stabilising,” explains Beatriz Toribio, head of research at Fotocasa. “And as happened in 2015, in some areas of Catalonia, Madrid, the Canaries, the Balearics, and parts of the Mediterranean coast, they are rising.”


Average house prices rose 6.3% in Q1 compared to the same period last year, according to the official house price index published by the INE.

New home prices were up 6.1% and resales up 6.4%.

Prices were up the most in the Madrid region (+9.7%), followed by the Balearics (+8.8%), Catalonia (+8.6%), the Canaries (+5.9%), Andalusia (+5.5%), and the Valencian region (+5.1%).



All the latest house price index figures are on the chart above highlighted in yellow. Asking prices (Fotocasa and Idealista) are still falling, though less than before. Valuations (Tinsa) are stable in slightly positive territory, whilst the INE figure based on transaction data (sourced from the Registrars) is up near the Registrar’s index (which uses a repeat sales methodology), as you would expect.

Why are the figures from the Registrars so much better than others? This is how a reader called Alex explains it in a recent comment to another article on Spanish house prices:

The index actually measures the aggregate change on a national level between the price at which a property was purchased and the price at which it was sold. So what this tells us is that owners were selling for 6.56% more profit at the end of 2015 compared to the end of 2014. While the overall trend can be compared, you cannot compare the actual figures in this index and pure sales price indexes as they are not measuring the same thing. That’s why the figure of 6.56% is so far off when compared with other indicators.



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