Trying to apply the ‘low cost’ model to property sales is all the rage in Spain. First came bus tours for bargain property hunters on the Costa del Sol. Now the first “low cost” property show in Barcelona has been declared a “great success” by the organisers, at least in terms of visitor numbers. More than 60,000 visitors attended the show in Barcelona over the weekend, looking for the bargains promised by the organisers.
Properties with discounts of 70% were said to be available, though exhibitors only had to offer an average discount of 30% to participate.
“Low Cost marks a turning point in the market, which we hope will continue,” said Enrique Lacalle, president of the trade fair, who also described it as a “great morale boost for the sector.”
Some of the exhibitors appeared to agree. “We made thousands of contacts and the impression we got is that we are going to have a lot of work in the next 3 or 4 weeks, when we have to close deals,” Juan Ollé, president of the API estate agents association, told the Spanish press. The API agents at the show reported dealing with 5,000 enquiries, the majority of them for flats in the Eixample district of Barcelona for less than 240,000 Euros.
“Let’s see if things change and start to recover from here on in,” one agent told the Spanish press. “We are leaving satisfied. In 3 days we got more leads than in the last 2 years.”
Opening the show, Beatriz Corredor, Spain’s Minister of Housing, declared that “dropping prices to a level that ordinary people can afford is not about giving up a benefit but taking advantage of an opportunity.”
Talking about Spain’s growing new housing glut, Corredor said that “it is the best photo of what we have been, and what we never want to be again. We can’t continue building like we have in the last 10 years, neither in terms of quantity nor quality.” She also warned that “30% of the unsold housing inventory cannot be considered adequate housing for a family, either because of its location, or because it lacks basic services and facilities like schools and health centres.”