The annual report on the Spanish property market by real estate market analysts R.R. de Acuña & Asociados has just been released. Considered one of the most influential annual reports on the sector, it’s not hard to see why hard pressed developers, banks, and Spanish property investors might not want to read it this year. It is unremittingly gloomy, especially with regard to the property market in coastal areas, where most holiday homes are concentrated. Long and detailed as the report is, here is a bulleted summary of the main points:
- “There are no green shoots around here,” said Fernando Rodríguez y Rodríguez de Acuña, president of the company, describing the state of the Spanish property market during a press conference introducing the report.
- At end of 2008 the supply of property for sale or under construction was 1,623,042, of which roughly 580,000 were resales, 500,000 newly built but unsold, and 470,000 under construction and nearing completion.
- Annual demand estimated as follows: 233,000 in 2008, and 218,000 in 2009.
- That means there are some 1,6 million homes on the market, whilst demand in the next few years is expected to run at around 220,000 homes. At current levels of demand it will take 6 to 7 years for the real estate sector to recover. So it could take until 2016 for the market to digest the current property glut.
- Looking at the market for holiday homes on the coast, local demand was estimated at 42,000 in 2008, expected to fall to 40,000 in 2009, whilst foreign demand for holiday homes on the coast was 21,000 in 2008, falling to 20,000 in 2009.
- The report singles out the coast as one of the areas with the biggest glut of property, and therefore the biggest problem that will take the longest to resolve.
- Higher priced market segments are also a problem; more expensive market segments are expected to take more than 6 years to clear, compared to 3 years or less at the cheaper end.
- The only way developers and banks will get rid of the glut of property in the medium term is selling at a loss.
- After falling 1.83% in 2008, overall prices will fall 9.55% in 2009, 9.32% in 2010, and 4.81% in 2011, a cumulative fall of just under 25.5% in nominal terms.
- After falling 3.32% in 2008, coastal prices will fall 11.28% in 2009, 7.98% in 2010, and 4.31% in 2011, a cumulative fall of 27% in nominal terms.
- Housing starts will fall to between 50,000 and 75,000 a year in the next few years, down from more than 700,000 in 2005. “The market situation doesn’t justify more building, and anyway the banks won’t lend money to build something that won’t sell,” said Fernando Rodríguez y Rodríguez de Acuña.
- Thanks to long lead times in the construction business, the full economic impact of the collapse in residential construction is yet to be felt. The darkest hour for the Spanish economy will come in the second half of 2010, when unemployment could reach 25%.
- Developers will go out of business in greatest numbers during 2010 and 2011. “It gets increasingly harder for developers to refinance with assets they either can’t sell or which are already mortgaged, and are increasingly devalued,” said Fernando Rodríguez y Rodríguez de Acuña, who predicts that 75% of developers will be wiped out in the next 5 years by a combination of too much debt, the market slump, and “bad management”.
- Recovery won’t come until 2013, by which time the sector will be just half the size it used to be, if that.
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