Unless it turns out to be a false dawn, the housing markets in the UK and the US may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Can the same be said for Spain? Spanish housing market experts can’t agree on the answer, according to an article online at the Spanish news site elconfidencial.com. Some say there are still big price falls in the pipeline, whilst others say prices are set to stabilise.
Real Estate Consultants Aguirre Newman say that Spanish property prices are still over-valued by 27%.
International investment bank Morgan Stanley say prices are still 10% over-valued, perhaps more considering that, by some measures, prices should fall by 58% from the peak. When you compare property prices to income and rents, Spanish property prices “should fall much more than in the US or the UK to return to adequate levels,” they argue.
And this week BBVA, Spain’s second largest bank, published a new report arguing that Spanish property prices will fall another 20% over the next couple of years.
Spanish savings bank Caixa Catalunya argues that the market is at or near its inflection point, with prices already starting to rise in some areas. Caixa Catalunya has many reasons to wish prices to rise, having been caught out more than most lenders by Spain’s property crash.
Global bank HSBC are also mildly optimistic that the worst is over. They point out that price falls are starting to decelerate (based on official figures that I would consider worthless) and that mortgage lending has picked up slightly. But they also note that other indicators like transactions are still highly negative, suggesting a shaky recovery at best.
Who’s right? Only time will tell. I, for one, am still in the bear camp when it comes to the overall market. But if you are talking about prime and A grade property, I’m not so sure. 2010 might be the year to pick up prime and A grade Spanish property at a great price. But to do so you’ll have to do your homework, and know your Spanish property segments.