The Ministry of Housing has published its figures for house sales in the first quarter. If the Ministry’s figures are correct (they often aren’t) non-residents bought just 513 holiday homes in Spain during the first 3 months of the year.
Last week Spain’s College of Property Registrars revealed that house sales rose by 7% year-on-year in the first quarter of the year. Now it is the turn of the Ministry of Housing to publish its figures on the number of transactions in the first quarter of the year. According to the Ministry, transactions were up in the first quarter by just 1.5%, to 106,302, whilst on a cumulative 12-month basis sales were down 8% to 465,318. Not including social housing, sales were up 3% to 96,155, compared to a fall of 36% at the same time last year.
According to the Ministry, the slight recovery in overall sales was driven entirely by improving sales of resale properties, which rose by 31%, whilst sales of new builds collapsed 22%. During the first quarter, 57% of transactions were resales, whilst 43% were new builds, none of which tallies with the figures published last week by the Registrars.
Sales increased over 12 months in places like Catalonia (+13,6%) The Balearics (+7,9%), Asturias (+4,6%), Madrid (+4,5%), The Valencian Region (+4%) and the Canaries (+1,4%), they fell in Murcia (-22%), Extremadura (-14,4%), Castilla La Mancha (-10,3%), Andalucía (-9,5%), Navarre (-7,8%), Cantabria (-2,8%) and Galicia (-0,6%).
The Ministry of Housing’s figures also reveal that foreign residents in Spain bought a total of 6,712 homes (6.4% of total transactions), up 33% on the same period last year (but down 9.5% compared to Q4 2009). Foreign residents tend to be economic migrants from places like Morocco and Ecuador buying primary homes in or around Spain’s big cities. They won’t help mop up the glut of holiday homes on the coast.
Risible level of holiday homes sales to foreigners
So what about sales of holiday homes to non-residents from places like the UK and Germany? There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of holiday homes for sale on the coast that will need to attract foreign buyers in large numbers if the holiday home glut is to be dealt with anytime soon.
Well, according to the Ministry’s figures, non-residents bought just 513 second homes in Spain during the first 3 months of the year, a rate of less than 200 sales a month. At that rate the glut of holiday homes will take many years to clear, with worrying long-term implications for the market. That said, at least there was a 6% improvement on the 484 holiday homes sold to non-residents in the same period last year.
But then again, maybe the Ministry’s figures are way off the mark. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Second home sales to non-residents broken down by selected region: