To be precise, the study found it takes 55.8 months on average to sell a new flat in the Barcelona metropolitan region, including the city centre.
Assume an average build time of 20 months, and new flats hang around on the market for close to 3 years after being built.
The study also found that closing sales in the off-plan phase is very difficult. In times gone by everything would sell off-plan.
By district, the most hopeless place to be a developer is the well-heeled district of Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, where it takes 82.6 months – or more than 6 years – to sell a new flat from the time off-plan sales start.
The best place to be a developer is the Old Town – Barcelona’s touristy Gothic Quarter (Ciutat Vella) – where it takes 34.6 months, and may have something to do with the fact that there are hardly any new flats to be found in a Gothic Quarter. Anyway, 34.6 months is still getting on for 3 years, so nothing to get excited about.
But however tough life is for promoters in Barcelona, they should spare a thought for their colleagues in coastal holiday-home regions like the Costa del Sol, where it takes between 70 and 80 months to put a development to bed, according to Aguirre Newman.
With these kind of sales times developers either have to have deep pockets or a very accommodating bank. No wonder so many of them have gone to the wall in recent years.