The market shrank by less than previous quarters, but more reliable figures tell a different story.
Spanish home sales fell YOY by 6.3pc to 75,462 in Q3, according to figures released today by the Government (Fomento).
Bad as that may sound, it’s a big improvement on the declines in previous quarters this year, -30.4pc in Q1 and -40.8pc in Q2. Spanish papers like El Pais are choosing to emphasise this positive spin.
Sales in Q3 come after the Government announced new measures to stimulate the housing market like a 50pc reduction in VAT on new homes. One can only wonder how much more sales would have fallen without the stimulus.
The figures from the Department of Housing in the Ministry of Public Works (Fomento) are quarterly figures that I report because they are official figures from the government department responsible for housing. However, I consider the monthly sales figures published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) more reliable guide to what is going on in the market.
The latest figures from the INE (excluding social housing) show no signs of an improvement in Spanish property sales in Q3.
Then there are the latest figures from the Property Register, which I reported just the other day, showing a 32pc decline in Spanish home sales in Q3.
And given the collapse in new mortgage lending that is currently taking place, I think it’s fair to expect the year to end without any major improvement in overall sales.
But as always I should stress that national housing market figures do not reflect what is happening in all segments of the market. For quality property in the most desireable areas, annecdotal evidence suggests sales are steady.
You can consult all the latest housing market data from the Department of Housing (in Spanish) following this link