2013 might turn out to be the bottom of the Spanish property downturn, but not the year the recovery started.
The Spanish housing market shrank 8pc in October and 13pc in November, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
Excluding social housing, there were 20,643 sales in October, and 20,070 in November, down an annualised 8pc and 13pc respectively.
The 13pc decline in November can be partly explained by end of tax breaks for buyers at the start of 2013, which inflated sales at the end of 2012, making annualised declines bigger than they would otherwise have been.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the Spanish property market is still deep in the doldrums, despite a recent increase in purchases by foreigners.
Over 11 months to the end of November sales were 1pc lower than the same period a year before.
With December’s figures yet to come it looks like the market will finish the year more or less with the same sales volume as 2012. That would be a significant improvement on the 12pc decline 2012/2011.
However, it’s a safe bet that, when the figures come out in a couple of months, there will be a big annualised decline in the number of sales registered this January, thanks to distortions caused by the end of mortgage tax relief at the start of 2013. When that news breaks it doesn’t mean that the market has plunged again, just that the distortions caused by fiscal changes are wearing off.
The following table summarises monthly home sales since 2007 (excluding social housing):