Sales of bank repos fell substantially in 2013, due to a combination of declining demand and banking incompetence in real estate matters.
Spain’s seven biggest banks plus the Sareb “bad bank” sold a total of 88,321 homes last year, a big reduction on sales in 2012 (see table).
The biggest decline in sales came from Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, where sales fell by 50pc from around 30,000 in 2012 to 15,000 last year. Santander sold its real estate division Altamira to the US fund Apollo for $700 million in 2013.
The fall in sales was even more serious at Bankia, a nationalised bank. Bankia’s sales of homes fell from 14,600 in 2012 to just 4,800 last year, a decline of more than two thirds.
Banco Sabadell, on the other hand, managed to increase sales from 13,777 units in 2012 to 18,501 in 2013, generating a sales income of €3.12 billion, an increase of 40pc on the previous year.
Aggressive pricing by Solvia, its real estate division, helped increase sales, which included 1,872 homes to non-resident holiday home buyers last year.
Bank dominance partly explains why the Spanish real estate market is in such trouble. Banks don’t know how to sell homes, especially holiday-homes to foreigners. If it weren’t for the banks, sales volumes would probably be higher, and the market would recover quicker.