In the queue of people lining up to take advantage of the Spanish property crash, Spaniards themselves are somewhere near the back. Foreign investors are taking much more advantage than local families, claims a local estate agency franchise network called Alfa Inmobiliaria, with 110 offices around Spain.
Just one quarter of the homes sold in Spain today are purchased by Spanish families, say Alfa. The remaining 75% are bought by investment funds, in particular foreign investors, they claim.
The market may be showing signs of recovery, but Spanish house prices are still at the bottom of the curve, claim Alfa. That would imply this is the best time in the cycle to be a buyer with access to capital.
Big funds with foreign capital buying large portfolios of repossessed homes are taking biggest advantage of the moment, say Alfa. However, foreign individuals, including pensioners looking for retirement homes, are also bottom-fishing in Spain. Foreigners are taking much better advantage of this market than local buyers, according to the picture that Alfa paint.
What’s holding Spanish buyers back?“Many of the people coming into our offices are opting to rent over buying, because of job insecurity,” explains Jesús Duque, VP of Alfa, referring to Spanish clients in comments to the local press. “We’re not talking about the unemployed, we’re talking about people with stable jobs.”
70% of Alfa’s clients choose renting over buying, even though the vast majority have jobs, and could get financing. Faced with an uncertain future, many Spaniards still lack the confidence to go ahead and buy.
Alfa also blame foreign funds for driving down property prices whilst bleeding Spain dry of capital. Neither argument is correct, but it suits Alfa to blame foreign investors whilst trying to drum up protectionist advantages for its own investment fund.