After several months of feisty growth the Spanish property market was stable in March, with the number of home sales almost exactly the same as last year.
There were 24,473 home sales in March (excluding social housing), so no change on the same month last year, according to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
Does that mean the Spanish property recovery has run out of steam almost before it started? Not necessarily. The lack of growth in overall sales probably has more to do with the continued plunge in new home sales, as the stock of saleable new homes dries up, than with a decline in demand. New home sales were down 42 per cent year on year, compared to an increase of 32 per cent in the number of resales.
Year to date, the market is still 8 per cent bigger than it was in the first quarter of last year. In Las Palmas (Canaries) and Barcelona’s real estate sector, the market is 30 per cent and 23 per cent bigger, respectively.
Taking the first quarter as a whole, resales were up strongly in all regions, especially areas where foreigners tend to buy second homes. On the other hand, new build sales were down heavily in most of those regions too.
On balance the latest figures suggest the following:
- The overall market has found a floor in sales, and does not look like it will shrink any further
- Areas that benefit from high foreign demand for second homes, like the Canaries and Catalonia, are doing better than areas that don’t
- Prime, consolidated coastal areas like the Canaries, Barcelona, and the Costa del Sol, are doing better than less consolidated areas like Almeria and Castellon (home to the Costa Azahar)
- There will be no sustainable recovery in any area until the supply of attractive new developments increases, which could take months or even years
SPANISH PROPERTY MARKET SUMMARY TABLE