The real estate servicer Anticipa forecasts that 2016 will finish with Spanish home sales up 9.3% and prices up 5.5%. Servicers are companies that manage and sell large property portfolios, usually on behalf of banks.
In their latest Spanish real estate market report for the period 2016-2018 Anticipa go on to forecast that sales will rise 8% to 454,000 in 2017, and a further 6% to 480,000 in 2018, having finished this year on 419,000.
Josep Oliver, an economics professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), who prepared the report on behalf of Anticipa, explains that 450,000 home sales per year is about the limit for Spain, given current economic conditions, and in the absence of significant immigration.
The report agrees with the widespread belief that the Spanish property market is recovering, attributing this fact to Government reforms and the extra loose policy of the European Central Bank. But it also points out that the market is still a long way from the sales and price levels reached in the boom. By volume and value, the Spanish real estate market is still less than half what it was nine years ago in 2007.
Even in 2018, when Anticipa forecast annual home sales of 480,000, a rise of 68% compared to the crisis nadir of 285,000 in 2013, that will still be less than half the 908,000 homes sold in 2006, just to put the current ‘recovery’ into perspective.
Giving the same comparative treatment to house prices, which Anticipa forecast will have risen 20% by end 2017, after bottoming out in 2013, that will still leave them 24% of their peak of 2007, all according to the figures used by Anticipa.
“It’s a recovery, but in absolute terms it’s a long way from what you can call a boom, which means it is more sustainable,” explains Oliver. In other words, let’s not get too excited.