What happens to the Spanish property market in December?

What happens to the housing market in December? Is there any activity? Read what the professionals have to say.

I asked some estate agents in my network of professionals what to expect of the market in December, when Christmas is distracting people, and many of Spain’s beach destinations are off-season. It turns out December is a good month to go bargain-hunting, as vendors are more open to offers with less buyers around. Savvy buyers should be out house-hunting in December.

But the situation varies by region. Here is the feedback I received on various regions from professional agents in my network who were able to respond to my question at short notice. We start with Tenerife in the Canaries, where the market is explained in more depth because December is high season in the Canary Islands.

Tenerife in the Canary Islands

Andy Ward, Owner of Tenerife Estate Agents

December in Tenerife is a very busy month for property sales. Enquiries pick up after Summer with lots of clients arriving in October and November to view properties. Many of those who manage to find the right property at the right price will be completing their purchases in December. The second week of December can be somewhat difficult with 2 public holidays meaning a 3 day week at the busiest time of the year!

By the 2nd week of December rental occupancy is up around 80% as the “Swallows” from Northern Europe arrive for their annual 2 to 12 weeks in the Canarian warmth. With the temperature on the coasts rarely dropping below 20C, the Canary Islands have one of the best Winter climates in Europe, and rental income over this time peaks with demand.

With so many people here, all generally over 50 and many with money to spend, sales rise and rise with enquires peaking in January right after New Year. These are real buyers who want to ensure that they have their own place here in the sun which gives them their guaranteed holiday accommodation every Winter as opposed to competing for what is essentially a limited supply of holiday rental properties.

My advice to sellers is that the best time of the year to list your property is September / October. This gives them two solid opportunities to sell – once before Christmas and another right after.

During the holidays themselves – from around 18th December until 7th January, enquiries do still continue to come in and those fortunate enough to be spending Christmas and New Year on the island are keen to view and make offers.

The “Buyers Market” in Tenerife is very much over these days as demand from Belgian and Italian clients has driven demand up to the point where they seriously compete with British buyers. If selling in Tenerife then ensure your agent is catering to the British market and definitely also to the Belgian / Dutch market. If you are selling anything around 100,000€ or less – the Italian buyers are snapping up these budget offerings.

Barcelona

François Carriere, Managing Director of Coldwell Banker in Spain and Andorra.

barcelona property in the snow

Barcelona on a winter’s day

The property market in Barcelona is generally busy until the 15th of december and then decreases significantly until it picks up again after the holidays in January. This December, after a strong year, we see a significant shortage of good opportunities for buyers, especially in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, and the Balearics.

Costa Blanca & Murcia

Paul Payne, Sales & Marketing Director of Masa International.

North Costa Blanca

We have noticed the buying season has become a lot more even throughout the year over the last 2 to 3 years. Strangely, December last year was our best month of 2015, and so far this December has been an average month for the year in terms of sales in the Costa Blanca and Murcia. We still have viewing trips and appointments in December, but things tend to be very quiet from the third week in December until the second week of January. I should add that December is great time for buyers to experience the area at its quietest. This gives a real insight to what it is like to live in Spain during the winter months. There are less people around but still lovely, warm weather and plenty of sunshine.

La Manga Club, Murcia

Paul M Killick, Managing Director of Design Home Sales in La Manga

La Manga Club

December is slower than other months in La Manga, but those clients who do view are more serious about buying a property, and negotiate harder hoping that a vendor will accept a lower price than in more buoyant times such as Easter. This makes sense because vendors are more likely to accept an offer in December, or make a counter offer in an effort to compromise and not turn away an opportunity. So the months of November to January are better for bargain-hunters than April to June.

Marbella, Costa del Sol

Christopher Clover, Managing Director of Panorama Properties in Marbella.

Marbella has had a 12-month season unlike any other resort city on the Mediterranean Basin. With this 12 month season, there is far more activity here than in most other Spanish resort areas off season, and consequently, there are enquiries for properties and clients for viewing even in these months like December. Given the substantial increase in tourism in 2016, we have seen more tourists (including homeowners) present in December than ever before. All of this is a positive note for our market, since it is well known that quality tourism is a major source for real estate sales. And even though a buyer is less likely to come in the winter months, it is probably the best time to place a property on the market to allow the property to be included in advertising and promotion when the market gets going again in February.

Menorca, Balearics

Colin Guanaria, Founding Partner of Bonnin Sanso.

Menorca Mahon property

Mahon, capital of Menorca (Minorca)

December historically a quiet month for sales in Menorca.It is difficult to get flights from UK(only 1 per week from Gatwick).Buyers have to come via Palma,Barcelona or Madrid.Despite this December 2016 will be our busiest ever since we started in 1988.Of the 53 sales that will be completed before the end of the month 18 are UK buyers,3 Fench and the rest local or mainland Spanish buyers.If you want to sell put your property on the market as soon as possible.Buyers trawl the internet 7 days a week 52 weeks of the year.

Prices are stable but UK venders can be more flexible in negotiating as the pound/euro rate has fallen.

Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, Andalusia

Juan Hernández, Head of Inmonieve

Sierra Nevada, Photo credit: Hernan Piñera via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

It’s the high season so not a bad month, especially if there is good snow like this year. Serious buyers who know how to buy well come in summer, when vendors aren’t getting good rental income and are keener to sell. But there are also buyers in December, and it’s a good month for marketing, getting enquiries that will end up buying at a later date.

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

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