HOUSING MARKET: Recorded sales up in February, but growth is lower

spanish property market february 2017 home sales

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Home sales inscribed in the Land Registry were up an annualised 3% in February 2017, led by the Costa Dorada and Barcelona, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

There were 31,808 home sales inscribed in the Land Register in February (reflecting sales closed in the previous two or three months), up 3% on the same month last year, and the largest number of February sales since 2011.

However, this was the smallest annualised increase in sales for any month since July last year, which might mean the recovery is losing steam. But it’s just one month, so maybe not. We’ll have to wait and see a few more months to identify a trend.

As always, it’s important to bear mind that the INE’s figures are based on sales inscribed in the Land Register, not actual sales that took place in February. As such they lag the market by about two or three months. Actual sales may have changed by more in February, but we’ll have to wait until the Notaries publish their data to find out.

Recorded new home sales plunged 18% in February, the biggest decline since January 2016, and a reversal in trend towards positive numbers over the last year. However, the stock of finished new homes for sale that people actually want to buy is relatively small, so the numbers are volatile. Also, new homes may be selling off-plan in greater numbers, but those sales won’t show up in any official figures for more than a year.

spanish property market february 2017 home sales

Home Sales by Spanish Region

By selected region (where foreigners tend to buy), the biggest increase took place in Tarragona (Costa Dorada) +22%, followed by Barcelona +15%, Tenerife +12%, and Girona (Costa Brava) +11%. There was a surprise fall in the Balearics -4%, a region that led the growth in sales for most of last year. But I suspect that the explanation for this might be that the stock of homes for sale in the Balearics is falling, whilst demand is rising, so sales can fall (at least in some months) whilst prices rise.

spanish property market february 2017 home sales

All in all another month of positive sales figures from the Spanish property market, though time will tell if the lower growth in February is the start of a trend or not.

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