As detailed in Part 1, the style of the Report this quarter is substantially different from our previous reports, due to the effects of COVID-19 and the actions taken to stop it’s spread.
For part I click here
Whilst we carried out 96 valuations in the quarter, many of those were initiated earlier in the year, so that the statistics are less certain than normal. As usual, we have kept a record of the average difference between Asking Price and Actual Selling price, where we have been supplied with that information from reliable sources. There were fewer of these reported to us, but we continue the information from the previous quarter.
Average Difference Between Asking Price and Actual Selling Price.
Quarters of 2019
January to March – 7.61%
April to June – 10.69%
July to September – 9.7%
October to December – 11.29% – These figures are the average of a range from 0 to 16%
Quarters of 2020
January to March – 8.66% – This figure is the average of a range from -2.53% to -13.69%
April to June – 12.93% – These were biased towards the end of the period and ranged from -9.13 to -16.53%
So, like last year, where the discount increased by 40% from the quarter before, there has been a rise in the discount to 49%, and from a higher base.
Average Reduction in Asking Price
In our ‘Return of the Market’ report of 9th June 2020, the statistics regarding changes in Asking Price (not difference between AP and Selling Price) were gathered from 4th May to 8th June 2020. The result was –
‘The average of all the entries shows a discount of -12.70%, with significant variation from -3% to -36%.’
Extending that to 30th June, with less diligent searching, has changed the average discount to -12.96%. The average for the short period from 8th to 30th June is 15.10%, with variations from -3% to -28%.
Note that these do not include allowances for the non-Asking Price enticements being offered by developers, which effectively reduce the net price of the development, without announcing it as that to the market.
Changes in Multi-Listing Site – Resales Online
We found on 5th July 2020 that there were 23,835 properties of 100,000€ euro or more, which is a drop of -1.6% compared to 7th June 2020. However, there was a rise of those having a discount of -10% or more, from 16.5% to 17.22%. Not enough to be significant, but it does show prices in a downward direction.
Survey Spain Opinion on the Stats
It appears that the increase in the number of reductions in Asking Price, reflecting the scarcity of buyers, are due to sellers and agents encourage buyers by apparent ‘below market value’ and bargain prices. Some sellers will be concerned and really need the money to settle other debts or assume that the market is going to fall lower. The agents are keen for deals, as that’s the only way they can get commission income.
Having said that, as is evident from the quotes below, sales are proceeding on properties where there haven’t been major price changes. Buyers have their reasons for proceeding rather than missing the property that is right for them. Yes, there may be variations in the market, but most individual buyers are acquiring the property for the long term, and don’t want to miss the one that’s ‘The One’ for them to live in.
The Market Opinions
This quarter we went back to the professionals who had contributed to the ‘Return of the Market’ report, plus a few others, and asked two further questions.
- 1. What’s changed in the last month?
- 2. What you expect to happen over the remainder of the year?
Survey Spain Summary of the Answers Received.
- There is an active market, with continuing demand, some held over from before the lockdown, but also new from internet ‘surfing’.
- It affects all property values and all locations.
- Sellers’ Asking Prices are tending to drop overall, but larger properties especially are having to reduce their price to sell.
- Lower value properties and especially apartments are seeing a greater interest in balconies and terraces.
- The concerns and opportunities of Brexit, resurgence of Covid-19 and world recession are influencing opinions, with some buyers deciding if it’s going to happen again, they want to be somewhere they can enjoy.
Below are the answers received.
What’s changed in the last month?
1.1. Architect – Almeria
- “I did a survey for clients who are buying the property without viewing, and talking with a couple of estate agents, they told me the same. They have clients buying properties from the UK, without visiting them. These agents are selling through the internet showing photos and movies.”
1.2. Estate Agent – Marbella
- “We are seeing a gradual increase in enquiries, viewings (both virtual video viewings and ¨normal¨ viewings). From this weekend we have several bookings with Scandinavian clients arriving in Marbella.”
1.3. Estate Agent – Estepona
- “5 of the top 10 places where the world’s millionaires reside are in the EU, and all within easy reach of Costa del Sol. This has resulted in the early resurgence of demand in the top destinations in Marbella, Benahavis, Estepona and Sotogrande.”
1.4. Estate Agent
- Replying to a reminder about a survey – “Unfortunately, they decided that the virus warranted a reduced offer and the property has subsequently gone under offer with another client (and agent). They are still on the lookout for a property, but with a reduced budget so we shall see if we find something for them, and who knows maybe a survey will follow.”
1.5. Lawyer – Marbella
- “Somewhat unexpectedly we have seen the real estate business re-activate, to a point, and the feedback from operators is that there is a lot of interest from people who are just waiting to come over. Those who have completed developers’ transactions seem to be eager to come and enjoy their new properties. In short, I would say that we are working under moderate optimism.”
1.6. Mortgage Broker – Valencia
- “The number of mortgage enquires has increased significantly and last month we saw an increase of 29% in mortgage enquires compared to the month before, which had been our busiest month ever (in the past 14 years since we started). Prior to that, February was our highest, which was before the lock down. The conversion rate from enquiry to initial sign up (to start the initial process) is now back to pre-Covid levels.”
1.7. Insurance Broker – Marbella
- “We have noticed a general increase in activity over the past month, and we are seeing a lot more property sales being formalised than in previous months.”
1.8. Valuer – Almeria
- “Surprisingly, things don’t appear to have changed much! The local market (speaking to agents) has held up well and there appears to be very little downward movement on prices. Of course, the immediate future is dependent on there not being any major repercussions with flights continuing etc, but the international market is certainly holding its own, although the Spanish market will certainly suffer the most!”
1.9. Valuer – Balearics
- “Pre-Covid deals are being completed, but there was very little business being done during lock-down. Agents are commenting there is fresh stock on the market due to lifestyle changes/divorces/economic difficulty. Some of the larger agents with significant overheads are struggling, as though there are some deals, they are very thin on the ground.”
1.10. Valuer – Balearics
- “Sales: Around 50% of new residential developments are stopped. The new Work in Progress developments have had a sales drop of c.75% last month comparing with June 2019.
- Also, around 15% of earlier sales have been cancelled. Already showing prior to Covid-19, due to many new developments appearing in the last year, in some areas creating more than 300% of the offer that there was 3 years ago. Sellers and developers are keeping their prices, but offering promo discounts of around 5%.
- There is not much activity for Second Home sales, because there was no possibility of getting to the islands until a few days ago.
- Rents: Around 10-20% reduction.
- The Balearic economy has been specially affected by Covid-19 because the main income comes from tourism. Many tenants have lost jobs in hotels, airports, guides, bars, etc. Existing property owners are also offering rooms to get some income. There is much on offer but so little demand at the moment. Also, there is little demand for tourist apartments with the essential rent licenses
1.11. Valuer – Barcelona/Costa Brava
- “Investment market is alive, but there are fewer transactions because many investors are waiting for the market to go down. Note that it was already was around 5% down over the area before covid-19.
- Residential has few new sales. Investors have disappeared because there is little new demand, including for property with tourist licenses, with tourism gone this summer and probably the rest of the year. They are also waiting until the end of this year to buy at lower prices, which will increase the return thereafter.
- Homebuyers are nervous about their job situation and are also expecting a price reduction of around 10-15%.
1.12. Professional Entertainer Marbella
- “Hotels are really suffering, especially those that depend on passing trade. Appears to be more the top end as their clients may be more elderly and are more cautious. Lower priced hotels are suffering less.”
- “Many businesses are in deep trouble, especially in the leisure industry. We are boosting our insolvency department. When the government help to businesses stops, as it must, then many will not take their employees back and/or go out of business. Due to the cost of redundancy, paying up to one month wages for each year worked, that will bankrupt the business in any case. There will be a substantial rise in unemployment.”
1.14. Letting Agent
- “Phone has rung off the hook. Little available property in Andalucia as people choose to rent apartments and villas, where they can control who they meet, rather than large hotel dining rooms and the like.”
- However, up to 50% of apartment urbanisations have not opened the pools because of the expense and trouble with complying with the regulations re separation, limited numbers, multiple daily cleaning, etc. If one person comes down with the virus, the whole urbanisation can be closed. This is going to be a disappointment for many there for a holiday. Compounded by restrictions on the number of people on beaches. Last weekend (5th July) it’s reported that 55% of urban beaches were full, with people trudging from one to another trying to be allowed in. Not the one below though!
2. What you expect to happen over the remainder of the year?
2.1. Architect – Almeria
- “Regarding sales price, nothing. These will remain as before Covid 19, at least on properties located in this area, and those used as second residences.”
2.2. Estate Agent – Marbella
- “Think we will see a moderate increase of clients coming to Marbella to view property during the summer. However, as of September, this should increase significantly unless something dramatic happens forcing stronger measures to return – hopefully not!”
2.3. Estate Agent – Estepona
- “Confined to permanent residence in big cities with higher virus risks, lockdown has shown the wealthy that they don’t have to be there to have good healthcare and education for their families. I predict that Costa del Sol’s time in the investment ‘sun’ will continue for a long while to come. It’s not optimism, it’s logic.”
2.4. Lawyer – Marbella
- “My initial opinion (far from scientific) was that we would see a recovery by October, having discounted the summer as a lost period for the real estate. Then, I changed my estimation towards the beginning of next year, but now I am back to my initial opinion. Outbreaks permitting, we should see the market picking up by Autumn this year.”
2.5. Mortgage Broker – Valencia
- “With travel restrictions easing up, we believe the enquiries will continue at the same pace (for the short term at least). Prices are usually based on demand and from what we see our end, there is no let-up in people enquiring at the moment to buy their dream home in Spain.”
Insurance Broker – Marbella
- “I expect that we will see some pressure on prices in the closing months of the year as developers who have unsold stock will provide incentives to buyers to close sales. Recent weeks have seen a tightening of conditions for mortgage approvals with banks being prepared to lend lower percentages on loan to value ratios – and I suspect that this will continue throughout the year putting more pressure on demand.
- Hopefully, we shall also see the rise of ‘working from home’ combined with a desire to live in more rural areas will also see an increase in demand for property on the Coast.”
2.7. Valuer – Almeria
- “The virus appears to have been a catalyst for major changes in peoples’ perceptions of what they considered ´norms´ previously, so we can expect some huge changes in lifestyles, i.e. homeworking, more demand for properties with large terraces and gardens, less for apartments without terraces and bigger demand for ´local´ holidays (i.e. within Europe) and less for exotic locations with long flights, etc.”
2.8. Valuer – Balearics
- “The consensus seems to be we will see great falls in offer prices in autumn, when the economic situation is clearer.”
2.9. Valuer – Barcelona/Costa Brava
- “The situation will continue until the end of the year, with lower prices.”
2.10. Valuer – Balearics
- “The situation will remain during this year and probably all 2021, because although the economy will recover a bit next year, there is still so much more available than for the real demand.”
Survey Spain Opinion
- We have seen a resurgence of pre-acquisition building surveys instructions, which shows that buyers are there. Many appear to have resulted in interest in particular properties found while ‘surfing’ the internet during lockdown. The survey has two uses for our client; reassuring them that they know what they are taking on; and as a reliable, independent inspection when they can’t come to view the property themselves.
- We are relatively confident there won’t be a general collapse unless the world economy does, but certainly, prices on average will drop. Our ‘Return of the Market’ survey showed that average ranging from 0% for prime property to 40% for properties that had been overpriced for ages and were using the Virus as the ‘face-saving’ reason for the drop.
- The natural, cultural and leisure attractions will always be here, and no matter how economies go, there are always people making money and who want to spend it on a better life in Spain. That goes too for many who have found they can work from home and are seeking a lifestyle change for them and their family. Stuck inside with the kids and pets again on a rainy day, or relaxing on the terrace while the aforementioned play in the garden or pool? Not really a difficult choice!
Thank you all and compliments on your frankness, in alphabetical order –
Architect – Almería
Op de Beeck & Worth
Survey Spain Valuation Team
Wasa Real Estate
Take care and we’ll all get through this.
Just got to work out what sort of world it will be,
and what part we will play in it.