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HOME SALES IN NOVEMBER 2020: Stability, but no recovery

The latest home sales figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), and the Association of Spanish Notaries, show the market more or less stable in November 2020, which suggests the sales lost to Covid will never be recovered.

This month I’ll try a different approach. Instead of looking first at the figures from the notaries, and then at the INE, I’ll present both together where the figures are comparable.

First, the overall home sales figures per month from both sources. According to the notaries there were 48,251 sales completed in November, down 1% in a year, and according to the INE there were 39,653 sales inscribed in the land registry, up 3%.

Comparing monthly sales in 2019 and 2020, there’s an obvious similarity in charts from both sources, as you would expect. Both tell a story of a big drop in sales at the start of the pandemic, followed by a return to the sales levels of 2019 in Q3. But what is also clear is that the sales lost in Q1 and Q2 were not recovered in Q3 and Q4. About 20% of sales last year were lost for good. Click on the images to enlarge.

Looking at the annualised change in sales in the charts below, you see the same thing from a different angle. Sales recovered, and even increased slightly (the notaries’ figures pick this up quicker), but not enough to compensate for the earlier plunge in sales.

If you look at the 12-month rolling change in sales (yoy) you get a better feel for the underlying trend (charts below). You can see the market was already trending down before the pandemic struck, then plunged when it did, and then stabilised in the summer about 15% to 20% down, from where it has not yet recovered.

New and resale transactions

The INE also give a breakdown of sales between new and resales. We can see that new home sales have fared better over the crisis than resales, at least so far. But new homes are just 20% of the market.

Spanish home sales by selected region – November 2020

The INE also provide a breakdown of sales by region. Using these figures to look at regions of most interest to foreign investors we see that traditional hotspots like the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, and the Balearics were still falling by double digits in November, whilst the popular Catalan coasts of the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada were up by double digits (left chart below). It’s a mixed picture, but it’s also just one month.

Looking at the year-to-date picture (right chart), you can see how much damage the pandemic has done to different regions over a longer time frame. It looks like the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca are going to end 2020 down by almost 25%. Let’s just hope that means lots of pent-up demand that will come back when the virus is under control.

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