HOME SALES IN DECEMBER 2020: Dismal year ends on a positive note

The latest home sales figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), and the Association of Spanish Notaries, show sales increasing in December 2020, to finish of a dismal year on a positive note.

The figures from the notaries relate to sales complete in the month, whilst the figures from the INE relate to sales registered in the land registry that month, so the INE figures lag the market by a month or two. See bottom for more detail on the difference between the two sources.

According to the notaries, there were 59,548 sales completed in December, up 1.9% compared to the previous year.

According to the INE, there were 36,109 sales inscribed in the Land Registry in December, up 4% on last year.

The following charts show monthly sales volumes from both sources, comparing 2019 and 2020. The Covid-19 pattern is obvious, with sales plunging at the start of the pandemic and lockdown, then more or less recovering in the rest of the year, but not enough to make up for the sales lost in the lockdown.

The year-on-year change in monthly sales tells the same story.

If you look at the 12-month rolling change in sales (yoy) you get a better feel for the underlying trend. You can see the market was already on the skids before the pandemic struck, for reasons I will look at in the full year review to come soon.

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, with a significant increase in December. But new homes are just 20% of the market, so the real action is in the resale market.

Spanish home sales by selected region – December 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 had another bad month, whilst more niche markets like Galicia, the Costa Brava, and the Costa Tropical had a good year’s end.

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