Spanish home sales in December last year set almost a record high, illustrating quite how buoyant Spain’s housing market is despite the ongoing repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
There were 72,023 residential Spanish property sales completed in December 2021 (+17% year-on-year), according to the latest figures from the Spanish notaries’ association, shown in the chart above (year-on-year change shown by the dark line / right-hand axis). Here we just look at the monthly figures, leaving the annual figures for next week.
Comparisons to 2020, when the pandemic first struck with lockdowns and travel restrictions, can be misleading, so how did December compare to the same month in 2019, before the pandemic? Sales were up 26%, showing that the market has more than recovered the ground it lost to the pandemic. The Spanish housing market is undergoing a post-pandemic boom in sales.
Looking at just December sales going back to the year 2007, when the Spanish economy was in the grip of a credit-fuelled property bubble that crippled the country for years after it burst, the market was boiling hot in December 2021, with the highest level of sales on record excluding December 2010 – a month when repossessions counted as sales distorted the market and can be ignored. You can see in the next chart how December sales have been steadily recovering since the market bottomed out in 2013, and ended 2021 higher than they were in the boom-year of 2007.
Before looking at regional sales, my favourite chart for the big picture is the 12-month rolling total (blue columns left axis) and the annualised change each month (dark line right axis) below. The chart clearly shows the ups and downs of the Spanish property market cycle; you can see how the market was already turning down at the start of 2018, and then plunged with Covid-19 at the start of 2020, before embarking on an extreme recovery in 2021.
Home sales by Spanish region – December 2021
Looking at residential property sales in the regions of most interest to foreign buyers you can see that sales were significantly higher than last year in all regions except Madrid, where sales were a fraction lower than the year before. The increase in sales was highest in the Canaries (+44%) and the Balearics (+41%), followed by Andalusia (+29%), the Valencian region (+26%) and Murcia (+25%). Sales growth in Catalonia (+12%), where property for sale in Barcelona is the biggest segment, was modest in comparison.
If you look at regional sales in December compared to 2019, to get an idea of how the market compares to a month in the most recent ‘normal’ year before the pandemic (final chart), Andalusia is in the top spot with growth of 41%, and the Canaries in last place just 3% higher than two years previously. Only in the Madrid region and the Canaries was growth below 20%, reinforcing the conclusion that most of the Spanish regions of interest to foreign investors are currently going through a very strong period of demand for property for sale in Spain.