Sales picking up in Spanish property market
Agents and developers in Spain are reporting increased property sales levels following the first national rise in transactions in three years.
Property sales were up 4.1% year-on-year in Q4 of 2009 to over 116,000, according to data from the Ministry of Housing. This was the housing market’s first yearly increase in transaction numbers since the corresponding Q4 of 2006.
Sales to overseas residents in the fourth quarter of 2009 also increased by around 12% year-on-year and 21% compared to the previous quarter to a total of 7340.
The data reinforces reports from a number of companies across Spain who have seen an increase in enquiries and sales in the last few months. Developers including Taylor Wimpey de España, Key Mare and Almanzora Group and a number of high profile agents have all seen sales activity improve on this time last year.
“Our sales for January 2010 have increased by almost 200% on 2009,” said Chris Mercer, managing director of Murcia-based agent Mercers. “We have already achieved the same number of sales in the first two months of 2010 as we did for Q1 of 2009.”
The price is right
Distressed and discounted Spanish properties still appear to account for most of the sales made to foreign buyers. “Buyers have realised that prices have already come down and that the good units are going now if they haven’t gone already,” said Javier Ballester, CEO of Taylor Wimpey de Espana.
There is also a growing sense that economic conditions are improving. “We believe that the confidence is returning to the international buyers as they can see the great offers that are now available in Spain and with a lot of European countries predicted to leave the recession this year there is not so much financial fear,” said Alfredo Milla, director of international investments at Mediterranean.
However to add a touch of pessimism to the matter whilst the government data is the first official indicator that the Spanish property market might be improving, the overall figures don’t tell the whole story and the start of a full recovery may be yet be some way off. Property sales in 2009 were still down by 18% when compared to 2008.
Source : Overseas Property Professional March 2010