Archive for April, 2010

 

April 30th, 2010

Asking prices for resale properties fell just 0.9% over 3 months to the end of March, according to data collected by Idealista.com, a leading Spanish property portal. The table above gives price changes for selected regions.

As a result, the average asking price of property in Spain finished March at 2,387€/m2, with wide variations between regions. The Basque Country has the most expensive property (3,482€/m2), followed by Madrid (€3,282/m2) and Catalonia (2,828€/m2). Regions at the other extreme, with the cheapest property, are Extremadura (1,437€/m2), Murcia (1,506€/m2) and Castilla-La Mancha (1,627€/m2).

Changes in asking prices are an important market indicator, as vendors tend to raise or drop their asking prices in response to demand. Nevertheless, they are not an accurate guide to transaction prices.

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April 29th, 2010

The Spanish house price index figures for March 2010 have just been released. See the graph and the table below for an up to date overview of the real estate market trend in Spain.

Spanish House Price Index - March 2010

Spanish property prices fell by 5.3% over 12 months to the end of March, according to the property price index published monthly by Tinsa, one of Spain’s leading appraisal companies. However, prices inland fell by only 4.0%, which is similar to last month’s 3.8%, and confirms a general trend towards smaller price declines. At this rate prices of inland property will be stable or rising again sometime in the next few months.

The graph and table data represent the year-on-year evolution of Spanish property values. For example, if the value for August 2009 would be -3.9, then this means that average property prices in August 2009 are 3.9% lower than they were a year earlier, in August 2008.

The graph and table on this page contain up to date information for the past 13 months. For more information, please look at earlier monthly reports, or the historical overview since January 2001.

The graph and table data are based on actual property valuations, as established by one of Spain’s larget independent property valuation companies, Tinsa S.A. They are not based on asking prices or (under)declared selling prices, nor on the statistics as provided by the Spanish Ministry of Housing, and are therefore considered to be the most acurate and reliable source for this kind of information.

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April 22nd, 2010

Spanish property purchases were up by almost 19% in February compared with the same month last year, with 41,033 sale & purchase operations being recorded, consolidating the 2.1% increase recorded in January.

The latest figures, released today by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) show the biggest increase so far during the recession, with no increases at all having been recorded since 2008 until the beginning of this year.

In absolute terms, Andalucia recorded the highest number of homes sold in February (7,449), followed by Madrid (7,018), Catalunya (5,514) and Valencia (4,896).

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April 21st, 2010

A surge of foreign lifestyle buyers and investors has split the Spanish property market. Sales are up 200% in some regions compared with 2009 – despite the Bank of Spain claiming that last year was the worst in a decade for foreign property investment in Spain.

Parts of Spain are doing really well at the moment but there are two completely different markets. The split has seen lifestyle buyers choosing less built-up areas such as the Axarquia, where prices are at their most affordable level for years. Meanwhile, investors are looking for distressed bargains in over-developed locations such as the southern Costa Blanca.

Building restrictions in the Axarquia over the last few years have kept stock levels relatively low, while a glut of homes has emerged in other destinations on the Costa del Sol. In areas like the Axarquia and Colmenar the offer is quite limited already. The British know Andalucia is a premium location and are taking advantage of interesting current prices.

Story from OPP

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April 20th, 2010

Buyers are back looking for holiday homes. Mortgage broker Conti Financial Services, which specialises in overseas mortgages, reports a big increase in mortgage applications and the busiest month for over a year.

The foul winter in the UK has probably helped concentrate buyers’ minds on that place in the sun and mortgage applications rose by 48% in March compared with the previous monthly average.

European banks have not suffered as much from the sub-prime crisis as UK mortgage lenders and Conti says that overseas mortgage providers have money to lend to foreign investors. ‘Falling property prices across many European destinations – in some instances by as much as 50% – mean that the chance of owning a place in the sun may never be better, and historically low interest rates mean it’s become even more affordable for British buyers,’ says Clare Nessling, Conti’s operations director.

‘The most popular destinations amongst our clients are still France and Spain, both of which come with easy access and good rental opportunities,’ she says.

Nessling reports bargain hunters out in force in Spain where oversupply of properties and fears about planning permission have left the banks holding repossessed properties which are being sold off. ‘Confidence is definitely growing, but there’s also an element of buyers snapping up bargains in traditional hotspots while they have the chance.’

So where will you find a bargain? ‘Those European countries yet to record their first quarter of growth since the credit crunch include Spain, Denmark and Ireland where an oversupply of stock is holding back prices,’ says Liam Bailey, head of residential research at international estate agents, Knight Frank.

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April 18th, 2010

According to Contithe overseas mortgage specialis, an increasing number of British investors buying second homes in Europe are taking out euro-denominated mortgages in order to beat the poor exchange rate. This not only allows them to take advantage of cheap interest rates, but could potentially save them significant sums of money if, as experts predict, sterling appreciates against the euro over the next few years, as this will reduce the sterling cost of the property purchase.

Clare Nessling, Conti’s Operations Director, says: “A euro mortgage could be a good idea, even if you thought you didn’t need one. As you’ll only need to transfer money for your deposit and fees for now, it minimises the amount of sterling you have to exchange for the property purchase. Even if you’re lucky enough to be a cash buyer, it may be worth taking out a mortgage until the exchange rate improves, at which point you can pay it back, and ultimately reduce the price you pay for the property.”

There are a number of other benefits associated with euro mortgages. If, for example, an investor is going to rent out their property, having a euro mortgage means that their rental income and mortgage repayments are in the same currency, and they can therefore avoid exchange rate fluctuations.

A euro mortgage also allows them to benefit from European interest rates, which are often lower than sterling rates. Even a small difference could potentially save them a lot over the lifetime of the mortgage. The fees on some euro loans can also be substantially lower than on some sterling mortgages.

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April 17th, 2010

There’s a growing feeling of confidence amongst prospective overseas property buyers, according to Conti, the overseas mortgage specialist. It’s just had its busiest month for almost a year in terms of mortgage ‘go aheads’, the point where prospective buyers take their mortgage quotes through to the application stage. These increased by 48 per cent during March, compared with the previous monthly average. The proportion of prospective buyers progressing from the quote stage to the go ahead stage has also increased, suggesting that buyers are becoming more serious about their intended investment.

Despite the turbulence unleashed on the UK mortgage market by the global banking crisis, Conti says that overseas mortgage providers have a healthy appetite for lending to foreign investors. But a combination of factors, not just mortgage availability, are contributing to the attractiveness of this market. Falling property prices, in some cases by up to 50 per cent, and historically low interest rates are making it much more affordable, despite the current strength of the euro.

Clare Nessling, Conti’s Operations Director, says: “Falling property prices across many European destinations mean that the chance of owning a place in the sun may never be better, and historically low interest rates mean it’s become even more affordable for British buyers. The most popular destinations amongst our clients are still France and Spain, both of which come with easy access and good rental opportunities. Confidence is definitely growing, but there’s also an element of buyers snapping up bargains in traditional hotspots while they have the chance.”

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April 16th, 2010

The latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) show that the Spanish property market grew by 16% in February compared to the same month last year, building on the trend started in January. This suggest the market has touched bottom and is starting to recovery after 2 years of declines, at least in some areas. Not including social housing, there were 35,720 home sales in February, 21,368 of them newly built and 19,665 resales.

Story by Mark Stucklin

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April 5th, 2010

Euribor (12 months), the interest rate normally used to calculate mortgage payments in Spain, fell 0.8% in March compared to the previous month, finishing at 1.215%. Once again, Euribor is at the lowest level on record, down 36% in 12 months, and 77% down from its all time high of 5.393% in July 2008. Thanks to the latest reduction in Euribor, repayments on a typical annually resetting mortgage (120,000 Euros, 25 years, Euribor +0.8%) will fall by around 41 Euros a month, or 500 Euros a year.

When Euribor rose a fraction in December I suggested that, after 14 consecutive months of falls, a change of trend might be in the offing. Despite a return to declines in January, February, and March, that still probably holds true. Flipping around is often consistent with a period of change.

Most of the savings from the fall in Euribor have already been had, and Euribor is unlikely to go much lower. Next month borrowers on annually resetting mortgages will hardly notice any savings, even if Euribor goes a bit lower. Euribor is based on interest rates set by the European Central Bank. Base rates are expected to remain at 1% for the first quarter of 2010, rising gradually after that.

New mortgage approvals rose 2.3% to 53,747 in January compared to the same month last year, after an annualised fall of 1.3% in December, showing there is not yet a clear trend towards improvement. On a monthly basis, new mortgage lending was up 12.3% in January. The average mortgage value was 112,839 in January, 7.6% lower than January 2009. Overall new lending was down 5.5% to 6.064 billion Euros.

Story by Mark Stucklin

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