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Confidence returns to Spanish property market in first quarter of 2019

Confidence in the Spanish property market stuttered in October 2018 but is now returning with figures for the first three months of 2019 showing that prices and sales are rising again.

The latest date from Lucas Fox show a more buoyant market in places such as Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Costa Brava and Girona

Sales by Lucas Fox Barcelona during the first three months of 2019 more than tripled compared to the same period in 2018, with the average price increasing by 9% to €997,675 while the total value of sales also more than tripled and the number of new development sales was more than six times the number of sales in the same period in 2018.

International buyers accounted for just under three quarters of all Lucas Fox Barcelona sales in the first three months of the year, around the same proportion as in the same period in 2018. British buyers accounted for 12% and American buyers accounted for 15% of Barcelona sales. Middle Eastern buyers increased, representing 14% of buyers.

In the prime market range, properties over €900,000, national buyers accounted for almost a quarter of all Lucas Fox Barcelona buyers while 15% of buyers came from the United Kingdom, 8% from the United States and 23% from other European countries.

‘Barcelona offers much more than a traditional resort location or indeed major city. It appeals to a younger, affluent buyer for a myriad of reasons from its scores of Michelin starred restaurants to its growing reputation as a FinTech hub,’ said Lucas Fox co-founder Alexander Vaughan.

‘We’ve definitely seen an increase in enquiries and offers for prime properties since the middle of 2018 and so far 2019 is looking very positive. The two very encouraging signs are that Catalan Family Offices are starting to invest in residential property and the number of major international companies that are establishing operations is increasing,’ he added.

Due to the city’s changing demographic, the number of rental transactions completed by Lucas Fox Barcelona in the first quarter of 2019 went up by 10% year on year, averaging €2,294 per month.

According to Wim Braem, rentals manager for Lucas Fox Barcelona, the city is increasingly attracting a more dynamic workforce, lured in by growing numbers of innovative, well-funded start-ups and leading tech companies, including Amazon and Facebook, who have established operations in what is fast becoming Europe’s Silicon Valley and this is pushing up demand for good quality rentals in prime locations.

Average property prices in Barcelona city showed a slight annual increase, of 1.5% compared to 6% nationally, at the end of March 2019, ending the quarter on €4,217 in Barcelona and €1,703 per square metre in Spain, according to property portal Idealista who base their figures on asking prices.

The growing trend of purchasing turnkey products is reflected in figures from Spain’s Institute of Statistics (INE) that show that the number of sales of new homes in Barcelona Province in the first two months of 2019 increased by 18% when compared to the same period in 2018.

Elsewhere the start to 2019 has seen brisk sales for Lucas Fox in Madrid and Valencia as well as its Costa Brava and Girona office, where 22% of all buyers were British. ‘The positive market trend we saw in 2018 has continued in 2019, reflected in some excellent Q1 results in both Girona and the Costa Brava,’ said Tom Maidment, Lucas Fox Costa Brava and Girona partner.

‘The volume of closed sales rose by 13% with local buyers accounting for a third of sales and French and British buyers each accounting for just under a quarter of all sales. With a very healthy pipeline of business, we expect the year to continue on a positive upward trend,’ he pointed out.

According to data from the Spanish Property Registry, in 2018 almost 65,500 homes were sold to foreigners, representing 12.6% of total sales, around the same number of homes that were sold to foreigners in the peak of 2007 and almost 5,000 more than were sold in 2017.