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Signs of recovery emerging in Spanish property market, reports show

The much awaited real estate recovery is underway in locations where there is no glut of property such as Cantabria, the Basque region, Asturias and La Rioja, says the report from Caixa Catalunya.
‘House and land prices have touched bottom in some cases. The adjustment is almost over, if not already,’ said Eduard Mendiluce, head of Caixa Catalunya’s property division Procam.
But there is no good news for those wanting to sell in popular areas such as the southern coast where there are many new and holiday homes that are not selling.

Indeed the report points out that there are between 660,000 and 1,040,000 homes on the market. This represents between 2.6% and 4.1% of the country’s housing stock. They expect the glut to fall slightly to between 640,000 and 1,070,000 in 2010, down to between 2.5% to 4.2% of housing stock.

The Caixa Catalunya report estimates that there will be an annual demand of 220,000 homes between now and 2015, almost half the level of 300,000 to 450,000 estimated by developers. At this rate it could take five years for the market to digest the glut.
But there is more good news for the luxury end of the Spanish market with buyers agent

Barbara Wood of The Property Finders, reporting that transactions in prime areas around Marbella were increasing as early as the first quarter of 2009. ‘Secondary areas lagged behind with the first green shoots only appearing about nine months later and the worst locations are still in total paralysis in 2010,’ she said.

Currently the typical person looking for property is a cash buyer, buying for their own use, with a medium to long-term perspective, not dependant on rental income and only interested in buying in prime locations, she explained.
‘And those that require a mortgage need a maximum of 50% relative to value. In other words, the right purchasing parameters are in place again. Spain’s property market managed very well without a mass market before the boom of the Noughties and will do so again, returning I hope to the stability and long-term growth that held for four decades but this time going for quality rather than quantity,’ she added.

She also points out the uselessness of official statistics. ‘The official Ministry of Housing figures, based on registered transaction prices and supposedly objective, are distorted by under declarations of the sale price in the past and only once we have had several years of full price declaration will this distortion be washed out of the system, while the oft-quoted TINSA stats are based on subjective market appraisals. Either way, they are unreliable and, therefore, are meaningless,’ she explained.
‘There is only way to get good information about what prices are doing in 2010 and that is to talk to someone who is actively involved in putting deals together right now. When I’m asked about price falls, if they have hit bottom or if they have further to go my reply is that it all depends and there is no one answer but it seems to me that there are two main factors influencing outcomes: location and how badly the seller wants to sell. I would say there is a shortage of top quality properties in the best locations at the right price level for 2010,’ added Wood.