Spain’s recovering property market sees sales down by 8% in April

The up and down nature of the recovery in the Spanish property market is revealed in the latest statistics which show that sales recorded in the Land Registry fell by 8% in April compared to a year ago.

The figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) mean that the housing market has seen its biggest fall since February 2014 but it follows a big surge in March of almost 30%.

According to Mark Stucklin of Spanish Property Insight while the falls comes as something of a surprise it should also be noted that with the odd exception sales have increased steadily almost every month for the last four years and are still up by 10% year to date.

‘As always, it’s important to bear mind that the INE’s figures are based on sales inscribed in the Land Register, not actual sales that took place in the period. As such they lag the market by about two or three months. So this decline reflects a decline in sales closed around January and February,’ he explained.

He also pointed out that April’s decline might have something to do with the unusually large increase in March. ‘Perhaps sales were brought forward into the March recording period. Some experts quoted in the Spanish press are attributing the decline to Easter falling in April this year, but that doesn’t make sense for the time lag reason,’ he added.

There was a modest fall of 5% in resales but a big decline of 22% in new home sales and Stucklin explained that new home sales don’t include off-plan sales, which won’t be counted until the homes are built and delivered.

A breakdown of the figures show that in regions where foreigners tend to buy there was a big increase in Tenerife, up almost 50% in the northern regions of Asturias and Cantabria, and the Costa Brava is finally showing some growth with a rise of 6%.

At the other end of the scale it was a bad month for Castellón province, home to the Costa del Azahar with a fall of 36% while Valencia City was down 29%, Malaga province, home to the Costa del Sol, was down 28% and Murcia down19%. Even the Balearics, which has been one of the hottest markets for years, was down 15%.

‘Brexit is undoubtedly having an impact on sales in Malaga, Alicante, Murcia, and the Balearics, where the British are an important component of demand, but that doesn’t explain the slump in buyer activity in regions like Barcelona and Madrid,’ said Stucklin.