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Property Sales 4th Quarter 2020 in Spain

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Real Estate Registry Statistics 4Q 2020

• Preference for family home, normally with larger average surface area and open spaces (terraces and gardens).

• During 2020, 419,898 registered home sales were down 16.7% on 2019, falling back to mid-2017 levels

These Land Registry Statistics for the fourth quarter show the demand for housing during the course of the pandemic. The analysis focuses on the proportion of flats and single-family homes, the average surface area of the new sales, and the proportion of house sales in capitals compared to the total of their respective province.

4th Quarter Sales Compared 2012 – 2020

Between 2012 and Dec 2020 you can see in the graph below a tailing off of apartment sales from 84.1 in the 4th quarter of 2012 to a drop by 6.6% to 77.5% in December 2020. It is clear that 6.6% is the same amount by which single occupancy home sales have increased. Detached properties have had buoyant sales – the best since 2005. People are also opting for more land where possible and bigger surface area builds including terraces and gardens.

Regional Variations and Similarities

The following table gives the figures for the different autonomous communities within Spain where a clear pattern is repeated.

Looking at the National Average you can see the size of the property purchased is that little bit bigger, up almost 1% on the third quarter. In apartment blocks people have opted for that little bit more space where possible and where affordable a modest increase of 0.9% compared to the previous quarter with the average space being 102.1 m2 in shared complexes. The surface area for New Builds has increased to 110.9 m2, beating the previous best of the third quarter of 2020 by a very modest yet still significant 0.5 m2 taking them up to an average of 110.4 m2. With regard to Resale Properties these also have an increase in square metres with an average of 100.7 m2, an all time high. The facts bear out the hypothesis that most of us predicted: people want as much space as possible for their families to guarantee a safe environment for loved ones during the pandemic. Where possible, their preference is for individual homes versus communal gardens and pools. A bigger terrace is far more important than before, especially when buying an apartment rather than a house. In addition, with more time spent indoors it is clear that ‘size matters’.

If we look at the increase of about a metre squared in only 3 months and compare it to the increase over 12 months of 2.2%, it highlights the tendency to look for properties that offer more space.

in the following graph, in the fourth quarter 52.4% of apartment purchases have a surface area of ​​more than 80 m2, registering a very significant increase of 1.9 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year (The grey line on the graph). The floors between 60-80 m2 stand at 28.0% (yellow), those with a surface area between 40-60 m2 are 16.4% (navy blue) and those with less than 40 m2 the remaining 4.2% (red).

Capital Cities Versus Rest of the Province

Capital cities are usually the most popular location choice within the province. This continues to be the case but with fewer sales relative to the rest of the province. Of the eight provincial capitals with the highest number of inhabitants, six of them are lower than numbers sold in their province compared to the previous quarter. Taking, for example, the five major provincial capitals, Madrid has registered 42.7%, while in 2015 it accounted for 57.7% of the sales of the province and the previous quarter 47.3%. In Barcelona the balance is 22.2%; in mid-2014 it represented 36.1% of purchases in the province and the previous quarter showed 23.8%. Valencia repeats this trend with number of sales weighing in at 25.7%. At the end of 2016 it was at 37.3% and the preceding quarter at 28.1%. Seville has registered 34.6% of housing sales in the province, while in 2016 it exceeded 50%, and the previous quarter 36.8%. Finally, Zaragoza totalled 66.9%, compared to 75.4% 12 months ago and 72.2% the previous quarter.

These figures bear out the popularity of property searches further afield. People are recalibrating their needs placing more emphasis on greater space and a better lifestyle / work balance. People are opting for less densely populated cities, towns and villages where property is that little bit cheaper so they can trade up to a bigger home than what they could afford otherwise in the capitals.

Registered Property Sales Down by 3.1%

This statistic is driven by 2 equally strong factors: the economy and the pandemic. These are clearly intertwined and their impact is to some extent predictable. The Land Registry collated statistics of sales year on year with and without mortgages for residential and non residential property to highlight the current evolution of this 4th quarter of 2020.

In the comparison of the fourth quarter with the same period of 2019, the economic impact of the pandemic takes its toll, yet with a somewhat more positive evolution in this fourth quarter, showing a slight increase of 0.3% in total sales, and a decrease of 3.1%, in house purchases. It is worth underlining that this is better data than that of the third quarter, in which it fell 16.6%.

Turning now to the financing for the properties, there was a greater drop in the number of mortgages offered overall compared to those offered overall for residential properties. Total number of mortgages down 10.1% and those for residential properties down 5.8%.

Total Conveyances Registered

Between October and December there were 113,799 residential property transmissions registered. This is an increase of 11.4% over the previous quarter.

New Builds totalled 22,842 purchases registered, growing 0.9% over the third trimester. The Resale property market, with 90,957 sales, grew 14.3% quarterly

Year on year and quarter on quarter the fourth quarter has never traditionally been the most popular buying period. This continues to be the case with an inter-annual decrease in the 4th qtr compared to the 4th qtr of 2019 of 16.7%. In absolute numbers 419,898 dwellings were sold, falling back to those seen in the first half of 2017.

Buyers from Abroad

In the fourth quarter, home purchases by foreigners stood at 10.7% of the total home purchases, below the 11.4% seen in the third quarter.

In contrast, there has been an increase in the total number of sales compared to the previous quarter. The volume of purchases by foreigners was more than 11,800 operations, compared to the nearly 11,400 registered during the third quarter. The nationalities that head the purchases have been British (14.5%), French (8.3%), Germans (8.1%), Moroccans (7.4%) and Belgians (6.1%).

Nationality of Non Spanish Buyers
Percentage Foreign Buyers 4th Qtr 2020

Brits Continue to Lead the Way

Foreigners are buying properties despite the lockdowns. (TMTSPAIN would like to add that the British continue to lead the way despite BREXIT – and this continued interest is good to see). The Balearic Isles are definitely attracting keen interest with 32.7% of the sales being conducted by non Spanish. Second in popularity is The Canary Isles (22,5%), then Valencia (21,7%), followed by Murcia (19,4%). Finally, the Catalan region (11,4%) and Andalusia (11,3%) in 4th and 5th place.

This has been translated and the figures analysed by Tracy Thomson with all stats taken from the Land Registry Official Figures and Commentary