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February property sales in Spain up by five per cent

Activity in the market is at its highest level for a decade

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The publication by the government’s central statistics unit of the residential property sales data for the month of February 2019, showing that the number of transactions was 5.3 per cent higher than in the same month last year at 43,695.

Although this marks a return to growth after the first year-on-year decrease for ten months in January, the slightness of the rise appears to confirm the impression given by another set of data released earlier in the week by the country’s notaries, that the level of activity in the market may be reaching a plateau after five years of growth.

However, as is so often the case, the overall figures hide a good deal of disparity among the results reported in Spain’s 17 regions. The figures were higher than in the first month of 2018 in 14 of them, most notably in La Rioja, where an extraordinary rise of 71 per cent reported, while elsewhere the most significant gains were in Galicia (22.6 per cent) and Castilla-La Mancha (21.9 per cent). On the other hand, for the second month in a row there were significant decreases in both the Canaries (20.6 per cent) and the Balearics (12 per cent), and falls in the Balearics are becoming a constant feature of these monthly statistics: last year the islands were the only Spanish region in which the annual total was lower than in 2017.

It is perhaps significant that the Balearics was one of the regions where the market began to recover soonest after the slump which began in late 2007, while the others – Madrid and Catalunya – showed relatively stable figures in January, with increases of between 5 and 6 per cent).

As is almost always the case, the region with most sales per 100,000 inhabitants of property-buying age during January was the Comunidad Valenciana, with a figure of 164, and this is due in large part to the frequency with which properties in the Costa Blanca change hands among the non­Spanish population in the Costa Blanca.

Although the overall total of sales registered in January was flat, in the longer view the extent to which the real estate sector in Spain is still recovering is the fact that the level of sales activity is now 76.5 per higher than when the market bottomed out in February 2014, with the running 12-monthly total standing at over 517,000, 7.2 per cent higher than a year ago and the highest figure since January 2009.

Source: Spain News today, April 2019

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