It seems that the pandemic has definitely changed people’s preferences when it comes to buying a home. What the experts pointed out months ago as a possible new trend, is now being confirmed by official statistics.
Those looking to buy a property are leaning towards chalets and single-family houses with larger surface areas than before the crisis. This has been reflected in the Notary data report released last week that showed how the sale of single-family houses increased by almost 25% in September compared to the same month figures a year ago. The Registrars’ statistics also point to this same trend.
During the third quarter of 2020, that is, between July and September, 20.4% of properties sold were single-family homes, which sits at almost two points above the previous quarter. It compares to 79.6% of flats, a percentage that, on the contrary, has declined.
In the first study that analyses the impact on new purchase trends home from coronavirus, property registrars point out that “the results assume that the weight of single-family housing has registered the maximum in the historical series and the weight of collective housing is now at a historical minimum”.
“The evolution of results shows an intensification of the preference for the single-family housing type, especially with a larger average surface area and open spaces (terraces and gardens)”. In their study, the increase in the average surface area of houses sits at 0.8%, “registering its maximum in the historical series with an average of 101.7 square meters for each housing complex”.
“Considering the exclusive consideration of the sale of flats broken down according to their surface, it is once again noted how demand is focused to a greater extent on the flats with the largest surface. Thus, in the third quarter, 53.3% of purchases of flats have a surface area of more than 80 square meters, a modality that has registered a relative weight increase of 0.33 points compared to the previous quarter and an increase of 2.9 points compared to the same quarter of 2019 “.
For their part, flats between 60-80 square meters accounted for 27.6% of sales, those with a surface area between 40-60 meters, 15.8%, and those with less than 40 meters, 3.4%. “In the last twelve months, sales of flats of more than 80 meters have accounted for 51.7% of the total, clearly below the 53.3% of the last quarter, significantly showing the trend towards flats with a larger surface area”.
The pandemic seems to have definitely changed the preferences of citizens when it comes to buying a home. What the experts pointed out months ago as a possible new trend, is now being confirmed by official statistics. Those who buy a house prefer chalets — single-family houses — and houses with a larger surface than before the crisis. Last week this was reflected in the data of notaries that showed how the sale of single-family homes increased by almost 25% in the month of September compared to the figures of a year ago, while the statistics of the registrars also point to this line.
The experts of the residential market have definitely detected that those who are looking to buy a house from March, want larger homes. Thus, according to the data of the registrars, in new free housing, the average transferred area has risen to 110.2 square meters, close to the historical maximum of the second quarter (110.4 square meters). For its part, used housing reached an average area of 100.25 square meters, which is also its largest record in the historical series.
“Consequently, a generalization of the growth of the transferred average surface is taking place, ratifying the change of preferences in the current context of health crisis, preferably demanding homes with larger surface.” If we observe the general quarterly growth of the average surface of the housing, 0.8% in three months, it is seen that it doubles in proportion to the growth of the accumulated in the last twelve months, which has been 1.5% “, states the report of the College of Registrars.
On the other hand, registrars also note the greater tendency to buy outside of the capital. A trend that could be due to fleeing the capital in search of larger homes surrounded by green areas, but also to the expulsion of demand from city centres due to their high prices, a phenomenon that has been observed for several years.
“The historical evolution of the eight largest provincial capitals by number of inhabitants confirms a predominance of the reduction in the relative weight of house sales in these capitals with respect to the total of the province. Taking, for example, the four large provincial capitals, Madrid has registered a weight of 47.3% in the last quarter, being that in mid-2015 it accounted for 57.7% of sales in the province. In Barcelona, the weight is 23.8% and in mid-2014 it represented 36.1% of the province’s purchases and sales. Valencia showed a weight of 28.05% and at the end of 2016 it was 37.3%. Finally, Seville registers 36.8% of the housing sales of the province, while at the end of 2016 it exceeded 50% “.
The previous data, according to the registrars, point to a certain inertia towards the search for housing in population centres with lower density, “but they must be confirmed in later quarters since they are modifications in the way of life that normally require a longer period of time. or less broad, as they are relevant family and personal decisions, and therefore do not usually provoke immediate reactions”.
Sales drop 16.6% in one year
And at a general level, what has happened to sales? In the comparison of the third quarter, made with the summary of the advances of data published month by month¡ and the data from the same period in 2019, the economic impact of the pandemic continues to be appreciated, with a somewhat more positive evolution in this third quarter, showing a 16.6% decrease in house sales, better data than in the second quarter, when it decreased in a generalized way, 46.1% and 42.2% respectively.
For new housing, 22,269 sales were registered (an intense growth of 58.5% over the previous quarter). The housing used 79,548 operations recorded with a quarterly increase of 27.8%. With respect to the same quarter of 2019, the inter-annual decrease in the third quarter was 16.6%. In the last twelve months, 423,486 house sales have been registered, falling back to annual levels of the first half of 2017.
The purchase of housing by foreigners has been favoured by the improvements in mobility conditions in the third quarter compared to the second. Thus, 11.4% of home purchases in the last quarter corresponded to foreigners, up from 10.7% in the second quarter. In absolute terms, growth has been higher, registering nearly 14,000 purchases, compared to less than 8,000 registered during the second quarter. The nationalities that led the purchases were British (13.0%), French (9.0%), Belgians (8.3%), Germans (8.3%) and Moroccans (6.6%). Registered home sales according to the buyer’s nationality.
Source: El Confidencial, November 2020