Third quarter data from the Registrars shows Almeria is the rising star in a strengthening Spanish housing market.
Reading Spanish property statistics is as much art as science, and the story can quickly change depending on your source. Last week the Notaries generated a stream of headlines from their September housing data which showed a 10% annual rise in sales.
This should have been helpful, but they neglected to tell us anything about where these sales happened.
Luckily, Registradores de España came to the rescue (if you know where to look). Their less championed monthly statistics on the “Transfer of Property Rights” includes house purchases by province, and these provide a much fuller picture of local market trends.
They also tell us about the all important first quarter since the Brexit vote.
Q3 house sales rose 11%
The picture is undeniably healthy. The registrars reported 34,931 transactions in September, and a total of 103,516 in the period July – September 2016 (Q3), a rise of 11.2% versus 2015.
In case you thought it was a blip, this also marks 10 consecutive quarters of annual growth. 2016 has been the best year to sell houses in Spain for a very long time.
Almeria’s explosive growth
Studying Q3 housing transactions by province reveals mixed success in the battle for summer sales, but perhaps the most remarkable winner is Almeria.
Around a quarter of sales here go to foreign buyers, and the province recorded a 93% increase in sales in Q3 (rising from 1,810 sales in Q3 2015 to 3,497 this year).
In short, the market effectively doubled in size. With the rest of Spain growing modestly, Almeria stands out as enjoying a significant boom.
Sharon Garner, Sales Director for Almeria-based Spanish Property Choice, comments “Property here costs a fraction of what it does in the neighbouring Costas. Our coastal towns remain full of charm and character and just a 15-minute drive away, you can find yourself in wonderful countryside. This lifestyle is sought by a new influx of foreign buyers including French, Dutch and Germans.”
“Of course, there is still as steady flow of Brits searching for their little slice of the Spanish lifestyle. We’ve been shocked at the response to the Brexit vote by British buyers: We’ve seen a sharp rise in sales and long term lets, both of which have superseded our expectations for the year.”
Spanish Property Choice has had to expand its staff team twice already during 2016 to cope with increased buyer demand. The company’s data also reveals a shifting clientele in the past couple of years. When the company opened in 2007, overseas buyers in Almeria were largely between 55 and 65 years old. Now, it is 45 to 60 year olds who are looking for a second home in the sunshine, with early retirees joined by those looking to bring up their family in a safe, healthy environment.
Winners and losers
Alicante province is the bellwether for foreign activity, both by volume and buyer ratio (over half of all house sales here go to international buyers). Therefore it’s positive news for the entire market to see a 7% annual rise there.
The notable weakness (at least by volume) is in Málaga, Murcia and the eastern Canaries (Las Palmas): Sales growth seems to have stalled here and buyer enquiries via Kyero.com are showing up some imbalance between supply and demand, particularly on the Costa del Sol. Prices appear to be running ahead of post-Brexit buyer budgets, and it might be sensible for agents here to act early and adjust price expectations.
The following are all Q3 sales by province, also available direct from INE.es.
|Province||Q3 2016||Q3 2015||Change|
|Balearic Islands||3,537||2,755||▲ 28.4%|
|Las Palmas||2,549||2,610||▼ 2.3%|
|Santa Cruz de Tenerife||2,444||2,008||▲ 21.7%|
|A Coruña||1,422||1,298||▲ 9.6%|
|La Rioja||632||642||▼ 1.6%|
|Ciudad Real||617||547||▲ 12.8%|
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