Glimmer of hope for Spanish property market as sales rise

There are signs that the Spanish property market could be bottoming out with sales stabilising but prices are still falling, according to the latest published figures.

Residential property sales in September were up 7.4% in September, according to date from the National Institute of Statistics. While this may be a piece of good news, the figures also show that prices are down 19% on the same time last year. Also compared to two years ago property sales are down 42%.

The fact that prices are continuing to fall could be good news for those seeking a bargain but not so good for sellers. Average property prices have now fallen by 7.4% over the last year and are down 13.5% from the peak of the market, according to the Tinsa property price index for October.

It is the smallest fall in a year though and even the decline which has hit coastal locations badly is slowing with year-on-year prices down just 9.9%, the first time the fall was not in double digits since November last year.

Lower prices could help boost sales, according to various parts of the real estate industry. Banks are offering property at huge discounts and real estate agents point out that the properties that are selling are the ones where sellers have lowered their asking prices.

The market is highly price sensitive and property will only sell if the price is right, according to Chris Mercer, Director of southern Spanish real estate company, Mercers. He had one recent customer who took advice to drop the price of a townhouse in the ancient Moorish town of Vejer de la Frontera from €180,000 to €150,000 and found a buyer after holding an open day.

‘There are buyers out there, they’re ultra price sensitive. In this case we could have. We could have sold this three bedroom property to three of the potential buyers, no question,’ said Mercer.

Buying from a bank is an attraction for buyers. Banesto is the latest Spanish bank to offer properties for sale with discounts of up to 40%. A quarter of Banesto’s stock of properties, some 1,200 homes all over Spain, is included in the offer which finishes at the end of November.

To help shift their stock of properties Banesto will be opening some of their branches on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, whilst staging their own property exhibitions in provincial capitals all over Spain including Barcelona, Valencia, Seville and Malaga.


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