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Survey Spain Markets Report

posted 1 month ago

Markets Report – 12th January 2024

PART 1 – WIDER TRENDS, EVIDENCE AND FINDINGS

Headlines

  1. Digital Nomads
  2. Supply and Demand
  3. Increasing Values
  4. Steady Demand
  5. Rentals
  6. Investment and Development
  7. Interest Rates
  8. Drought
  9. Climate Change

Digital Nomads

Over the summer, the directors of Survey Spain worked as ‘digital nomads’ for 137 days from June to November, and nearly 13,000 kilometres travelling in a motorhome from Spain to the north of Scotland and back. As a result, we managed to miss the extreme heat of southern Spain in July and August, and instead enjoyed the more temperate climate of England and Scotland. Our stop decisions were based on the strength of the mobile signal and there were few places where it was too poor for us to connect. Most discussion on digital nomads is on them relocating to warmer climes and it was interesting to find that it works quite effectively in the other direction too.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Supply of Housing

Since coming back, we have updated ourselves on the market, although we had always maintained the valuation/appraisal side of the practise while we were travelling. Our building surveyors/home inspectors worked direct with our introductions. That’s the benefit of having a Network of local valuers throughout the Costa areas of Spain and its islands. Generally, the market has been steady and buoyant with values continuing to increase, largely because of a shortage of supply of resale property and the prices being obtained for new developments. This latter level is required due to the substantial increase there has been in building costs and materials, that must have caused a few revisions of the development appraisals over the two years or more from initiation to completion. There’s also the probability that phased developments will always show higher values in the second and subsequent phases so that purchases will appear to be a good investment. However, the high tax and fee costs of purchase and sale mean that any property needs to show an increase of 20+% to return the capital. However, the pleasure of living in the sun, full or part-time can compensate for much of that.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Increasing Values

Reports from the authorities over the last few days have shown that the number and value of sales in Spain reduced during 2023 compared with the exceptional year of 2022. However, National Statistics are not the same as what is happening in the international Costa and Island markets. Apparently, Andalucía shows an increase in value of 4.7% and the Balearics a substantially higher 9.9%. This matches our stats, though our valuers report great variations depending upon views and condition. Perhaps the Balearics is due to the stronger planning restrictions which results in there are fewer properties available, but the demand still continues. Other town halls wanting to move up market could learn from this and perhaps reduce the steady erosion of the natural environment available to tourists and residents on the coasts as it gets replaced by concrete and brick developments.

Steady Demand

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good!” We have worldwide times of great uncertainty with wars in Ukraine and Palestine, plus potential expansion of those to other countries and bringing in other participants. Poverty and Climate Change continues around the world giving rise to even more displacement, both regarding finance and even life. Fortunately, Spain is looked upon as a stable, safe place to invest and live in and the Costas are benefiting substantially from this thinking. Money has been coming into the property business from Eastern Europe, excluding Russia of course, and lately even Israel, as those with the funds consider that it’s safer to have them elsewhere, and to have a house for their family to live in should the worst occur. We’re even seeing an increase of interest in property from the USA and Canada, with people there concerned as to what is to happen in the US November election and the potential for civil disobedience and worse no matter which way things go. The British Isles including Ireland, have always been a steady supplier of purchasers and investment funds and this continues, with again an election and major political change likely to be experienced in the UK in the second-half of the year. We value portfolios that require RICS ‘Red Book’ valuations, which are required for international financial acceptance.

Rentals

Spain also went through a closely fought election, with the ‘left wing’ and regional parties working together to keep Sanchez and the PSOE in power. Their radical agenda, especially regarding tenants and squatters, and restricting rent increases especially for multiple investment portfolios, has made the shortage of long-term rental accommodation worse, with a further reduction in the availability of annual and longer tenancies being replaced by less regulated, higher priced, short-term tourist rental. That results in their being few places where catering and other workers can afford to live, which must be a reason bars and restaurant windows show jobs for waiters and the like in a country that used to ‘export’ them. Every country and city that has tried similar controls of tenancies and rents has found that it is not the answer. It’s unfortunate for its citizens that Spain must prove to itself that, this time, it’s not different.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Investment and Development

Developers and major investors are not slow to act on how things are going, and they see the increasing population in the ‘Ciudad del Sol’ and elsewhere giving rise to opportunities. Examples are the Hard Rock Hotel taking over one of the original hotels just outside Puerto Banús; the nearby Puerto Banús bullring being converted into an entertainment complex with retail; Google relocating their international Cyber Security Centre adjacent to the port in Málaga; and the successful Starlight summer concert franchise expanding by acquiring land and proposing a development in Estepona. That latter investment with its prospects for noise and fireworks will be of great interest to the neighbouring ‘residents’ of Selwo Safari Park! New routes are being proposed for the extension of the coastal railway line to Marbella and Estepona with its potential to join up to the existing railway at San Roque. It’s been proposed for decades with the costs and expropriation required increasing all the time but eventually, hopefully, it must happen. And all over the hillsides there are cranes building new villas and urbanisations of apartments and townhouses.

Interest Rates

As commented by the individuals below, the rise in interest rates worldwide had a definite braking effect upon demand and will have been a reason for the reduction in demand seen in the latter part of the year. Even those who can pay from their own resources will often seek a mortgage so that they can use their own money elsewhere to obtain a higher income than the rate they are paying on the mortgage. Fortunately, interest rates are now reducing, and brokers are finding that there’s considerable competition between the banks resulting in realistic interest rates being charged once again. However, those are unlikely to go down to the level of effectively zero that was seen not too many months ago.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Drought

As we drove south returning home, we noticed a definite watershed about halfway down through France around the southern limit of the champagne district. North of that was green with people complaining of too much rain. South, it became steadily drier and ochre coloured with talk of another year of drought. OK, it was early autumn and the rains might just be a little late, but now it’s January and they still haven’t come to Costa del Sol. There’s need for more desalination plants, though they’ll give rise to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) protests, and temporary and permanent ones are planned. The drought has been predicted for many years and evidenced for the last two, so why is nothing done until it’s too late? There are reduced pressure, reduced hours of supply and other restrictions already, and it’s difficult to see how the area will cope with the hugely increased summer population, especially if the heat is as prolonged as 2023. And what about all the new developments? Will they be permitted to connect to an already scarce resource network? Even the golf courses are affected, as although they are largely watered from the recycled water network, if there’s less ’original’ water being used, there will be less recycled available. We need to take these matters into account, especially in our building surveys/home inspections, and also the potential for flooding, should the predicted intense local rainfalls occur. Nature can’t be ignored. However, man’s ingenuity will sort out this crisis, ready to be deployed for the next one.

Climate Change

“We told you so”, is the cry from those who have been believing the evidence and projecting the probabilities. So far, we’ve escaped the worst of the winter storms, mini-tornadoes excluding, but these often arrive in February and March. They’re the ones that are likely to damage the shoreline and frontline properties, some of which will become increasingly susceptible to damage if sea levels continue to rise, and weather becomes more extreme. Longer term will we be seeing fewer tourists prepared to experience the extreme heat of midsummer and perhaps extending the season to the cooler spring and autumn months, with the midsummer tourists tending to go to the north of Spain and other more temperate climates which will be warming?

Survey Spain Markets Report

STATISTICS

As usual, we have kept a record of the average difference between Asking Price and Actual Selling price, where we have been supplied with that information from reliable sources. These are often from clients for whom we have carried out a building survey/home inspection, and they inform us what price they are actually paying for the property after receiving our report. We are able to use this information to improve the accuracy of our current market valuations.

Average Difference Between Asking Price and Actual Selling Price.

3rd Quarter of 2022

July to September – 7.09% – Is the most recent quarter, where the market is perhaps beginning to reflect the seriousness of the European and World economic situation and sellers are more nervous and so willing to accept offers at less than the asking price.

4th Quarter of 2022

October to December – 6.29% – Strong demand and fewer properties available show that sellers don’t need to discount and buyers are prepared to accept asking prices. Fewer examples available, but varying from 4.2% up to 7.56%

1st Quarter of 2023

January to March – 12.03% – More than double last year and standing out as very different from any recent quarters. The amount of evidence was small and was influenced by one property where the discount was 30.41% for an older, renovated property that had been on the market for some time, and the owners were at last persuaded that they weren’t going to get back the total cost of their improvements.

2nd Quarter of 2023

April to June – 7.86% – Back to a more realistic level reflecting the reality of the market, with the smallest being 5.41% and largest just short of 10%.

3rd and 4th Quarters of 20237.33% – Due to a shortage of information, we’ve combined those two periods, with the resulting figure supporting our impression of a steady market and the seller still having a stronger ‘hand’ due to the shortage of supply.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Changes in Multi-Listing Site – Resales Online

Comparison of figures are restricted to one region, and we have chosen Costa del Sol, as being the most active on the website.

We found on 12th January 2024 that there were:

  • 13,835 properties for sale at 100,000€ euro or more, an insignificant 0.2% a slight rise on our last recorded analysis in August 2023.
  • 3,973 (28.7%) were priced at 1,000,000€ euro or more, higher than 5 months ago.
  • 153 (14.2%) of the total, a significantly increased %, were identified as representing new developments.
  • 77 (50.3%) of the total of new developments were priced at more than 1M€ euro.
  • 1,599 (11.6%) of the 100,000+€ euro properties are found to have a discount of 10% or more since first listing, which is slightly more than the previous analysis.
  • Those increasing their price was 1,095 (7.9%), which is slightly lower than the previous period.
  • 505 (12.7%) of the 1M+€ euro properties were found to have reduced their prices by 10% or more.
  • 493 (12.4%) of the 1M+€ euro properties to have increased their price by 10% or more, which was less than the last period.
  • Almost the same number, 1,476 were found to be available for long-term rental.
  • 304 (20.6%) being available at 1200€ euro per month or less.
  • 654 (44.3%) were available at 2,500+€ euro/month.
  • 271(18.4%) at 5,000+€ euro/month, both up slightly since August 2023.

Analysis

The increase in price, both for sale and rental, is the most significant statistic. It will be interesting to see what long-term effect the inflationary increase to basic items and raised interest rates have on the longer-term statistics. However, as these are all less of a % of the household budget the higher the income, so they should not affect the buyers’ demand and ability to pay prices asked.

Climate Crisis

Nature has performed Carbon Capture for eons,

safely burying surplus carbon as oil and gas.

But we have released all that in a few decades.

The assets of the world are finite,

but we have been profligate in their use and not recycled.

Now we live with the consequences of these actions.

All of us have no choice,

but to reduce our own ‘carbon footprint’

by changing to the new reality lifestyle today,

and not wait until tomorrow.

Nature doesn’t respect Mañana.

Campbell D Ferguson

Invocation to Rotary Marbella-Guadalmina

Market Report – January 2024

PART 2 – AGENTS’ AND PROFESSIONALS’ OPINIONS

We’ve selected a spread of professionals for opinion, and not solely Estate Agents.

The market appears to be continuing strongly, but with no extraordinary dip or rise in demand or supply on the horizon. However, as all over the Costas, local to Survey Spain’s office there are 5 significant apartment urbanisations being developed, phases of which are likely to come to completion at the same time this year. Only then will we know the success of their off-plan marketing, and how many purchasers are wanting to hold and occupy either themselves or for rental or have acquired as an investment for selling on.

……………………………………

Finance Broker – whole expat market in Spain

Demand undoubtedly slowed towards the back end of last year, principally because of the increase in interest rates. It appears that demand for property dropped too. However, with the rates reducing last month there was an immediate increase of enquiries. It has continued into this year. The office cannot believe the volume, which isn’t normal for January. The enquiries are from a mix of sources with UK being a solid base of approximately 40%, but they have inquiries from United States, Switzerland, France, etc. Many have bought off-plan up to two years ago and are now seeking the best deal for their final significant payment, although many end up taking the mortgage being offered by the developer.

……………………………………

Survey Spain Markets Report

Lawyer – Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca

2023 was the best year that they’ve had and this year has started off with a bang. There’s been interest from the US and also the return of Irish clients. Prices are still going up, but they have stabilised to a certain extent. Many are buying off-plan. There is mention of Israeli buyers and developers/investors getting out of their local market. He can’t see any negatives for this year with theirs being principally the English-speaking market of UK, US, Canadians, Irish, etc.

……………………………………

Estate Agent – Sotogrande

They’ve had two good years. The change in interest rates, up or down, hasn’t had a notable effect. Buyers tend to be using their own money and therefore the mortgages are not so significant. People are interested in the area because of the low density of development and it being a good investment and ‘safe haven in the sun’. The International School is a major factor and it’s extending its educational range all the time. Sotogrande is becoming better known internationally possibly by attaching itself more to marketing with Marbella. The inventory is becoming less, so it’s probable that prices will increase. The Gibraltar connection is also significant especially with regard to the personnel in gaming companies.

……………………………………

Survey Spain Markets Report

Estate Agent – Marbella

2023 was a good year with a significant volume of sales. From December and this month so far the demand has been very good. It has slowed at the higher level of €3+ million principally due to poor stock availability. The interest rate increases also had some effect, but with these being decreased it’s expected that the market will continue as it did before. They’ve had inquiries from all over including the United States, China, UK, and Ireland. The higher end properties tend to be bought by Dutch, Belgian, and Scandinavian clients. The demand from Eastern Europe has reduced slightly, but they have now had inquiries from Israel.

……………………………………

Magazine Owner and Editor – Marbella

Demand for space has been relatively steady, with the probability that lack of supply is restricting the amount of advertising that they need to carry out. They’re seeing new developers coming onto the coast and wanting to make a ‘splash’ by significant advertising. Theirs is a high-level, quality magazine with property just being part of it, but with each subject benefiting from the proximity and interest of the others and the quality provided.

……………………………………

Survey Spain Markets Report

Architect – Almeria

99% of my clients are coming from Europe, but this year I have seen an increase of buyers from the USA.

In my case I have only had one, and that was for the purchase of rustic land for organic farming.

The rest, as always, are from Northern Europe and England (no Scottish or Welsh).

In this area, as there has been a Belgian colony for many years, the number of people coming from there is higher.

The profile of buyers has not changed, older people, over 50/60 years old, retired, looking to enjoy an excellent climate, a cheaper standard of living than in their countries of origin.

As for the type of property, in the vast majority, I would say that in more than 90% of cases are detached homes, very few apartments (at least I have worked on this year).

In terms of location, the dwellings are in rural areas and small towns or clusters of few dwellings (Diseminados). I understand that the Covid issue, with mobility restrictions among other things, must have had an influence.

Regarding the prices that are asked and finally sold, in my case, I have had from €50,000 (homes generally in fair condition) to €500,000. The range is very wide and the difference between the prices mentioned does not vary more than 5%/10%. Sellers usually stand firm, I guess because they know there is a market.

I have had some cases of bank repositions where it is not possible to counter-offer.

As for new developments, both in collective and individual housing in this region, there has not been a large increase. There is a lot of empty housing stock, which is not being rented either.

……………………………………

Valuer – Almería

I can only talk about the area where I live, which is Mojacar (Almeria). It seems to be having somewhat of a renaissance with a new retirement home, a new bus station and a new medical centre due to open next summer. The AVE from Almería to Murcia and then onwards is well under construction, with a station at nearby Vera. Added to which, the takeover of Macenas Golf by the internationally known and again local marble group Cosentino and their plans to spend 200 million and make it a world-class resort with a five-star hotel will certainly bring in more top-class buyers. Added to the fact that there are more high-end restaurants opening, Mojacar being one of the prettiest villages in Spain and having won the Ferrera Roche prize last Christmas, Mojacar certainly has a bright future! PS. I am not secretly working for the local tourist board! Foreigners are now buying 48% of the properties in Almeria, the highest in Andalucia. Málaga comes second at 42%.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Architect – Costa Blanca South

Having suffered in the last months of 2023 the increase of the interest rates and skyrocketed inflation, everybody expected prices of dwelling to be sunk by the end of the year. However, figures are keeping a good health and it is not expected, according to experts, that houses lose value during 2024. This is due to the increase of demand and the deceleration of the offer. Spain has gained population during 2023 and it has surpassed the figure of 48 million. Most of them adults as the increase is represented by foreigners. In fact, the area of the whole country with more relative growth is Alicante province and the town that leads in Alicante is Torrevieja, the core city of the southern Costa Blanca. Data shows that the demand for residential accommodation is 5 times higher than the offer of it. This fact keeps the balance of prices as otherwise they should be dropping because of inflation and the increase of interest rates.

……………………………………

Architect and Valuer – Valencia

The Valencian Community is about to finish the year 2023 with more houses being sold compared with Cataluña or Madrid. 52% of those operations are concentrated in the province Alicante and 45% of the buyers are foreigners. Alicante has consolidated as a permanent residence province, such as many other Mediterranean coastal areas in Spain. The demand is diversified based on first, second residencies, change of the current residence, remote workers, digital nomads and retired citizens. The traditional buyer´s nationalities are still led by British, Germans and French, but more and more Russians, Ukrainians, Polish and remarkably rising the Netherlands.

The market has been very active, keeping a constant level of demand and periods of lack of offer. Buying as investment is focused on the interior of the cities, where foreign workers, mostly from Eastern Europe and North Africa achieving a stable economic situation, are buying to rent. In cities such as Valencia, the investment is focused on the conversion of empty commercial properties at the ground level of block houses into residential units, to destine them to tourist or long-term rental. Asking and final sale prices do not in general have a big difference, due to the high demand. The resale prices are always tied to the level of renovation, refurbishment or investment done in the property, in order to make it more attractive.

……………………………………

Multi-Lister – Marbella and Balearics

Ibiza has had a surge in prices, like everywhere during and post Covid and as demand has outstripped supply that trend has continued. Importantly it’s worth noting that much of the new supply has been at the high end with many new apartment developments coming in over €10k per square metre. This has led to sellers of resale properties following suit – take a look on Idealista what €500k gets you in Ibiza Town or Santa Eulalia these days. Mallorca has been the cheaper option for a very long time but has been catching up quickly since 2021. Even a good number of long-term Ibiza residents have moved there, and it’s now pretty difficult to buy what looks like a real bargain there too. All this really pushes up the average per metre price much to the dismay of the ‘ordinary’ person. Except those with legacy family property, of course.

Survey Spain Markets Report

Contributors

Thank you to the business leaders, for giving your time and thoughts – in alphabetical order:

Daniel Gonzalez – Almería

Fluent Finance – Spain

Invenio Homes – Ibiza

My Lawyer in Spain – Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca

Noll Properties – Sotogrande

Panorama – Marbella

PPMQuilES – Arquitecto – Costa Blanca South

Rimolo & Grosso Architects – Costa Blanca North and Balearics

Survey Spain Network Valuer – Almería

Take care and we’ll all get through this.

We’ve just got to work out what sort of world it will be,

and what part we will play in it.

Campbell D Ferguson, FRICS, Land Economist.

Chartered Surveyor in Spain. Director. Survey Spain SL.

“We consider the money spent an investment into our peace of mind

that we are making a good choice, rather than a cost.”

Survey Spain Markets Report

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