With the Spanish property crisis continuing I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the why property prices are so low and also see why these reasons don’t apply to luxury property sales in Marbella and Mallorca
1) Employment and expectations of finding a job: due to the unemployment rate in Spain (25%), most people are reluctant to commit themselves to buying a home. Obviously most people buying luxury villas in Mallorca or Marbella this is not a factor.
2) Financing: financing is non-existent in the real estate sector, and the granting of mortgage loans is unlikely to return to normal over the coming months due to uncertainty regarding the macroeconomic situation. In the current climate banks want to avoid any type of risk. Again the majority of buyers of luxury homes in Spain are cash buyers.
3) Interest rates: the euribor is at a record low level of 0.5%, which means that now would be a good time to take out a mortgage. However, the banks are applying ever higher differentials, a sign that they do not want to increase their property exposure any further. Again not a factor for cash buyers
4) Taxes and deductions: two factors which will push house prices down are the rise in VAT from 4% to 10% for new-build purchases and the end of home purchase tax deductions, which come into effect this year. However, falling house prices will offset the tax benefits which were available up until the end of 2012. So again not really an issue for would be high end buyers.
5) SOCIMIs and renting: the reform of Act 11/2009, which regulates SOCIMIs (listed real estate companies), has been approved with a view to incentivizing the house rental market. Furthermore, the government is currently pushing through a reform of the Lease Act, which shows that it is focusing on strengthening the rental market. According to Nick Stuart, the more rental housing available, the better for everyone and house prices will fall even further. Again this will have an effect but will be felt much more on the market below 600.000€
6) The stock of available housing: the more homes there are on the market, the lower house prices will fall. However, as Nick Stuart managing director of Spanish Hot Properties points out, the real estate market in Spain differs widely across local housing markets, and in some areas there is no stock of available housing, which means that this variable will be neutral with respect to house prices.
7) The creation of Sareb: the creation of Spain´s bad bank will not slow the downward trend in house prices, although it will not push them down either, in the opinion of the chief executive of a property valuation agency. In his view, the objective of Sareb will be the management and divestment of property assets, within a time frame of no more than 15 years. He added that Sareb will manage housing developments and land but will not sell homes to individuals. Instead, it will focus on institutional investors. Again the reality is that very few desirable homes are repossessed in relation to the rest of the market.
8) Finally and most importantly it’s one word CONFIDENCE or currently the lack of it when that’s low coupled with bad international press for Spain then it’s always likely to dent house prices. However in relation to the luxury property market most people buying are very savvy and can see though these mirages or reasons not to buy.
So in conclusion property prices are likely to stay low for the a little while yet but we are already at the bottom for the luxury property market in Mallorca and Marbella