Bank Santander Estimates Property Prices in Spain Fell an Average of 50% on the Costas and 30% in Cities
Bank Santander released yesterday a report titled “The Contrarian View” which upholds that market adjustment in Spain’s property sector has now almost concluded. Indeed, living up to its name, it’s a contrarian view.
They estimate property prices have fallen on average 20 to 30% in large Spanish cities. These properties are in the vast majority main residences. The major fall has taken place on the Spanish costas, which are mainly second homes or foreigner’s overseas summer homes. They estimate the average fall in this segment reaches 50%.
In their report they estimate the real estate market peaked out in 2007. They forecast that Spain’s GDP will resume feeble growth in 2011 picking up pace on the following years.
I find unsurprising the fact that main residences have fallen less than their second home counterparts; that was reasonably in line with what everybody expected.
What I find surprising is the report claiming that property prices have fallen 50% on the Spanish coasts on average. As many would-be buyers who actually booked flights from the UK or elsewhere to fly over to Spain (when that was still possible!) on the hope of finding a dream villa for a 50% discount can attest that this simply is not the case. There has been a lot of hype going on property falling by 50% but frankly this contradicts any empirical observation.
There has been a significant market correction, no doubt, but not to the extent of a 50% fall on the costas. It’s true that some isolated off-plan developments perched atop hills which are a good 10 minute drive from civilization have fallen 50% or maybe even more, but these are few and do not constitute a general rule.
I would say, being coherent with the articles I write, that property prices will still keep on falling across the board over the next years, however steadily. I find the report’s conclusions a tad overoptimistic to be honest. For example, it remains to be seen how the huge property portfolio in the hands of struggling Spanish savings banks (http://ftalphaville NULL.ft NULL.com/blog/2010/04/14/202681/the-slow-death-of-the-cajas/)will unfold in the near future affecting price fixation when –and if– they are released openly into the market.
This could seriously add pressure driving down prices further adding to the oversupply. Lenders are going to great lengths not to release en masse their ever-growing property portfolios as a result of repossessions (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/articles/showArticle/home-repossessions-in-spain-defaulting-on-mortgage) or “daciones en pago de deuda (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/articles/showArticle/spanish-mortgage-dacion-en-pago-handing-keys-bank)“. Fortunately the Government is always there to help them (if not bail them out) amending accounting rules where necessary so balance sheets aren’t hurt.
It’s reassuring that those in need are helped out when needed.
Nevertheless I’d say there are already available interesting bargains (since 2009 actually) mainly from the classic three D’s (divorce, disease, death) and non-performing mortgage loans. But we have not yet reached that stage of capitulation in the property market which this report seemingly implies. I’m sure we will get there at some point or other.
In any case the spring season traditionally brings a surge of conveyance procedures and we are now witnessing a renewed interest in Spanish property over the last month. That is, providing volcanic activity keeps a low profile! Fingers crossed.
Source: Cotizalia (http://www NULL.cotizalia NULL.com/en-exclusiva/santander-pisos-inmobiliaria-caida-20100421 NULL.html)