Spanish Property Bottomed Out – For Now

September 22nd, 2009

The collapse in Spanish property sales appears to be running out of steam, which is good news of sorts.

The latest monthly sales figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) show there were 33,694 home sales in July (not including social housing), the biggest monthly sales figure this year, and only 19.6% lower than the same time last year.

Monthly homes sales have in fact been creeping up since April, when they hit an record low of 26,215 in the aftermath of the stock market collapse. As the volume of sales has climbed, year on year sales declines have improved too.

On a cumulative basis, however, sales in the year to July are down 33% to 243,000.

For the first time this year, the number of newly built and previously occupied homes sold was almost equal, thanks to a significant improvement in resales, and a slight fall in the number of new homes sold.

Historically, and under normal market conditions, resales are bigger than new homes, but since July 2008, and thanks to the Spanish property market crash, new build sales have been higher.

The problem is that, sometime in the not too distant future, the figures for new build sales are going to fall off a cliff, to reflect the fact developers have barely signed any new sales contracts this year.

Nobody expects resales to recover strongly enough to replace the hole left by vanishing new build sales, so if and when that happens, the Spanish property market will take another dive.

It’s also worth pointing out that, compared to July 2007, sales are down 41%. As time goes by, year on year comparisons get less interesting than peak-to-present figures.

Good news of sorts then.

Story from Mark Stucklin

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