Home Sales Fell 11.3% in 2012

Despite the announcement that the tax incentives for home purchases were to be scrapped at the end of last year, it did not prevent a further contraction in the housing market, and housing sales declined again in 2012, by 11.3% compared to 2011. Thus, according to the latest data published by the National Statistics Institute, the number of housing transactions marked their second year of negative results after the drop of 17.7% experienced in 2011, which followed the positive results of 2010.

The abolition of the tax credit for home purchases and the increase in VAT did, however, cushion the fall in housing transactions in 2012, which was the most moderate in recent years. The worst years for housing transactions were registered in 2009 and 2008, when sales slumped by 24.9% and 28.6%, respectively. Only 2010 registered positive results, with the sale of homes increasing by 6.8%.

Although the National Statistics Institute has stated that it will publish a more detailed explanation of the annual results of these operations on 20th February, El Mundo estimates that around 320,000 house purchases were carried out in 2012 compared to 361,831 a year earlier (-11.3%) – a figure approaching the 300,000 break-even balance which experts have always defended, and far below the nearly one million transactions closed in 2006, during the boom.

In 2012, sales of new homes fell 9.3% from a year earlier, while sales of used homes shrank by 13.2%. The majority of transactions for home purchases in the past year were for private housing. In total, the sale of such homes fell 10% in 2012, while public housing operations decreased by 20%.

In the last month of 2012, housing sales increased by 2.3% compared to December 2011, reaching 23,523 operations, in contrast to the decline of 6.1% registered in November. December’s year-on-year increase was due to sales of both used homes and new, although transactions on the latter increased slightly more.

Specifically, the sale of second-hand homes rose 0.9% in December year-on-year, to 12,235 operations, while that of new homes rose 3.8%, to 11,288 transactions.

89.7% of the housing transactions in December were for private homes. Sales of this type of housing rose by 5.7% to 21,089 operations, while public housing operations totalled 2,434, a decrease of 19.9% compared to December 2011.

Month-on-month (December over November), housing sales dropped by 8.3%, much less than in December 2011 (-15.8%) and in line with the monthly declines of 2008 and 2009.

Andalucía Lead the Market in December

In December 2012, the highest number of home sales per 100,000 population occurred in Valencia (82) and Extremadura (78), and nearly 60% of the housing transactions carried out in December were registered in: Andalusia (4,539 operations); Valencia (3,380); Catalonia (2,885) and Madrid (2,783). The regions which made fewer house sales in December were La Rioja (174 operations), Navarra (282) and Cantabria (347).

In relative terms, the regions which increased house sales most in December, year-on-year, were Aragon (+61.1%) and Extremadura (+54.9%), while the largest decreases were for Navarre (-31.7%), the Basque Country (-27.5%) and La Rioja (-26%).