Posted on May 17, 2016 in Property

Foreign home buyers, taking advantage of the strong decline in prices registered in the real estate sector since the bursting of the housing bubble, bought more homes than ever in Spain during the last year. Specifically, these international investors acquired close to 48,000 homes, which represents a year-on-year increase of over 13% and also represents over 13% of the total number of housing transactions carried out.

According to data from the Property Registrars House Price Index of Repeated Sales, citizens of the United Kingdom accounted for the greatest volume of housing transactions by foreign nationals, with 21% of the total. French, German and Swedish buyers each accounted for between 6% and 7% of the housing transactions, while Chinese buyers, who are increasingly seeking more investment in Spain, carried out a little more than 4% of the total transactions.

All of these investments, together with the home purchases made by Spanish nationals, explain the recent sharp increase in the price of housing. The Registrars explained in their report that the first quarter of 2016 closed with a year-on-year increase of 6.9%, which is slightly above the increase registered at the end of 2015, and they pointed out this is the third consecutive quarter where the year-on-year increase in prices has stood above 6%.

El Mundo reported that the strong growth is the result, among other things, of the nearly 100,000 houses that were sold in Spain during just the first quarter of the year. According to the Registrars, the volume of quarterly sales in the first quarter is the highest of the past 12 quarters, the second highest of the last 20 quarters, and is 18% more than the figures for the last quarter of last year.

Some 16 of Spain’s regions registered positive quarterly rates, noted the report, and the greatest numbers of sales were registered in Andalucía, Catalonia, Madrid and Valencia.

Moreover, the number of houses sold in Spain during the past 12 months has also marked a milestone. A total of 363,431 home sales were registered, representing an increase of 8,893 compared with the year-on-year results for the fourth quarter of 2015, which according to the data is the highest year-on-year result of the last 17 quarters.

According to the Registrars, these figures and very positive data show the recovery of a sector that has been, and will return to be key to economic growth, but which still carries some problems. One of them, as shown in the report, is the volume of new housing sales, which in year-on-year terms registered a new record low with just 71,703 sales.

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