Spain sees return of the ‘lifestyle investor’Recent figures released by the Bank of Spain and the Spanish Government show that the country’s economy is growing at its fastest rate since 2008. Lucas Fox, Knight Frank’s representative office in Barcelona, assesses what this means for the country’s property market.
In the majority of Spanish property markets where Lucas Fox operates, peak sales occurred in 2007, with prices maintained for slightly longer in areas along the Costa Brava and in particular close to Sitges, here asking prices peaked as late as mid-2008.
Barcelona has seen a steady decline in asking prices each quarter until the third quarter of 2013, and has been slowly rebuilding average asking prices since then.
Barcelona’s average sales prices peaked at ?4,732 per sq m in 2007, dropping to a low of ?2,957 per sq m in the third quarter of 2013, before slowly rising again to start 2015 at an average asking price of ?3,263 per sq m.
Alexander Vaughan, Lucas Fox co-founder, said: “In the period between 2007 to 2013 there was uncertainty about the market and this made a lot of people put their plans on hold. In the last two years, thanks to more confidence in the recovery of the Spanish economy and the Euro in general, we have seen the market reactivating with price re-adjustments across the board.
“The appeal of Spain is as strong as it has ever been and we are seeing a huge growth in what we call ‘lifestyle investors’. They want to make a wise property investment but choose Spain because of the quality of life it offers. This is a key trend in the recovering market today.”
Since mid-2013 the number of property sales has steadily increased in all the regions where Lucas Fox operates, indicating greater confidence in the market. However, there is some way to go before sales volumes reach 2007 levels, in part due to the lack of stock available.