Spain "poised for growth" in 2016The Spanish property market is "poised for growth" in 2016, according to industry experts. Prices are beginning to rise, while sales to Brits are booming and confidence among national buyers is even improving.The Spanish property market is "poised for growth" in 2016, according to industry experts. The country has had a positive 2015, with the pound at a seven-year high against the euro, boosting the appeal of already affordable prices for Brits and other nationalities.
Indeed, recent Q3 data from the Spanish property Registrars indicate a rise in sales to foreign buyers by 20 per cent to 12,535.
Latest figures from estate agency Lucas Fox International Properties also highlights a "significant rise" in the number of sales of Spanish homes by British buyers during the last 12 months.
Sales data from the Barcelona-based company - which primarily focuses on high end properties - indicate that the number of transactions by British buyers increased by 26 per cent across all key regions over the last 12 months, with Barcelona, Ibiza and the Costa Brava the areas most in demand.
The growing number of British tourists certainly demonstrates the ongoing love affair between the UK and Spain: visitors dropped by nearly a quarter from 16.3 million in 2007 to 12.4 million in 2010, but have since climbed back up to an expected 15.5m in 2015, with a still higher number expected in 2016.
More crucially, though, national buyers are also returning to the market, buoyed by the slow-but-sure recovery of the economy.
The Spanish economy will grow 3.2 per cent in 2015 and 2.7 per cent in 2016, predicts Spanish bank BBVA."The reasons for the moderation are the slowdown in global demand, depletion of some cyclical factors and increased uncertainty, partly linked to Spanish electoral cycle," says the lender.
Regardless, the "tailwinds that support recovery" are expected to prevail,
Lucas Fox reveals that it has seen domestic property sales rise 50 per cent from November 2014 to November 2015. The registrars' data also highlights a 16 per cent rise in national buyers to more than 80 thousand compared to the same period last year."The national economy is rebounding and GDP in Spain is currently up 3.4 per cent year-on-year - more than twice the Eurozone average. Spain's eye-watering unemployment level is also finally coming down, along with the cost of living. More jobs and more purchasing power for Spaniards is a healthy platform for growth," comments Spanish propertyportal Kyero.com. So where are the hotspots of growth that buyers should be paying attention to? Lucas Fox's report shows that prices in Spain's three key cities – Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia - are now beginning to increase, albeit slowly.
"In all of these locations the improving market conditions are being driven by increasing levels of confidence amongst national buyers, something that is crucial for the market's long term recovery," explains the agency's founding partner, Alexander Vaughan. "In almost all our markets, this renewed confidence, a strong economy and the Spanish banks' willingness to offer competitive mortgages has brought new investors into the market and we are now seeing international buyers competing against local buyers to secure the best properties in the most desirable locations."
Indeed, overseas buyers account for around 18 per cent of the Spanish property market overall, according to figures from the registrars, although in some areas this rises considerably - in Alicante, for example, half of all buyers are non-Spaniards. In addition to Alicante, Kyero.com's Richard Speigal highlights the Canary and Balearic Islands as important hotspots.
"The eastern Canaries - Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote - look particularly strong with a fast improving jobs market, strong growth in lending and very active overseas interest. Twelve months of sunshine is enduringly appealing," he explains. "Meanwhile international investors love the Balearics and have driven strong sales growth in 2015: foreign investment now accounts for more than 40 per cent of the market. The Balearics also benefit from one of the lowest unemployment rates in Spain, making a happy overall picture for property investment there in 2016."
Malaga and Murcia complete Kyero's shortlist of likely 2016 hotspots - Malaga thanks to high international investment and stead growth in sales, and Murcia due to rising sales, increased domestic lending and overseas buyers accounting for a quarter of the market. "There are some stark variations across Spain's regions and provinces," adds Speigal, "but as a whole the market looks poised for growth in 2016."