The real estate market in Spain began on an optimistic note in 2022. The first quarter marked record sales, but the situation changed with the start of the special operation in Ukraine. Rising energy prices have had a negative impact on the financial viability of European buyers against the background of a weakening economy following the pandemic. Let us consider how 2022 performed on the Spanish real estate market and its future prospects.
- Sales in 2022
- Forecasts for 2023
Sales in 2022
According to CBRE, real estate in Spain "remained appealing to investors despite changing macroeconomic conditions". Projections indicated that the volume of investments in the Spanish real estate sector would be around €17.5 billion in 2022.
Miriam Goicoechea, head of residential and alternative research at CBRE in Spain, stated that these are "record-breaking total investments that allow us to place this segment above the values that existed prior to the pandemic."
According to official information, home sales in 2022 rose:
- 164,299 transactions were recorded in the first quarter;
- 163,909 transactions were registered in the second quarter;
- 167,892 transactions were concluded in the third quarter (up 2.4% quarter-on-quarter; this is the second-highest ever sales result after the market peak in the third quarter of 2007). Secondary housing took the lead in terms of numbers among residential real estate transactions during this quarter, accounting for 82.97% of the total number of transactions;
- At the time of writing, no data for the fourth quarter had been published.
Year by year, sales volumes grew by 7.54% in the third quarter. The figures include both primary and secondary real estate transactions. The year's final results had not yet been compiled, but it could be assumed that the final quarter's results would not be worse than the previous ones.
According to the General Council of Notaries, 58,942 transactions were recorded in November 2022. From the start of the year to November 2022, there had been 606,124 transactions for the purchase and sale of housing. This confirmed buyers' lasting interest in Spain's housing stock at the end of the year and suggested that the year 2022 would be one of the most successful in terms of real estate sales.
How many property units have foreigners purchased?
Overseas buyers purchased 101,460 dwellings in the first three quarters of 2022 – a 44.31% increase over the same period in 2021.
According to Sociedad de Tasación, a statistical firm specialising in housing stock appraisal and housing market data, the average cost of apartments in off-plan development projects in Spain increased by 7.1% in 2022, reaching €2,732 per one m2 by December 2022.
Price growth accelerated in the second half of 2022 for a variety of reasons, including:
- Buyers' growing interest in new buildings;
- Shortage of new housing stock.
However, these numbers remain far from the situation in 2007, when home prices reached €3,000 per one m2, resulting in the formation of a housing market ‘bubble’.
The Balearic Islands, where the average cost of a home increased by 9.1% over the period under review, and Madrid, where it rose by 8.5%, are the leaders in terms of growth rates.
Forecasts for 2023
The year 2022 saw a slowing trend in property price growth in Spain. Forecasts called for 2% growth in 2022, but that was reduced to 1% in the end. This figure is significantly lower than the inflation rate. Such a decrease stands in stark contrast to the backdrop of a massive increase in Spanish property prices in 2021, when they increased by 6.4%.
Analysts are divided on the prospects for the growth of the local real estate market. Some of them believe that the 2008 scenario, in which the economic crisis affected all sectors of the market, could be repeated. A number of analysts believe that a global real estate recession is inevitable and that Spain will be unable to avoid this process. This fact may have an impact on the processes of controlling inflation, as the real estate industry is one of the incentives for economic development due to the need for labour force and construction materials. Experts, however, have so far refused to provide more specific forecasts.
Why is this so?
The length of the mortgage rate growth cycle has a significant impact on the housing market. The situation is contradictory: lower prices for houses in Spain might make them more affordable, but higher bank rates might make mortgage payments more difficult. Sales declines cause downtime in the construction industry, which leads to unemployment and a drop in demand for construction supplies. This has a negative impact on the economy as a whole.
The coming period in Spain's property market is likely to be marked by higher mortgage rates. This will result in longer periods for real estate sales and slower transaction volume growth. Analysts believe that raising interest rates from 1.5-3% to 2.5-4% will result in a short-term cooling of the market only. Spanish real estate will remain one of the most stable assets in terms of investments, particularly when choosing a long-term investment strategy, i.e., if resale of the purchased apartments in Spain is not planned in the near future.