We already have initial data on the evolution of house prices for a month fully affected both by the pandemic and by the state of alarm, confinement and paralysis of economic activity. According to flats.com, the average price of second-hand flats in Spain last month stood at 1,698 euros per square meter. It is a figure that represents an increase of 0.50% compared to the month of March, but a decrease of 0.97% compared to the same month of the previous year, when the square meter stood at 1,715 euros.
Ferrán Font, director of flats.com studios, affirms that “the offer prices” (which are those collected on the real estate website) “anticipate the price trend of the closing of operations”. And he adds that what has been observed in the portal has been that “Drops are taking place, but in a timid way, and in no case in a general way”.
In the interannual rate, according to the statistic of piso.com, housing fell in 26 provincial capitals, while prices rose in another 24. The largest increases took place in Ávila and Vitoria, where houses were almost 8% more expensive this April than they were a year ago. In Palma de Mallorca and Santa Cruz de Tenerife the year-on-year rise is more than 6%. And in Huesca, 6.7%.
Zamora was the provincial capital in which the price of housing fell the most in the last twelve months: 8.30%. Then Logroño (-6.56%), A Coruña (-5.56%), as well as Barcelona and Córdoba, where the falls were higher than 4%.
With this, the most expensive provincial capital in April was San Sebastián, with the price per square meter above 5,000 euros, on average. Next came Barcelona, with 4,457 euros. In third place was Madrid, with the price per square meter close to 4,000 euros. In Palma de Mallorca and Bilbao it was close to 3,300 euros.
The cheapest house could be found in Ávila, with a price of over 1,000 euros per meter. While in Ciudad Real, Cáceres, Huelva and Lleida it is placed on 1,100 euros.
At the moment, Font says, “It is still too early to make firm forecasts on the impact of the health crisis on house prices”. And, although Font continues, “the main lines of a de-escalation by the Government are already being drawn, we do not know if we will have to take steps backwards due to a possible rebound in coronavirus cases”.
Precisely, this Monday, when phase 0 of the de-escalation begins, real estate companies can return to activity. In this sense, Eduardo Molet, real estate consultant and founder of the Network of Real Estate Experts, affirms that prevention and training measures have been implemented in the sector for employees in order to resume activity with all the guarantees, “although we continue to prioritize teleworking ». Molet explains that shifts have been established in the offices, in which plastic partitions have also been installed to separate clients and workers, as well as the use of gel, gloves and masks. In addition, says Molet, physical visits to homes will only be made if they are essential and with protective equipment.
Molet affirms that it returns to activity with 78 possible buyers, a figure that is not close “Not even half the number of visits that had to be canceled when the crisis erupted and the state of alarm was declared”: “We had to cancel 187 visits from customers who wanted to buy,” says Molet. But this agent of the property confines that, little by little and with the appropriate measures, the crisis will come out and the pulse of the sector will recover.
Closings of 25% of agencies and price drops of 15%
But Molet acknowledges that the crisis will not leave the sector unscathed: Molet anticipates that more than 25% of real estate agencies will close. AND, As for prices, it foresees falls of 15%, with a reduction in transactions of 28%.
Although he also considers that the recovery may be faster than expected: “Many investors will bet on the brick.” This, due to the low interest rates that will persist and the possible fiscal measures that will be taken throughout the coming months.
In this sense, from Asprima, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado has been asking the Executive for weeks, so that the real estate sector can become an economic engine, the recovery of the deduction for investment in habitual residence or the reduction of VAT for the purchase of the first home.
According to a survey carried out by the idealista.com real estate portal, two out of every three real estate professionals have continued to work during house confinement, although without teaching homes. Some have even been able to take advantage of the quarantine to close pending operations, or at least leave them finished for lack of signature.
Furthermore, that consultation has concluded that 77% of real estate agencies believe that sale prices will fall in the coming months, compared to 54% who think that they will also do so for rent. No respondent bets on a rise in the value of homes and only 3% consider that leases could become more expensive.
In any case, one out of every three agencies affirms that it will arrive “very touched” at the end of the state of alarm. Only 7% of them acknowledged having the financial capacity to survive more than six months in these circumstances, while 47% affirm that they could succeed if this situation is not prolonged more than two or three months.