Bargain-hunting Scandinavians and Russians replace British buyers as Spain faces up to banks' toxic debts

Spain's property market is changing, with apartments in Barcelona and other major cities costing far less than in recent years.

Estate agents in Spain say there is a new realism in the property market as officials finally face up to the issue of the banks' toxic debts.

Henri Dovermann, of Hedrealestate.com, an agency in Torrevieja, said: "Things are changing – we are being given whole developments to sell, and pressure is on to sell them fast."

In the past foreign buyers getting into financial difficulties were quietly switched to interest-only mortgages which slashed monthly repayments for three to four years, he said. Spaniards who have got into difficulties have been allowed to stay in their home paying a rent rather than making mortgage payments. Developers, he said, that were technically bankrupt, were propped up so the banks did not have to own up to their bad debts.

But, according to Dovermann, apartments on the coast that were making €200,000 at the top are now, he said, going for €70,000-€80,000, although there are signs that those prices may be reaching the bottom, with local buy-to-let landlords starting to invest.

Bargain-hunting Scandinavians, Russians and even Ukrainians have replaced Britons as the key foreign buyers, often arriving with cash generated at home.

Source: guardian.co.uk

The Spanish government is trying to put the country mortgage market back on track, and it is forcing takeovers and mergers to accelerate the change.

Banco Sabadell acquired CAM bank for €1 in December 2011 and BBVA acquired Unnim bank for the same price this month, and Catalunya’s CaixaBank has purchased Banca Cívica, becoming the leading financial institution in Spain in terms of assets.

Although Spain did not have official subprime mortgages as the United States, in the late 2000s it did fall into unrealistic mortgages, which consequences nowadays are banks having to repossess a meaningful number of properties, converting them in enormous real estate owners with no buyers.

‘As the property market in Spain boomed, many banks took a naive approach to lending money and they are suffering for it now. Whilst the UK has various checks and balances in place to prevent the recurrence of scandals such as the endowment mortgage mis-selling of the 1980s and 1990s, Spain has yet to get a watertight grip of its financial products although Rajoy is making huge strides,’ explained Marc Elliott, independent mortgage consultant and owner of Fluent Finance Abroad.

‘Deals such as those seen in the past are either non existent or hard to find but if you have a good income and clean credit history the banks will lend. Certain banks did not fall into the reckless subprime trap and are lending pretty much as they were prior to the credit crunch,’ he pointed out.

‘If you are a first time buyer and you don’t have a large cash deposit then it might be wise to consider a bank property. If you have a sizeable deposit at your fingertips it would probably be better to look at the traditional real estate market as these properties tend to be slightly better value for money,’ said Elliott.

‘At the moment banks are looking to get the best price possible for their properties to try and recoup the original funds that were lent, they do this is by slightly inflating asking prices and offering excellent finance terms such as little or no money down deals,’ he added.

‘Always speak to more than one mortgage consultant to make sure you are satisfied that you are getting the best person to represent your interests. If anyone suggests that obtaining mortgage finance in Spain is easy, they are not being completely truthful,’ said Elliott.

Source: Property Wire

propertywire.com 

300,000 square metres of new offices are expected to come on to the market in Madrid over the course of 2012

According to an article published in Global Real Estate, the office market in Madrid appears to have taken a downward turn since the beginning of 2012. The vacancy rate in the Spanish city has been creeping up over the past few months, while a rising supply of such commercial properties coupled with falling demand is putting pressure on rents.

300,000 square metres of new offices are expected to come on to the market in Madrid over the course of 2012; however, demand is sliding, with many occupiers choosing to downsize due to the current economic climate.

On average, the rent charged for Spanish commercial real estate in Madrid's central business district is now nearly 40 per cent below its peak, and the organisation is forecasting prime rents will stand at 309 euros per sq m per year by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Barcelona also made it into the top ten, ranked as the seventh most desirable location in which to have retail premises on the continent.