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Second consecutive month of growth in housing market: Significant rise from January to February
02 May 2021 @ 22:50

HOME-BUYING figures are starting to show signs of recovery despite the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, with sales and purchases having risen for two months on the trot, pending statistics for April.

According to Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE), a total of 43,185 residential properties changed hands in February, which is only 4.6% down from February 2020, just before the Covid crisis hit Europe and the last full month of 'normality' on the continent.

And this represents an 8.6% growth on sales figures for January 2021, a month when, even without the Coronavirus issue, the Christmas mayhem and overspending would normally mean selling or buying a home takes a back seat.

During the first quarter of 2021, house sales were down 10% on that of 2020, which is only to be expected, given that all bar the last two weeks of the first quarter of last year were pandemic-free in Spain.

The onset of the 'third wave' of Covid contagion in Spain, one which was, in most areas, more aggressive than the previous two put together, meant excellent progress in the housing market in November and December 2020 reversed sharply in January 2021, dropping by 15.4%, with year-on-year figures showing a reduction overall of 17.7% in sales – the greatest in a decade.

But the vaccine roll-out across Europe, combined with a considerable drop in Covid cases in more than half of Spain – in some areas, down to zero outside large towns and cities – means 2021 is likely to start to see a gradual recovery in the market, especially in terms of holiday homes among buyers living outside of the country once international travel is fully re-established.

Second-hand property sales fell 8.1% year on year, with 33,055 in February, but this still represented a rise of 5.5% on January.

And non-new homes continue to make up the bulk of the residential property market, accounting for 76.5% of the total.

For new builds, the situation appears buoyant: For the first time in six-and-a-half years, or since July 2014, Spain broke the 10,000 barrier and reported significant growth.

In February 2021, a total of 10,130 brand-new homes were bought, being nearly a quarter – 23.5% - of the overall sales and purchases for the month and representing a year-on-year rise of 11.1%.

Compared with January this year, new-build sales in February rocketed by 20.4%, and the overall rise for the first quarter of 2021, from that of 2020, was 5.6%.

With this increase coming at the beginning of a year where Covid cases were more rife than ever before and restrictions on trade and movement nationwide were extremely tight, it gives a taster of what the new-build market may look like in a 'normal' year and what could be expected once the health crisis is over.

Regions where increases in residential property sales and purchases were highest were in relatively unlikely parts of Spain: La Rioja topped the list, with transactions soaring by 13.7% year on year, followed by the Basque Country, with an annual increase as at February of 10.9%.



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