For the first time since before the financial crisis, annual house sales in Spain have broken the half-a-million barrier, say the latest figures, with a 10.1 per cent hike in residential property changing hands in 2018, as the Costa Blanca leads the way.
According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), a total of 515,051 homes were sold in 2018 – a factor attributed to a combination of economic growth, financial strength, improvements in the job market, and residential property being much cheaper now than just before the ‘bubble’ burst in 2008.
INE data show that last year saw the market beginning to plateau, with the most moderate rise in purchase growth since 2014 – a year when the number of transactions only rose by two per cent, compared with 11.5 per cent the following year, 14 per cent in 2016, and 15.4 per cent in 2017.
But sales numbers at the end of last year were their highest in a decade, and both new builds and second-hand homes were behind the annual growth, according to the INE.
This fifth year of increases in home sales numbers is in stark contrast to the worst years of the financial crisis – 2008 and 2009, when property purchases plunged by 25.1 per cent and 28.8 per cent respectively.
In 2011 and 2012, sales were still falling in double-figure percentages, at 18.1 per cent and 11.5 per cent, and an end to tax breaks on buying main residences saw a reduction of 1.9 per cent in 2013.
But from then on, growth has been consistent – in 2018, a total of 422,531 second-hand homes and 92,520 new builds were sold, the first being the highest number since 2007 and the second being the highest since 2014.
The greatest number of property sales in 2018 per 100,000 inhabitants was in the Comunidad Valenciana and especially in Alicante Province, with 2,010 homes per 100,000 residents shifted.
This means one of Spain’s most populous and popular regions was streets ahead of the rest of the country, given that the second-highest number of transactions per 100,000 residents, in the Balearic Islands, was 1,641.
Andalucía was third with 1,537 sales per 100,000.
In terms of overall numbers, Andalucía accounted for the most properties sold – 101,330 – followed by Catalunya, with 81,020, the Comunidad Valenciana with 78,800 and Madrid with 75,845.