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RECORD PRICES AND GROWTH IN SALES OF RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE IN MADRID

The regions of the Mediterranean coast of Spain are currently the most popular real estate markets in the country among international buyers. The main buyers of housing are British citizens. They are followed by citizens of France, Germany and Switzerland. Argentines also appeared in the top ten of the rating of nationalities. All of them are attracted by the high quality of life, good infrastructure, climate, developed tourism sector and many leisure options.

The Costa del Sol, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, is experiencing a real boom. Alexis Demian, a representative of Legem law firm, points out that the region has already overtaken Barcelona in terms of the volume of investments attracted from abroad. The trend has especially intensified after Juan Manuel Moreno, the chairman of the Government of Andalusia, announced the abolition of the wealth tax throughout the region.

The Costa del Sol region occupies more than 150 kilometers on the Mediterranean coastline of the country, forming part of the province of Malaga in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. The name comes from the statement that the Costa del Sol has 325 sunny days a year.

Gustavo Menaed, co-founder of the Argentine developer Grupo Portland, points out: «Spain is a dynamically developing, stable market. Along with Portugal, it is a key attraction in Europe. Tranquility, stability and comfort — the country has everything to attract a foreign buyer. Already today, the suburbs of the country's largest cities are actively growing into upscale areas that are trying to meet the enormous demand for housing from wealthy foreigners».

If you rely on surveys of market participants, then you can see an almost unanimous opinion about the active development and growth of Spanish real estate. There is confidence in the continued growth of prices and sales volumes in the market in the near future, including due to the apparent shortage of available goods. The pace of construction does not keep pace with demand, new goods are sold out within a month. With the recent entry of large investment funds into the national market, the situation with the lack of housing has only worsened.

The portal «How to buy in Spain», which provides statistics for foreigners wishing to buy real estate in the country, named the Balearic Islands, Malaga and Alicante the fastest growing real estate markets in the period from June 2021 to June 2022. One of the most expensive housing categories is located there, prices and sales are actively growing.

Menaed points out that Spain stands apart from both such giant real estate markets as the United States and emerging markets like Uruguay. In the current situation, the country is gaining more and more interest from foreigners. For example, Argentines have noticeably shifted their preferences towards Spain, preferring it to the classic choice of Miami.

In general, the representative of Grupo Portland points out that today is a good moment to enter the Spanish market. Pravda adds that it is necessary to carefully analyze the costs and the expected profitability at a specific time of the investment. Luxury class facilities are already at their peak, but the more affordable segment still has a decent margin for growth. The profitability of apartments in Madrid is still 4-4.5%, but it may grow even more.

Grupo Portland itself is currently engaged in active development in Guadalajara, an area northeast of Madrid, if you follow the highway to Zaragoza. On the example of the company's work, houses in this region will cost, on average, 227,000 euros (approx. without VAT). Rental rates are at the level of 1,400 euros per month. Housing will be built in batches of 20 pieces and it is planned to build about 74 properties in this area alone.

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SEVILLE IS A GROWING REAL ESTATE MARKET THAT IS NOT GOING TO SLOW DOWN

The real estate sector in Spain, the sale and rental of housing in particular, remains one of the few sectors of the Spanish economy that maintains its growth rates at extremely high levels, still holding the post-pandemic momentum of development. In some regions of the country, this is especially noticeable, for example, in Seville.

The available market data demonstrate that currently Seville maintains an extremely impressive pace of construction of new residential real estate and attracts huge volumes of tourists, expats, investors. There is a supply and there is a demand that this supply can satisfy and, in a sense, does not even keep up with it.

Forecasts predict a bright future for this market and some information describing its condition and development dynamics will be presented below. It will be useful for investors who plan to invest their funds in local housing, for example, to earn money on rent.

INDICATORS THAT CAUSE OPTIMISM

In a report prepared by the consulting company Savills, Seville is considered as a city with one of the most impressive growth potentials among other regions of Spain. Both Seville itself and its province have successfully overcome the difficulties that arose as a result of the pandemic, and are preparing for a return to pre-pandemic indicators.

The city has a developed investment infrastructure and attracts both private investors and funds, developers, including international ones, and many real estate brokers. In addition to the housing sector, which is key for the development of the local market, the hotel sector is also very attractive to international investors.

Since 2021, Seville has been showing steady sales growth. At the moment, the volume of residential real estate transactions has increased by 40% compared to last year. At the same time, the volume of permits issued for the construction of new real estate has also increased, specifically, we are talking about a 50% increase compared to the same period in 2021.

Seville is also the third most visited city in Spain. We are talking about the total number of tourists, both domestic and international. After the pandemic, and even against the background of the current international tensions, the number of people arriving on vacation in Seville is only growing and inspiring optimism.

Thanks to this popularity, the city attracts many major international hotel brands. Many of them are already actively cooperating with developers, investing huge amounts of money in the purchase of existing and construction of new hotel facilities. In the coming years, the local market expects a large influx of both new housing and new hotels.

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A SMALL LUXURY HOUSE FOR ONLY 45,000 EUROS

In the current economic situation, and the situation specifically in the Spanish real estate market, prefabricated houses are becoming increasingly popular. Often, they turn out to be a good option both as holiday accommodation and as the main place of residence.

This market segment is actively developing, covering more and more new categories of prices and buyers. One of the striking examples of elite prefabricated houses is a small object with an area of 19 square meters of the brand «KEU Pocket». It will cost about 45,000 euros to the buyer.

In a more affordable segment, you can find houses of the same brand, but of a different model — «KEU Family». In general, they will cost 15% more «Pocket» (about 60,000 euros), while offering twice the living space.

«KEU POCKET»: 19 SQUARE METERS OF LUXURY

With high quality, this is a fairly economical model on the market. It is small, but accommodates a bathroom, a kitchen and a bedroom-living room. The kitchen in this house is equipped with hanging furniture, as well as fully equipped with designer appliances and stools.

In this case, the shower is a bay window with a glass window attached to the bedroom. This glass is «Smart» — it lets in light depending on the time of day, giving enough natural light for the room, but hiding everything inside.

The floor in the room is heated, there are trunks, an Italian sofa bed, a wardrobe. The house is technically fully equipped with everything necessary for life, including home automation, water supply, photovoltaic panels and WiFi network. You can get into it by stairs.

«KEU» AND «KEU FAMILY»: 37 SQUARE METERS FOR 60,000 EUROS

The larger offerings from the brand offer a more classic living experience. As a second home or a guest house, a bunch of houses «KEU + KEU Family» acts as the best offer from the brand.

In fact, the main product is the «KEU» model. It can accommodate 2 people, it is large in itself, equipped with everything necessary, has pull-out rooms to optimize space, folding and pull-out tables, sofa beds.

At the same time, «KEU Family» is a modification of the original model, which allows 4 people to live together. This model is equipped on a par with the previous one, although it has a larger number of electrical appliances and automation systems.

Both models have a glazed veranda that provides plenty of natural light and a sense of spaciousness indoors. «KEU Family» is distinguished by the presence of a bunk bed.

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INVESTMENTS IN THE HOTEL SECTOR ARE CONCENTRATED IN POPULAR TOURIST REGIONS AND THE ELITE SEGMENT

The Spanish hotel real estate market continues to attract great interest from both national and international investors. The current situation in the sector drew the attention of the specialists of Cushman & Wakefield, which recently held another annual conference for investors in hotel real estate — «Investments as the basis of the strategy for the development of the hotel sector».

The event was held at the Intercontinental Madrid Hotel, with the support of IHG Hotels & Resorts and Vignette Collection, and brought together more than 250 industry professionals. One of the speakers was Albert Grau, partner and co-head of the Spanish branch of Cushman & Wakefield. In his presentation, Grau noted that one of the key factors of the high attractiveness of the market among investors was the extremely active post-pandemic recovery of both the market itself and the tourism industry as a whole.

However, the growth of the sector and the growth in the number of investments turned out to be so high that at the moment few people have clear development strategies taking into account the existing factors. The conditions are favorable, but not enough efforts, until recently, were made to establish the strongest sides of the market, the most attractive directions. Today it becomes clear that the greatest attention should be focused on the Mediterranean coast, the archipelagos of the country and large coastal resort cities.

John Hubbard, head of Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality, recalled that Spain is one of the key European markets for investment in the hotel sector. He notes that it was the right choice in favor of Spain that allowed Cushman & Wakefield to reach the heights of growth that the company has reached today.

Albert Grau and Bruno Halle, who is also a partner and co-head of the Spanish Cushman & Wakefield, indicated during the presentation they provided data from a survey of investors themselves about their interest in the market. Up to 38% of respondents indicated that they are going to increase the share of capital invested in the hotel sector, compared with the amounts they invested before the pandemic. Another 41% expressed their intention to maintain the current volumes. Only 14% plan to reduce the volume of investments.

Halle reports that the attractiveness of hotel assets is also explained by a fairly high profitability. However, there are also certain risks of overestimating the state of the market, when active post-pandemic growth creates a more positive picture for investors than it may actually be. On the other hand, at the moment the market is largely not occupied by large investors and Halle believes that now is a great time to enter it. There are a lot of proposals, there are no established «rules of the game», assets are fragmented and the situation encourages creativity on the part of both asset owners and investors.

At the moment, two pronounced trends are being formed: the search for the most luxurious offers or the search for the cheapest assets. Little interaction is observed in the intermediate categories of hotel real estate. According to the types of objects, a large share is occupied either by resort facilities or serviced apartments. Geographically, Madrid and Barcelona dominate, which do not leave the top five most popular cities in Europe among investors.

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RATE ON ALICANTE: MORE THAN 32% OF REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS ARE CARRIED OUT AT THE EXPENSE OF SMALL INVESTORS

Alicante has been the object of special interest from real estate investors for a long time and, recently, has earned special popularity among small investors. So, in 2022, up to 32.3% of all real estate transactions in the city were carried out by means of this category of buyers. This indicator is 3.3 points more than the results of the whole of 2021, which accounted for a share of 29%.

The main earning strategy for such buyers is renting out the purchased objects. In this regard, Lazaro Cubero, Director of Market Analysis at Tecnocasa, noted that such indicators speak for themselves in the issue of profitability of deposits in the regional residential market.

Additionally, he pointed out that according to current indicators, when renting out a residential facility, an investor can receive a gross annual profit of 8.7%. The time it will take to pay back the investment, in the number of years, varies from the initial size of the invested funds and conditions, but on average it is about 12 years (138 months).

However, today the real estate rental market is going through rather uncertain times, including due to the abundance of investors in the market. Rental rates in Alicante have increased by 5% over the past year, which has increased the cost of renting a square meter to 6 euros. This puts the rental segment in serious competition with real estate sales.

So, a person with fairly modest savings will not lose more from a mortgage loan to buy a home, even under current conditions. For example, for an average residential property in Alicante worth up to 69,000 euros, a potential buyer can apply for a mortgage of up to 55,200 euros at an annual interest rate of 2.5% and a repayment period of 25 years. Thus, the monthly loan payment for such a buyer will be only 248 euros.

At the same time, the rental rate for such an object reaches 500 euros per month, which gives a difference of 252 euros in favor of a mortgage loan. This is indicated by data from the Tecnocasa study «Analysis of the residential real estate market in Alicante». The information for the study was obtained on the basis of the economic activities of 10 Tecnocasa franchise offices both with the real estate itself and within the framework of financial intermediation.

PRICES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF REAL ESTATE

According to Jose Angel Morcillo, regional manager and head of the Tecnocasa office in Alicante, secondary market housing prices in the city will grow by 4.5% in 2022, reaching 823 euros per square meter. At the same time, Morcillo emphasizes that 66.7% of residential properties in the city were sold at a price of up to 75,000 euros, sales of objects are more expensive than 75,000 euros (approx. up to 150,000 euros) accounted for the remaining 33.3% share. At the conclusion of transactions, the intensity of negotiations is actively increasing and the final sale price is usually 11% of the original price.

The average residential property for sale in Alicante, in 2022, has the following characteristics:

•‎ Elevator — 58.5%;
•‎ Area from 60 to 80 square meters — 40%;
•‎ Three bedrooms — 63%;
•‎ The average age of the building is from 40 to 60 years — 67.7%.

The profile of a modern buyer is the following set of characteristics:

•‎ Purchases real estate for the first time — 66.2%;
•‎ Pays in cash — 60%;
•‎ Is aged from 45 to 54 years — 44.6%;
•‎ Has Spanish citizenship — 61.5%;
•‎ Has a permanent employment contract — 61%;
•‎ Has a secondary education — 42.2%.

Up to 59% of new real estate buyers who resorted to mortgage lending when buying a home in 2022 did so through the opening of a loan with a fixed interest rate. This indicates a significant decrease in confidence in the stability of the market, as the volume of loans opened at a variable rate is growing. For comparison, in 2021, fixed-rate loans held a share of 92.6%.
Lazaro Cubero also gave a comment on housing prices in Alicante. According to him, at present, the level of housing prices in Alicante provides good opportunities for the purchase of real estate. However, the offer on the market is wide and diverse, so the best offers will require a fairly thorough search. Many owners also tend to overestimate the value of their offer, so you need to be ready for serious negotiations about the final price. According to some reports, up to 21% of sellers in the city overestimate the value of their real estate.

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UP TO 40% OF REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS FOR FOREIGNERS IN SPAIN WERE IN ALICANTE

The province of Alicante retains its leadership in the tourist housing sector in Spain. According to the data of the Provincial Association of Real Estate Developers (Provia) for the first half of the year, even then Alicante left its competitors far behind.

Provia data was taken from sources of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Development (Mitma). Already in the first half of the year, the indicators for the province were quite clear. At the national level, the Costa Blanca was particularly noted, and which accounted for up to 40% of sales of tourist real estate to foreigners. Its main competitor is the Costa del Sol in the province of Malaga, which accounted for 24%.

The coast of Alicante as a whole feels more than confident in the market, leaving behind its competitors like Costa de Valencia, Costa Calida, Costa Brava and the Balearic Islands, which accounted for 36% of sales. Provia used this data to demonstrate to the President of the Generalitat of Valencia, Joaquin Puig, the importance of supporting the tourist housing sector in the autonomous community.

Alicante demonstrates that this market segment can be a good engine of economic growth for a region that is extremely competitive even at the pan-European level. Companies of the local real estate market also turned to Poig, supporting Provia that it would be extremely useful for local authorities to pay attention and support this segment of the market.

Timely support will not only help the market and business itself, but will also support the construction sector of the region and create many jobs. Assistance to the sector is also important from the point of view of the development of the tourism industry of Valencia, and not only the construction sector. The new tourist property will support the existing fund of hotel facilities.

Housing tourism has great opportunities to generate large incomes, including for the state, especially from the calculation of attracting wealthy foreign buyers.

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FOREIGN DEMAND STIMULATES THE REAL ESTATE MARKET OF MURCIA — IT GREW BY 23.4%

Foreign buyers continue to show their love for the community of Murcia and its rich real estate market. Market data show a 23.4% increase in the number of transactions for the sale of real estate to foreigners for the third quarter of 2022. Of course, Murcia is not the undisputed market leader, the Canary and Balearic Islands, as well as Valencia, show more figures, specifically, an increase of 33.7%, 31.5% and 28.3% in annual terms, respectively. However, Murcia shows itself better than such areas as Andalusia (17.8%) and Catalonia (15.3%).

Foreign demand in the whole country has reached historic heights this year. Thus, by the end of the third quarter, the market recorded a continuous increase in foreign demand for six consecutive quarters, reaching a level of 15.9% by the end of September. For comparison, on average for the year, this growth rate fluctuates at the level of 12-14%. By nationality, the largest share of buyers is again occupied by the British (9.3%), followed by Germans (8.0%), French (6.2%), Romanians (4.6%), Belgians (4.3%) and Dutch (4.1%).

After the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, millions of Ukrainian citizens were forced to leave their country and find refuge in European countries. Spain has also received thousands of refugees, some of whom live in shelters, some with relatives. However, there were enough people who could afford local housing. In the last six months, the demand for buying and renting housing from Ukrainians has increased significantly. According to available data, 1,237 houses have been bought by this category since February, which is 73% more than in the first half of 2021. This is also 60% more than the average for the last 15 years — 774 houses.

Data from the Idealista real estate portal indicate that the demand for residential real estate from buyers from Ukraine has doubled over the past year. In comparison with 2020, the indicators have tripled altogether, reaching the number of 91,000 search queries on the portal. At the same time, Murcia accounts for almost 3% of all search queries made in 2022. Specifically, Ukrainian buyers prefer the municipalities of Cartagena and San Pedro del Pinatar.

Returning to the data on foreign buyers in general, the provinces of Alicante aroused the greatest interest this year. Valencia and Barcelona. They accounted for almost 60% of all search queries. Behind the three leaders are the regions of Malaga, Asturias, Madrid, Tarragona, Girona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the top ten is closed by Murcia. It is also worth noting the provinces of Castellon, Baleares and Almeria, each of which accounted for more than 1,100 search queries in 2022.

At the level of large cities and provincial capitals, it is worth highlighting such areas as Torrevieja, Benidorm, Gandia, Cullera, Badalona, Castelldefels and Ospitalet de Llobregat. Together with the capitals of Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona, these cities make up the top ten in popularity in 2022. However, foreigners were also interested in such destinations as Alcorcon, in Madrid, Marbella, Estepona, Benalmadena and Mijas, located in Malaga, Arona and Adeje in Santa Cruz and Langreo with the city of Gijon in Asturias.

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THE LARGEST «FLEXIBLE» RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX IN SPAIN HAS APPEARED IN MADRID, WHICH WILL HELP YOUNG PEOPLE WITH REAL ESTATE

The concept of «flexible apartments» is a strategy for creating a residential complex that is legally an apartment hotel and at the same time provides a number of services that are «included» in the accommodation. In simple words, this is a hotel that works like a hotel, but is built on the principle of a full-fledged residential building, which is created for people who are looking for relatively modest housing, whether for a while or for a permanent, in the foreseeable future, basis.

The amenities that a resident of this complex can find include two gyms (one outdoor, the other indoor), a swimming pool, a rooftop terrace for events, as well as a large hall for the same purposes and a laundry room for pets.

Prices for residential properties range from 700 euros per square meter for studios to 1,100 euros per square meter for an apartment with two bedrooms and bathrooms. This amount also includes the costs of all utilities, including water, electricity and Internet.

The cheap price allows such a project to attract, first of all, single and young people who do not have large savings or an urgent need to buy a home beyond their means, even at the expense of an expensive mortgage. «Be Casa Rivas» is the first representative of projects aimed at monetizing the process of emancipation of the younger generation of Spaniards with a profitable for the latter.

In view of this, the project is already enjoying great success among these social groups. Jose Parra, founder of Idealar Soluciones and architect of «Be Casa Rivas», points out that this, in turn, demonstrates to the authorities that in order to solve the urgent problems with housing inaccessibility for the population, not just traditional housing construction programs are needed, but new approaches to the market.

The construction of the residential complex itself was handled by Momentum Real Estate, which is the first player in the market to agree to the development of an innovative project. These investments in the amount of 85 million euros were spent both on the purchase of land for construction and for the construction work.

The construction of «Be Casa Rivas» took the company 2 years and at the end of November 2022 the building was commissioned.

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IS IT POSSIBLE TO USE A TOURIST APARTMENT AS THE MAIN PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN SPAIN?

One of the non-trivial questions that visitors to Spain may face is whether it is possible to use a tourist apartment as the main place of residence? The question is quite relevant, given that in Spain, in fact, there is no national legislation that would regulate this aspect of the tourism industry and the residential sector.

At the same time, of course, there is regional legislation, but, as follows from the description, it can change from one region of the country to another. First of all, when analyzing this issue, you should start with local laws and regulations, primarily at the level of the autonomous community where the desired property is located.

In some autonomous communities of Spain, there are indeed laws that strictly separate and regulate the purchase and accommodation in tourist apartments (AT) and accommodation for tourist use (VUT). Both must be registered with the relevant services on the territory of the autonomous community and comply with regulatory requirements, but the differences between them are quite serious.

The first type of housing refers to apartments for tourists, which are located within a residential building, entirely reserved for the accommodation of tourists and tourists only. It is not considered a classic residential building and only tourists cannot stay in it. This building is legally registered and usually the apartments in it are marked as AT — A - Túrístico. Being rather hotel facilities, such residential complexes must follow particularly strict regulatory requirements.

Tourist use housing (VUT), in turn, is a specific apartment that can easily be located within an ordinary residential complex and receives a license to accommodate tourists individually. Such an apartment may belong to a private person, and not to a company that rents it to a tourist, including on a regular, long-term basis.

For most property owners who are just starting out as landlords in the tourism sector, it is recommended to start their business through VUT. Answering the question posed at the beginning, AT is not a residential facility and cannot be used as a permanent residence. They are commercial residential units. VUT, on the other hand, allows use as a place of permanent residence.

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SWITCHING TO A NEW SPEED: INVESTMENT COMPANY GRUPO LAR HAS STARTED WORK ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF 550 NEW HOUSES

Grupo Lar, an international company registered in Spain, specializing in investment, construction, development and property management, announced that it has started work on the construction of six new residential complexes in Spain — five with rental housing and one complex for sale. This is the next step of the company in its strategy of creating a diversified real estate offer both geographically and structurally.

Miguel Angel Peña, CEO of Grupo Lar's housing division, points out that there is no doubt that there is a shortage of housing in the Spanish market today. Due to the lack of system solutions to this problem, the company decided to take responsibility for providing a new, mass and high-quality product to the market. The company has been operating in Spain for more than 50 years, it is engaged in the construction of houses, their promotion, investments in the construction sector and asset management.

In the current macroeconomic climate and given the current market situation, the company plans to focus on the most modern development models, including the BTR model, that is, targeted housing construction purely for subsequent rental. One of the new projects in their strategy was «Lar Vereda».

«Lar Vereda» consists of 60 houses, within which you can find the widest range of options from one to four bedrooms. The houses are fully equipped, have access to large terraces and are integrated with communal areas. The terraces themselves are covered, and within the communal areas there are tennis courts, a swimming pool, a playground, several large green areas, etc. The project should be put on the market by mid-2024 - housing will be made «turnkey».

GROWTH OF OFFERS OF HIGH-QUALITY RENTAL REAL ESTATE ON THE MARKET

In November Grupo Lar started working on three more projects — this time for the market of Murcia, Granada and Los Cardos. In addition, projects in San Adria del Besos and Avenida de los Guindos in Malaga will soon be launched. All these projects are developed based on the BTR model, designed for the rental market and focus on environmental friendliness and energy efficiency. Each complex will have BREEAM® certification. After the completion of the work, Vivia will take over the management of the facilities.

Jorge Pereda, director of the Rental housing division at Grupo Lar, points out that the launch of so many new projects is an important step forward for the company and the market in the current circumstances. Against the background of a growing shortage of goods on the market, inflation, rising interest rates and falling household incomes, the market is increasingly tending to crisis. At the same time, we should not forget about the crisis in the construction sector related to building materials, energy and the availability of labor.

The situation in the industry is far from comfortable, but right now, according to Pereda, it is necessary to purposefully start solving the issue of scarcity before it is too late.

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