Lucas Fox Q1 and Q2 2012 property market reports

Leading Spanish Luxury Property Agency sees volume of sales transactions nearly triple in the first half of 2012 in key Market Locations

2012 first and second quarterly results published in the Lucas Fox Luxury Real Estate Market Reports suggest continued solid interest in Barcelona, Ibiza and Mallorca, with Lucas Fox reporting almost three times as many sales transactions compared to the first half of 2011.

October 2012 (BARCELONA, Spain): Lucas Fox has released Q1 and Q2 2012 property market reports for:

Each half-year Lucas Fox publishes an analysis of trends within the luxury property markets of Barcelona, Ibiza, Mallorca and Costa Brava, using information collated from buyers and property owners in key luxury market locations.

Commenting on the report Lucas Fox Director Alex Vaughan said, “We have had a strong start to 2012, with almost three times as many sales transactions as in the same period in 2011. We have increasingly seen sellers adjust their prices to reflect the realities of market conditions, attracting new investors to the luxury property market in all our locations.”

Summarising the findings from Lucas Fox’s four key market locations, Alex Vaughan stated:

  • “In Barcelona we have seen a pricing readjustment across-the-board, sparking a new wave of foreign investor interest in some of our most sought-after locations. Many buyers who have been carefully monitoring the market throughout 2011 are realizing that it is a perfect time to snare quality properties in Barcelona’s prime property hot spots”,
  •  “The healthy interest in Ibiza property seen in 2011 has been reflected in the first half of 2012, resulting in another strong year for this market. Ibiza’s image as a party island is giving way to a greater reputation as a luxury Mediterranean holiday destination and this is further reinforced with the recent completion of the stunning Life Marina Ibiza apartment complex.”
  • “The second quarter of 2012 ended with an upsurge in investor interest and luxury property sales in Mallorca. There has been particular interest in seafront properties, country houses and large apartments in Palma Old Town amongst foreign buyers. Interest in prime Mallorca properties is expected to extend through the peak sales season until the end of the third quarter, at least.”
  • “In the Costa Brava, the number of sales transactions remains low, though comparable with 2011 levels. Unique properties in exclusive locations are still attracting a lot of interest and in some cases still exchanging close to asking price. In these cases buyers are investing primarily as a lifestyle decision and many are attracted by the potential revenue from luxury rentals, providing a return on investment whilst the market remains uncertain. Sales transactions are expected to remain slow for the rest of 2012, but we expect an increase heading into 2013 as buyers begin to sense that we are nearing the bottom of the market ”

“At Lucas Fox, we expect to experience strong third and fourth quarters in 2012, particularly in Barcelona, Ibiza and Mallorca, and steady sales activity in the Costa Brava in what is traditionally the peak buying season. Lifestyle investors are carefully watching the local luxury property market and beginning to make their moves as they recognise that prices have neared their lowest points. This has been reflected in a growing trend which has seen investors reacting quickly to the availability of high-class properties in prime locations across each area,” said Mr Vaughan.

Founded in 2005, real estate agency Lucas Fox specializes in offering quality luxury properties, a professional approach and a high level of service. The company has offices in Barcelona, the Costa Brava, Ibiza, Mallorca and Portugal.

House prices continued to fall in August

Property prices continue to fall
Property prices continue to fall

According to new figures released by Tinsa, house prices continued to drop in August with an 11.6% decrease, compared to the same period last year.

The press release from Tinsa is below.

Prices along the Mediterranean Coast have now fallen by an average of 40% from their highest levels.

The Major Cities segment is experiencing greater downward pressure on prices.

The General IMIE index recorded a year-on-year decline of 11.6%, slightly higher than the fall recorded in July, ending the month at 1545 points. The cumulative decline in house prices since the market peak in December 2007 is 32.4%.

The breakdown by segment shows that the “Mediterranean Coast” recorded the highest year-onyear fall in August, of 14.7%, followed by “Capitals and Major Cities”, which saw a 13.4% decline in value compared with the same month the year before.

The fall experienced in the “Balearic and Canary Islands” was slightly below the average, at 11.5%. An even smaller decline was recorded by “Metropolitan Areas”, where the year-on-year fall stood at 10.4%, and lastly “Other Municipalities”, with a fall of 8.8%, even lower than the figure recorded in July.

With regards to the cumulative falls by segment since the top of the market, the “Mediterranean Coast” is once again the biggest faller, with a decline of 39.5%; followed by “Capitals and Major Cities” with 35.6%, “Metropolitan Areas” with 31.4%, the “Balearic and Canary Islands” with 30.2% and “Other Municipalities”, which refers to those not included in other categories, with 27.4%.

You can download the press release here: IMIE House Price Index – August 2012

Eurostat confirms Eurozone contraction in second quarter

The eurozone economy shrank by 0.2% during the second quarter, as the European statistical office Eurostat confirmed yesterday morning. The publication of this information is confirmation of the figure put forward on 14th August. In all the 27 countries that form the European Union, Eurostat had forecast that the contraction was also 0.2% between April and June, although the revised report released yesterday by the organisation corrects the data putting the fall at 0.1%.

Activity in Europe is leaning towards a new recession after growth was zero in the first three months of the year in both the eurozone and the European Union. Compared with the same period last year, GDP fell by 0.5% between the countries that share the euro and 0.3% among the EU-27.

There are important differences between the countries that share the single currency. Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and, to a lesser extent, France, are better able to resist the onslaught of the crisis while Spain, Italy or Portugal suffer more strongly the effects of the economic downturn.

GDP in the second quarter fell by 0.4% in Spain, by 0.7% in Italy and by 1.2% in Portugal. For Greece, for which there was no data on any quarterly change, the fall came to 6.2% compared with the same period last year, the biggest in the whole of Europe. Other countries in central and northern Europe have also suffered severe contractions. The biggest of all in this group has been that of Finland, with a fall of 1.1%, followed by Belgium (-0.6%) and Denmark (-0.5%).

El Pais reported that Germany resisted the downward trend and registered growth of 0.3% compared to the first quarter, while France recorded its third consecutive quarter of stagnation.

Outside the euro, the UK confirms it is in recession, with a fall in GDP of 0.5% in the second quarter, after recording negative data in the two previous periods. The best data registered in the EU are for Sweden, with an increase of 1.4%, Latvia, whose economy experienced an improvement of 1%, and Slovakia (0.7%).

As for the components of the GDP, household consumption fell in the second quarter by 0.2% in the eurozone and the EU, after falling 0.2% and 0.1% in the previous period, respectively. Fixed capital formation fell by 0.8% in the eurozone and by 0.9% in the EU-27 (in the first quarter the decreases were of 1.3% and 0.7%, respectively).

Exports rose by 1.3% in the eurozone and by 1% in the EU (after increasing by 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively, in the first quarter) and imports grew by 0.9% in both zones after dropping by 0.2% in the previous three months.

Article source:

Unemployment rises by 38,179 in August

Unemployment increased in August
Unemployment increased in August

After four months in decline, unemployment resumed its upward trend in August, a traditionally bad month due to the completion of summer contracts. With 38,179 more unemployed, the total stands at 4,625,634 people, according to the Ministry of Employment.

However, Secretary of State, Engracia Hidalgo, said in a press release that while it is true that the rise in unemployment is bad news, it must be noted that this is the smallest increase recorded in August since 2006, despite the current economic downturn.

Hidalgo also noted that data from recent months show that the growth rate of registered unemployment has slowed, and said that “the Government remains committed to pursuing all necessary reforms in order to promote employment”.

Last month’s increase in unemployment is less pronounced than a year ago, when unemployment rose by 51,185 persons, while in 2009, in a context similar to the current economic downturn, there was an increase of 84,985 unemployed. Also, it is the lowest increase registered in August since 2006, when the number of unemployed rose by 28,693 people, and it is below the average for the last decade.

By sectors, unemployment rose especially in services, with 42,391 people (1.54%), followed by industry, with 6,748 (1.3%) and construction, with 2,482 (0.32%), while it fell in agriculture, with 1,332 fewer unemployed (0.81%) and among the group without previous employment, where it decreased by 12,110 people (3.16%).

Unemployment rose more among men, at 1%, whereas the number of women unemployed rose by 0.67%. Since August 2011, the male unemployment has risen by almost 13% to a total of 2,291,543, and female unemployment by 11%, to 2,334,091.

By age groups, El Mundo reported that unemployment fell among the under-25s, by 4,060 people (0.92%), but rose among that age or older by 42,239 (1.02%).

Among foreigners, unemployment fell by 9,592 people compared to July (1.61%) bringing the total number of unemployed among this group to 585,164.

Unemployment rose in twelve communities, led by Andalusia (10,365 more) and Catalonia (8,090), and dropped in five led by Galicia (2,931 less), the Canary Islands (1.119) and the Balearic Islands (564).

Article source:

Huge wildfire raging towards Marbella

Raging along the coast
Raging along the coast

I’ve been too busy to write anything over the last few days but I had to pop on quickly to tell you about the fire.

I looked out of my bedroom window last night and saw the sky glowing red. Although the fire started in La Cala, about 15 km from my house, I could clearly see the flames whipping around in the wind. The sky was filled with smoke, bright red smoke.

It spread quickly because there was quite a wind last night. thousands of people have been evacuated and one old man was killed. Rescuers are searching for his wife.

The main toll road was closed for a while as the flames licked the hard-shoulder. Over 30 aircraft have been dropping water on it all day but it’s still going. It’s going to take a few days to get it under control because it’s still windy and it’s been so dry this year, and we’ve had a very hot summer.

It’s not the first wildfire this year, and it wont be the last. It happens often on the Costa del Sol because of the long, dry summers and the large areas of woodland and open fields, full of dead, dry grass. It only takes on cigarette butt or one spark from a camp-fire and it goes up in seconds.

A huge area has been destroyed
A huge area has been destroyed

You can see some of the devastation in the picture. I dread to think how much wildlife was killed just in the area pictured. I know someone who runs a kennel for rescue dogs and they were frantically calling people last night trying to get help moving the animals to a safe place.

Many of the evacuees spent the night in La Cañada, a shopping centre in Marbella. Some people were allowed back to there homes this morning but some are still waiting to hear when they will be able to return and inspect the damage.

It’s going to be a while until everything is back to normal, but for some people it never will. People have lost homes, cars, pets and personal belongings.

A few friends of mine were evacuated from Santa Clara, a nice development of townhouses close to Elviria, and others were told to be on standby.

It’s nasty and it’s not over yet.

Spanish workers association accuses Gibraltar of discrimination

Discrimination on the rock?
Discrimination on the rock?

A Spanish workers association has accused the Gibraltar government of acting in a ‘discriminatory’ manner towards Spaniards.

Citypeg has accused the Employment Minister, Joe Bossano, of trying to replace Spanish nationals with Gibraltarians in the public sector and the construction industry.

Francisco Ponce, President of Citypeg, claims that the government is achieving this by only offering 11-month contracts which will not be renewed once expired.

A total of 500 Spanish workers have lost their jobs since last January in Gibraltar, many from the construction sector.

“It is disturbing, with over ten years of service to these companies, only the Spanish have their contracts terminated while local workers have been transferred to other construction companies.” Ponce said.

Article source: The Olive Press

Spain receives record tourists in July

Spain receives record tourist numbers in July
Flight arrivals increased by almost 6%

In July this year, Spain received 7.7 million international tourists, representing an increase of 4.4% over the same month last year, or 328,000 more people.

According to the Survey of Tourist Border Movements (Frontur) prepared by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, these figures mark an all-time high in the records for monthly arrivals.

The Ministry stressed that “this increase strengthens the positive trend seen throughout the year, with the exception of the month of April.”

Germany and France were the markets that contributed most to the month’s increase, and Catalonia was the destination that registered most growth.

Accumulated in the year, from January to July, Spain received about 33 million visitors, representing a rise of 3.3% year-on-year.

1.76 million tourists arrived from the UK in July, up 0.5% from a year earlier, and their main preferred destination was the Balearic Islands, followed by Catalonia.

The second source market was France, increasing 7.7% over the previous year to 1.27 million tourists. The Ministry, headed by José Manuel Soria, pointed out that “this positive result is mainly concentrated in Catalonia, their main destination.”

Germany followed, with 1.17 million tourists (+9.7%), and Italy, with 479,607 visitors (+5.7%).

El Mundo reported that also noteworthy, is the increase in arrivals from the United States, which soared 27% in July, reaching 180,040 tourists.

In July Catalonia was the first national tourist destination, and also experienced the biggest increase of the period, in line with the positive trend held throughout the year, as explained by the Ministry.

Specifically, the region received 2.02 million tourists, up 9%, driven by the flow of arrivals from the British, French and German markets.

The Balearic Islands, in second place, saw an increase in tourists of 2.6% in July, reaching 1.98 million. Germany, traditionally its main source market, led this increase, together with a positive contribution from the UK market.

Andalusia again registered a decrease (-2.1%), marking its seventh consecutive decline, but less intense than the previous months. Specifically, the region received 933,902 tourists, and the reduction in the number of British tourists, its primary market source, explains much of this negative result.

The fourth most visited destination was the Canary Islands, which received 821,969 tourists in July, down 14%, and which breaks the trend of increases in previous months, with the exception of April.

Frontur’s data also shows that airport arrivals increased by 5.9% in July, in line with the trend experienced throughout the year.

Road travel broke the downward trend of the first half of the year, with the exception of May, and rose 1.9%.

Tourists staying in hotels rose slightly (0.8%), following the strong increases in the first half. By contrast, non-hotel accommodation in July broke from the path of decline of recent months, registering a major increase of 10.6%.

Tourists travelling on a package holiday fell for the second time this year (-4.4%), while those not on a package holiday increased by 8.3%, after the declines of earlier in the year.

Article source:

EU and eurozone GDP Falls 0.2% in Second Quarter

EurostatAccording to data released on Monday by the EU statistics office, Eurostat, the economy of the eurozone, and the European Union as a whole, shrank 0.2% in the second quarter compared with the first three months of 2012, when growth was zero in both zones.

In annual terms, GDP in the eurozone fell 0.4% in the second quarter compared to the same period of 2011, and that of the whole of the European Union fell by 0.2%.

The Spanish economy suffered a decline of 0.4% in the second quarter over the first quarter, and 1.0% when comparing the evolution of GDP with the same period last year.

In the second quarter of the year at least eight EU countries were in recession – there is no data available yet for them all – among them some of the largest euro economies such as Italy (with a fall of 0.7%, and 0.8% in the previous period) and Spain, with three consecutive quarters of declines.

The UK is also in recession, since its GDP contracted 0.7% in the reference period, and which now marks three consecutive quarters of negative developments.

Of the rescued countries Greece and Portugal are in recession (no data is available yet for Ireland).

In addition Cyprus, who has called on the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund for a complete rescue, accumulated four negative quarters, registering a fall of 0.8% in their GDP in the second quarter.

Romania, on the other hand, managed to emerge from recession by posting a slight increase of 0.5% between April and June, compared to the declines of 0.1% and 0.2% in the immediately preceding quarters.

Surprisingly, El Mundo reported that Finland’s economy declined by 1.0% between April and June after rising 0.8% in the first quarter. The best result was recorded by Sweden, boosting the European economy with a growth of 1.4%.

Belgium suffered the consequences of the crisis with its economy contracting by 0.6% in the second quarter, after growing 0.2% in the first, while the GDP of France remained stalled, and Germany’s rose by 0.3%.

Article source:

Bankruptcies increased 28.6% in second quarter

INEThis is according to new figures released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) which shows that 30% of those made bankrupt during Q2 were construction and property development companies, confirming the sector is a long way from recovering.

Bankruptcy Proceedings Statistics – Second quarter of 2012

During the second quarter of 2012, the number of debtors processed reached 2,272, representing a 28.6% increase, as compared with the same period the previous year.

By type of proceeding, 2,111 were voluntary (27.1% more than the second quarter 2011) and 161 were necessary (51.9% more). Considering the type of proceedings, ordinary proceedings increased 270.6%, and abbreviated proceedings increased 7.3%.

Companies processed, by legal nature and turnover bracket

Of the 2,272 debtors processed in the second quarter, 2,026 were companies (individuals with business activity and corporations). 77.3% of the companies declared bankrupt were Private Limited Companies.

69.0% of the companies declared bankrupt were within the lowest turnover bracket (less than two million euros), and were mainly Private Limited Companies.

87.8% of companies declared bankrupt during the first quarter of 2012 did not belong to any business group. Of the remaining companies declared bankrupt, 11.9% belonged to a Spanish group, and 0.3% to a group under foreign control.

Companies declared bankrupt, by economic activity and number of employees

30.8% of companies declared bankrupt carried out their main activity in Construction and property development, 18.3% in Industry and energy, and 17.4% in Trade.

Regarding the number of employees, 33.7% of the total number of companies declared bankupt were within the bracket of 1 to 5 employees.

You can see the full press release here: Bankruptcy Proceedings Statistics – Second quarter of 2012

Construction Down 32.6% to May

New home construction still slowing
New home construction still slowing

During the first five months of 2012, the construction of 48,876 homes was completed in Spain. This figure represents a decrease of 32.6% over the same period in 2011 (72,606), according to data from the Ministry of Development gathered by Servimedia.

Of the total number of finished constructions, 98.5% (48,135) were allocated to private developers and 1.5% (741) to the Government. With respect to the first five months of 2011, the number of private developers’ constructions fell by 32.2% and those of public administration fell by 52.6%.

Of the constructions in the private sector, 28,988 of these homes were for commercial companies, with a year-on-year decrease of 42.1%, 13,801 were for individuals and communities of owners (-11.2%), and 3,501 were for cooperatives (-10.9%). In addition, there were completion certificates for 1,845 other private promoter works. The liquidation value of the physical execution of the works decreased by 21.3% to 6,156.3 million euros.

El Mundo reported that the number of dwellings completed in 2012 maintained the downward trend that marked the year 2011, when 167,914 homes were built, which was 34.7% less than the year before. The number of new builds in Spain have accumulated four consecutive years of declines. Since their peak recorded in 2007, with 641,419 new homes completed, the market has fallen by 74%.

Article Source: