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The Balearic Islands, Madrid and País Vasco, the Most Expensive Regions in which to Buy a Home

In the Balearic Islands, the average sales price of a home stood at €578,025 in the first quarter of 2020, compared to €122,072 in Castilla-La Mancha.

The average sales price of homes in Spain reached €1,767 per square meter during the first quarter of 2020, according to data registered by the real estate big data platform Brains RE. That figure was close to historical highs just days before the Covid-19 crisis broke out in Spain.

By region, the autonomous communities with the highest price per square metre are the Balearic Islands, the only area in Spain where prices exceed €3,000 per square metre -specifically, €3,049/m²-, followed by Madrid (€ 2,717 / m²) and País Vasco (€2,496/m²).

At the opposite end of the spectrum are Castilla La Mancha (€824/m2), Extremadura (€904/m2) and Castilla y León (€1,078/m2), with the lowest sales prices per square metre during the first quarter of 2020, according to data from Brains RE.

During the three months to March, the average sales price in Spain amounted to €260,029. Like in the case with the prices per square metre, the region with the highest absolute sales price was the Balearic Islands, where the average price during the first quarter was €578,025, well above the national average. Madrid was the second most expensive region with an average of €430,492 and, in third place was Cataluña, with an average price of €313,732.

The regions in which you can find a home at more affordable prices are Castilla-La Mancha, with an average of €122,072; Extremadura (€130,355) and Murcia (€142,907).

In the case of the provinces, the Balearic Islands is the most expensive by far and the only one to exceed €3,000/m²; it is followed by Guipúzcoa and Madrid with prices of around €2,700/m². At the tail end are the provinces of Teruel, Cuenca and Ciudad Real with prices of around €700/m².

“In absolute terms, the Balearic Islands also stand out, with an average price of more than €550,000, due to a number of factors: the shortage of supply and the lack of land, which makes real estate products somewhat limited; the good health of luxury properties and premium homes; and the importance of foreign clients on the islands”, explains Laura López, Data Scientist at Brains RE

In second and third place are Madrid and Málaga, respectively, both with an almost identical sales price of around €430,000.

House prices rose in six regions only

Over the last year, just six regions have seen positive growth in their prices: the Balearic Islands, Andalucía, Valencia, Madrid, the Canary Islands and Murcia. By contrast, the other regions have seen a drop in their prices of between 0.2% and 5.9% between the beginning of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. The most affected regions have been Castilla y León, Galicia and Navarra, whose prices have fallen by between 4% and 6% over the last year.

In the case of quarter-on-quarter growth, the variation in the first quarter of 2020 was more moderate, with nine regions showing an increase in price compared to the end of 2019. The Community of Madrid grew the most with a 2.5% increase compared to the previous quarter.

Only in 12 provinces did the sales prices of homes register year-on-year increases. In the case of Málaga, Alicante and the Balearic Islands, values ​​grew by more than 6% compared to the previous year, whilst in Lugo, Cuenca and Salamanca, they fell by between 8% and 9%.

Like in the autonomous regions, the quarter-on-quarter growth in the regions was much less marked but the number of provinces with a price increase compared to the end of 2019 was higher. Specifically, 21 of the provinces saw growth in their sales prices compared to the previous quarter. In the lead, we find Madrid, Lleida and Soria, with quarter-on-quarter growth rates of between 1.8-2.5%. Those whose prices fell the most in the last quarter were Cádiz, Lugo and Palencia.

New build versus second-hand

During the first quarter of 2020, the average price of new build homes in Spain stood at €1,906 per square metre, with an average absolute price of €209,355, according to data from Brains RE. The regions that topped the list with the highest new build purchase prices were the Balearic Islands (€3,064/m²), Madrid (€2,801/m²) and País Vasco (€2,765/m²), whilst those that registered values ​​below €1,000/square metre were Extremadura (€861/m²), Castilla-La Mancha (€888/m²) and La Rioja (€1,104/m²).

In terms of the provinces, prices in four of them exceeded €3,000/m², specifically Ceuta, Barcelona, ​​the Balearic Islands and Gipuzkoa. They were followed by Madrid with a new build home value of €2,800/m². Conversely, new build home prices in provinces such as Cuenca, Toledo, Cáceres and Badajoz did not reach €1,000/m².

Continuing with the provinces, second-hand house prices exceeded new build house prices in several of them during the first quarter of the year including in Cuenca (15%), Salamanca (9%) and Granada (7%).

“Provinces such as Lugo, Ourense and the Balearic Islands saw very similar values in both types of property, with minimal price differences. And new builds had a sales price premium of more than 20% compared to second-hand prices in 19 of the provinces. Those with the largest price difference were: Teruel (88.5%), Ceuta (60%) and Jaén (56.5%)”, says the Data Scientist from Brains RE.

Over the last twelve months, the provinces where the price of new build homes has grown by the most are Melilla (with a rise of 39.9%), Jaén (25.6%) and Sta. Cruz de Tenerife (20.7%). Meanwhile, the provinces where the price of new build homes has declined by the most over the last year are Ourense, Salamanca and Zamora with price drops of more than 20%.

Publication period

The average publication period of a property for sale in Spain during the first quarter of 2020 was 3.7 months, according to data collected by Brains RE.

Only properties in Madrid, Andalucía, Valencia and Cataluña took less time to sell than the average publication period in Spain, at between 3.2 and 3.6 months. The regions in which the sale of a home took the longest were Ceuta (5.3 months) and La Rioja (4.7 months).

In terms of the provinces with the shortest publication periods, they include Valencia, Madrid, Granada, Málaga, Sevilla and Barcelona, ​​with publication periods of below three and a half months. By contrast, the provinces with the longest publication periods were Teruel, Palencia, Cáceres and Ceuta.

“The average sales publication period has reduced over the last year from 4.2 months in the first quarter of 2019 to 3.7 months in the first quarter of 2020, thanks to growing demand. Nevertheless, we should not rule out an increase during the remainder of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis”, says Laura López.

Structure of the housing market

Homes for sale account for almost 9 out of every ten real estate assets for sale in Spain. Specifically, during the first quarter of 2020, they accounted for 87.7% of the total market share, compared to rental homes, which represented 12.3%.

The region with the highest share of homes for sale was La Rioja with 95.4% of the total. It was followed by regions such as Navarra and Extremadura, with percentages above 93%, whilst in Madrid and Melilla, the percentage of homes for sale was 74% and 76%, respectively.

By province, Castellón and Álava, with more than 96% of their supply destined for sale, were the places with the highest percentage of products up for sale. By contrast, in addition to the aforementioned provinces of Madrid and Melilla, Barcelona and Las Palmas were the provinces with the lowest market shares dedicated to sale, with 79.5% and 81.8%, respectively.

In Spain, most home sellers choose real estate agents over private sales, with 85.5% of properties for sale in the hands of real estate agents.

The regions in which the market is most professionalised are La Rioja, the Balearic Islands and Aragón, where around 90% of the homes for sale are managed by professionals. By contrast, the autonomous cities of Melilla and Ceuta stand out as places where the influence of individuals in the management of sales is greatest. In particular, the figures in the latter reveal a market that is mostly dominated by individuals.

In terms of the provinces, the least professionalised markets are Soria, Teruel, Valladolid and Jaén, which, together with the aforementioned autonomous cities, have barely 80% of their markets in the hands of real estate agents. By contrast, Córdoba and Ourense are the only provinces where professionals handle more than 90% of the properties in the sales market.

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