Since March 2014, the Survey Spain Network of Chartered Surveyors has been providing a Quarterly Report recording the difference between Asking Price and Selling Price as reported by our pre-acquisition Building Survey and Valuation clients. It steadily showed a decline in the difference as the market became stronger and has now plateaued at around 7-8%.
Sourcing this information is extremely difficult, with professionals being prevented by client confidentiality from disclosing the actual sale price. Also, the amount of ‘under the table’ ‘B’ payments have always been a problem in Spain, with that varying from zero to more than 30%. Thankfully, much less of a problem than it was, but it means that even if registrars did release the figures, could they be trusted?
Depending upon estate agents to set the price just doesn’t reflect the real world. Many agents, especially at time like now when a new one appears to set up every day, will suggest a high price just to secure the property listing. Gradually, thereafter, will the exasperated house owner lower their price again and again until it reaches the actual market level it should have been set at in the beginning.
If agents had to be trained and be responsible for their advice and promises, as they are in many other countries, then we would see a more responsible market. Also, with so much new build being priced well above the resale market, when these new owners want to sell, they are going to find, even if the specification is above the resale competitors, that they’ll be brought down to the ‘actual’ market level.
Incidentally, things work the opposite way in Scotland, where the price is set low to draw in interests and then a closing date is set for sealed offers. The highest, cleanest offer on the day is the one that wins the property. And, again like many other countries, a Home Condition Report provided by the seller, is mandatory before a property can be marketed, so everyone offering knows what they are buying.
No system is perfect, but Spain’s could certainly be improved.