30 May 2017 – El País
The risk rating agency Moody’s expects house prices to rise in Spain by 4.7% per annum between 2017 and 2019, in line with their evolution in 2016. This will have a positive effect on the balance sheets of the banks and on the behaviour of mortgage securitisations.
Those are the conclusions of a report on the real estate sector in Spain, prepared by analyst Antonio Tena, which nuances these promising forecasts by reminding readers that the number of units sold is just as important as the price at which those units are sold for.
Even if GDP grows at a lower rate than currently predicted, the US agency believes that the rate at which it will likely close the year (2.3%) will undoubtedly sustain this recovery in house prices.
But it is important to “decouple” house prices from the number of operations, given that although the volume of properties is decreasing, it is true that some of the new homes (…) date back to 2006 and 2007 and still have not been sold”. However, those now account for just 10% of operations, well below the pre-crisis levels, when new and second-hand homes accounted for half the market each, reported Efe.
The agency also commented that there is no risk of “overheating” in the mortgage market, said Tena, or of a mortgage bubble happening, given that nowadays just one euro is being loaned for every four euros that were being loaned back in 2007.
Last week, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, spoke along the same lines. He ruled out the danger of a new real estate or credit bubble in the euro zone.
The banks are now a lot more restrictive when it comes to granting a mortgage, said the Moody’s analyst, Antonio Tena. He added that it is important to distinguish between the granting of mortgages and the sale of homes; in 2007, more mortgages were granted than homes were sold, whereas, in 2016, the volume of house sales was much higher than the volume of mortgages signed.
The sale of homes is growing in a sustained way, at around 14% p.a., but that still represents half of the volumes sold in 2007; the data from Moody’s shows that house sales are not decreasing in any city where there are more than 200,000 inhabitants; and that Madrid and Barcelona – and their peripheral regions – as well as the Mediterranean arc, are accounting for most operations.
Borrowers are increasingly older
Another positive indicator, according to Tena, is that the average age of mortgage applicants has increased from 34 years in 2007 to 38 years in 2017. Borrowers now have a greater capacity for saving and financing. (…).
Along with the report about the mortgage market, Moody’s has published another study about covered bonds, which are known here as “mortgaged bonds”. The product plays an important role in Spain, given that for every euro of that type issued, there are €2.50 of mortgage loans, whereas, that ratio barely amounts to 1.10 in other countries. (…).
Original story: El País
Translation: Carmel Drake
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