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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lots of noise, little substance: Spain's Banks Enter the Real Estate Market

banks spain enter

Spain's Banks Enter the Real Estate Market

Lots of noise, little substance

Summary: 2009

The Quality of journalism in Spain is rather low if compared with that of journalism in the United States. For example, recently Spain's printed media published front page articles announcing with maximum flair and excitement that Spain's banks have entered the Real Estate Market offering apartments with major discounts.

I would think a journalist before writing such garbage, should go and check if what the banks claim is actually happening! But since they didn't bother to check, I did it myself.

What I found out was that these Banks overly exaggerate their claims and there is very little truth to their claims.

In any case, even if there are discounts, they are on housing that is at a price range that is out of the reach of the typical Spaniard. So they are not solving anyones problems by giving a 30% discount on a property priced at 290,000 Euros. Even if that brings the price down a bit, it's price is still forbidding for single Spaniards.

Here is a very simple example for a single person in Madrid with a typical salary. Usually such a person can only afford a home of up to a price of 130000 Euros in order to keep monthly mortgage payments under 1/3 rd of their salary.

So I went to the Web page of Altamira Santander Real Estate which offers the supposed special offer apartments sold by Spain's main bank BCHS.

I did a Search for Madrid for an apartment with a maximum price of 130,000 Euros. The result came back as a big fat ZERO . I increased my amount to 160,000 Euros for Madrid and the result still came back as ZERO APARTMENTS in that range.

altamira santander results

The same was true of the Real Estate company ANIDA that sells housing belonging to the bank BBVA

The only bank offering something remotely reasonable, though not quite, was Caixa Catalunya through their Real Estate portal PROCAM. But even if their prices are a bit more reasonable then there is the problem that they are just banks and not very strong at selling property. So hardly any of the listings has photographs or proper description. Forget a Video Tour. Obviously someone who works is not going to have time to go look at apartments without seeing a single photograph before hand.

Related EXTERNAL article: Zapatero and lack of common sense

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Dario Margeli

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