Spain’s Government Presses Property-Bubble Rewind Button

Taxpayer-funded subsidies to benefit banks, real estate agencies, construction companies, PE firms, and landlords.

After spending the last few years groggily getting back onto its feet following the collapse of one of the most spectacular — and destructive — real estate bubbles of this century, Spain’s economy is once again being primed for another property boom.

In the last quarter prices registered a year-on-year rise of 4.5%. Rents are also surging, though the country is still home to over half a million vacant properties. The cost of renting in Madrid and Barcelona, which between them account for 16% of those vacant properties, has reached historic highs, according to a new study by the online real estate market place Idealista. In Madrid, rents have risen on average by 27% since 2013; in Barcelona they’ve surged over 50%.

While rents soar, Spain’s mortgage market, the biggest source of profits for the nation’s banks, is also showing signs of life. In 2016 the number of mortgages issued rose by just over 10% to 281,328. But that’s merely a fraction of the 1,324,522 mortgages signed in 2006, just before the bubble burst.

The banks would like nothing better than to issue more and bigger mortgages, but even with interest rates at their lowest point in history, most people either can’t afford the current prices or don’t want to take on more debt.

Spain’s fragile coalition government is determined to change that…

Continue reading the article at WOLF STREET

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