The Coronavirus crisis and its economic impact mean that, for homeowners, this year is a time to sit tight and hope for better times. But once it comes, the new normal is going to offer exciting opportunities.
First published in Gazette Life, September 1st 2020.
No one was surprised when the lockdown froze the Spanish property market to a complete standstill, and nobody believed that things would magically get back to normal afterwards. However, the UK government’s decision to reapply quarantine restrictions on arrivals from Spain came as a real bucket of cold water to a sector that had begun to adjust to the “new normal”.
Times are tight, and the sales of second homes had fallen from 12% in 2017 to 9% in 2020 even before the virus hit. A lot of those second homes are bought by foreign buyers, and their figures had already been declining before the lockdown.
Lockdown stopped things dead, closing notaries and making viewings impossible. However, property became a key element of the lockdown as the full extent of Spain’s reliance on the rental sector was laid bare. While it was possible to order the banks to grant mortgage relief, the amount of Spaniards who rely on rentals for their income made rent relief prohibitive.
The British government’s decision to reintroduce quarantine restrictions on arrivals from Spain has limited any house hunting that was going on, and the property market once again finds itself on hold.
However, the real estate sector is nothing if not optimistic, and many
professionals believe that, once the hopefully temporary inconveniences of coronavirus are over, there will be opportunities galore. The current paralysis in the market has been reflected by a paralysis in prices, with many properties still overpriced.
But a new post-Covid landscape will almost see lower prices, a greater volume of transactions and opportunities for those who know where to find them.