Marbella and signs of property recovery

After all the recent ‘positive-ness’ about property in Spain, potential green shoots, etc… I thought this article by Mark Stucklin was quite interesting. Marbella it looks like has done quite well in this first quarter. Actually more than that, this has been the best first quarter in the last five years. Like Mr Stucklin I am also quite dubious about this information, and I will give the town hall the benefit of doubt as they have been trying to clean up Marbella and its image. Personally I think the statistics are as positive as they are due to postponed completions (due to irregularities, etc…) and probably a slight surge in property in Spain. Anyway here is the article:

Marbella first out of crisis says Mayor, as property market shows signs of recovery

It’s a matter of fact that Marbella’s property market has been in a funk for years, starting long before the credit crunch struck, thanks to the venal greed and corruption of local politicians and some developers. But finally, some light at the end of the tunnel, argues Ángeles Muñoz, Marbella’s lady Mayor, with figures in hand to show the best property sales figures in 4 years (chart above).

If the figures are kosher, Muñoz has reason to be positive. A report from Marbella’s tax office shows there were 2,499 property sales in the first 3 months of this year, a rise of more than 200% compared to the same period last year. Look a bit further back and it appears the first quarter of this year was the best by far in the last 4 years.

Year – Sales in first quarter
2010 – 2,499
2009 – 820
2008 – 1,263
2007 – 1,602
2006 – 1,224

If correct, the figures show the market has improved by 100% compared even to the first quarter of 2006, before the ‘Malaya’ corruption scandal exploded, when the market was still relatively buoyant, just starting to come off the boil.

Does that make sense? Some argue it might be the increase in VAT in July bringing sales forward, but I doubt it. So have Marbella property prices dropped, and confidence returned enough to give the market such a big push? Well, I hope so, but I have to say it took me by surprise. I’d heard that there was some improvement, but nothing like this. It makes me wonder.

Ángeles Muñoz, on the other hand, has no doubts. As you would expect she is using the figures to vindicate her policies, saying that Marbella will be “first out of the crisis,” in a message aimed at local and international investors.

Marbella’s new town-plan is also helping. It comes into effect this month, legalises 16,000 properties, and enables owners to “sell, mortgage, swap or use as an asset,” properties that have been frozen out of the market for years, says the Mayor.

Source: Mark Stucklin

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