Spain: Housing permits record largest increase in over seven years in March; decline in housing prices eases in Q1
May 21, 2014
In March, the Spanish Board of Architects (Colegio de Arquitectos Tecnicos) granted 3,508 new construction permits according to data published by the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Fomento). The figure was an improvement over the 2,702 permits approved in February and marked the highest level in eight months. On an annual basis, permits expanded at the fastest pace since September 2006, soaring 33.9%, which contrasted the 37.1% drop recorded in February.
As a result of the monthly figure, the moving three-month sum of permits totaled 8,818 in March, which represents a 13.5% decline over the same period last year. The current level represents just a fraction of the 268,266 permits that were granted during the July–September 2006 peak.
In Q1, the general index of housing prices produced by the Ministry of Public Works dropped 3.8% year-on-year to EUR 1,459 per square meter. Although the decline was slightly up from the 4.2% fall recorded in Q4, the print marked the lowest price per square meter since Q1 2004. As a result, the square meter price sits well below the EUR 2,101 peak recorded in Q1 2008. The housing market remains in the doldrums as widespread unemployment and a sluggish recovery continue to erode consumption and investment capacity.