Spain: Housing permits hit 11-month high in February
April 23, 2013
In February, the Spanish Board of Architects (Colegio de Arquitectos Tecnicos) granted 4,297 new construction permits, according to data published by the Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Fomento). The figure was up from the 3,274 permits approved in January and represents the highest level seen since March 2012. Moreover, on an annual basis permits declined 6.6%, which marks an improvement over the 31.4% fall tallied in January.
As a result of the monthly figure, the moving 3-month sum totalled 10,158 permits in February, which represents a 31.3% decline over the same period last year, underlying that the housing market remains depressed. At the current level, permits are only a fraction of the number given during the peak in the July-September period of 2006, when 268,266 permits were granted.
In addition, home prices continue to fall. The general index of housing prices produced by the Ministry of Public Works dropped 7.9% year-on-year in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the print marks an improvement over the 10.0% drop foreseen in the last quarter of 2012. The price per square metre fell to EUR 1,519 in Q1, which is 27.7% below the peak of EUR 2,101 per square metre recorded in Q1 2008. The housing market should continue to adjust as deepening recession and widespread unemployment continues to erode consumption and investment capacity.