Rent falls in Spanish cities as coronavirus boosts demand for space – ET RealEstate

MADRID: Rental prices in Spain‘s major cities fell in July, data from one of the biggest property portals showed on Tuesday, as the coronavirus pandemic drove up interest in less densely-populated areas.

Between June and July, rents dropped by an average of 2.5% in Barcelona and 1.7% in Madrid, according to Fotocasa, although they remain Spain’s most expensive locations.

“Many Spaniards are considering leaving the big cities and going to live in outlying areas where they can find bigger, brighter and more spacious homes,” said Fotocasa’s communications director Anais Lopez.

Spain imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in March, confining a population known for spending time in parks and bars to their homes.

While average July rents across Spain ticked down 0.8% from June, they were still 7.9% higher year-on-year, the company said.

Around 17% of renters identified access to outdoor spaces as their main priority in a new property, compared with 11% before the pandemic, Fotocasa found.

Data from rival real estate site Idealista showed a similar trend among prospective property buyers.

“The lockdown and increase of remote working in Spain has led to a shift in housing demand, generating increasing interest in housing in villages with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Between January and June the share of people looking for properties in such villages rose from 10.1% to 13.2% of all searches, the company said.

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Rent in Spain falls for first time in six years amid pandemic – ET RealEstate

MADRID: Rent across Spain slipped 0.2% in the second quarter from the preceding three months, the first price drop in six years as flats once destined for tourists flooded the residential market as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Data released by online property portal Fotocasa on Thursday also showed rent in the Catalan capital of Barcelona fell 4.6%, while prices in other tourist hotspots Seville and Palma de Mallorca dropped 4.1% and 3.5% respectively.

In the capital Madrid, rent dropped in over three-quarters of the 17 districts analysed, while in the same period last year over half the districts presented increases in rent prices.

“We saw a 20% rise in the amount of properties advertised for rent in April and May, at the start of the confinement,” Fotocasa communications director Anais Lopez told Reuters. “Everything indicates they used to be touristic.”

Faced with the paralysis of domestic and foreign travel amid the pandemic, properties have migrated from websites like Airbnb and used by holidaymakers to residential portals like Fotocasa and Idealista, Spain’s largest portal.

Rent across Spain was still 9% higher than a year ago, however, and Lopez attributed the quarterly stumble to the mismatch between what touristic properties offer and what post-COVID-19 renters now demand.

“The 40% increase in use of the search term ‘balcony’ we saw in April carried through to May, and we’ve seen a sustained spike of interest in semi-detached houses, chalets, and places with gardens, outside the city centre,” Lopez said. “Touristic properties don’t match that.”

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