How would you sum up the property market in Sitges during 2016?
For us it was a rather slow start to 2016 but the last quarter has been extremely busy with more clients actually wanting to buy rather than just speculate as was the case previously. In this last quarter we have closed more operations than the rest of the year!
How does it compare to 2015?
2015 had a busier start to the year but sales slowed down in the second half of the year. There are less UK buyers this year.
What are the notable trends?
We are receiving more and more enquiries from national buyers and often the larger operations are also now carried out by national buyers. This has been by far the most significant trend. One of the reasons given for this increased interest in investing in real estate is the current low interest returns from the banks.
Has anything surprised you this year?
How Brexit hasn’t affected the rhythm of sales at all and is very rarely mentioned by buyers.
What have been the main challenges?
Most of our buyers do not require financing to purchase their properties but those who do have to wait a long time for banks to approve their mortgages. Unless they tick all the boxes it can be a long and tedious process even if the buyer is in a strong financial position.
What types of properties are proving most in demand?
As always properties close to the town and with sea views are most in demand. Also buyers are interested in potential income especially from second homes. Buyers are clocking on to the income which summer rentals can generate. A 5-bedroom property in the hills with a pool and mountain views which can be bought for around €400,000 / €500,000 and can be rented out in the summer months for around €2,500 a week. Of course these properties require more maintenance and are less likely to be rented in the quieter months. A town centre apartment can be bought from around €300,000 upwards depending on condition and sea views and can be rented out for less during the summer months but would have a higher occupancy rate throughout the year. If the property is attractive, well presented and in a prime location you could expect it to be rented out from May through to October as well as other popular times on the Sitges calendar (ie Carnival and the Film Festival), especially those properties that are well located in the town centre or with sea views. Any investor not wanting the hassle of holiday lets could either pass it onto a company specialising in holiday lets or could consider long-term lets as the demand far outstrips the supply in Sitges so attractive rents can be achieved.
What do you expect will be the key trends for 2017 in your region?
I think we will continue to see an increased interest from national buyers and more willingness from owners to adapt their prices to the current market demand. There is an increasing number of New Development homes in and around Sitges especially apartments in the price range of €250,000 to €450,000, which is an indicator of the constant demand for quality properties from both locals and international buyers.