Sunday Times: World Affairs, Barcelona Q&A
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Home Overseas; September 24th 2017

World Affairs: 'If you've returned from holiday with an urge to buy...' excerpt

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 Overseas Dilemma

Q. I want to buy a flat in Barcelona, in the Gracia area. How can I tell if prices are rising and whether I am getting good value? BD by e-mail.

A. ‘Spain does not have the level of accessibility to price data that the UK’s Land Registry provides, but there are a number of sources, including the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Bank of Spain and the notaries' and registrars' associations. All have slightly different methods of data collection and analysis. Bear in mind that official statistics in Spain are not always an accurate depiction of actual values. In the past there has been a tendency to underdeclare sale prices, which lowers the taxes paid at the point of purchase. This practice has been changing in recent years, but it does distort figures from further back in the past.

The Housing Price Index (HPI), compiled by the INE measures fluctuations in prices against a 2007 baseline, both new and re-sale, as well as domestic and foreign national purchases. It is compiled in accordance with Eurostat requirements to enable comparisons between countries, but doesn't drill down any further.

The Bank of Spain compiles annual reports using statistics from the INE and the housing department (Ministry of Public Works). The notaries' and registrars' data are derived from transactions and buyer numbers: differences in the way these are recorded can result in discrepancies in sales volume figures.

There are private-sector valuation firms such as the Sociedad de Tasación and Tinsa, and property portals such as which also compile statistics based on asking prices. I suggest using several points of reference, including the likes of Rightmove Overseas, but also talking to independent local agents to get more detail.’

Louise Reynolds, director, Property Venture®


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