Rental prices fall by 8% in Catalonia in the first quarter, according to APIs

Sales prices remain stable as buyers look for larger flats

2 min
Flats for sale and for rent ads from a real estate agency in Barcelona.

The rental price has stood at 13.4 euros per square meter per month during the first quarter of the year in Catalonia, 8.2% less than the same period of 2020, according to the quarterly report of the real estate market of real estate agents (API). In comparison with the previous three months, the fall was 2.5% due to the increase in supply, above all due to the transfer to the residential market of flats that were rented for tourism or for students, according to Luis Fabra, author of the report.

Thus, the analysis of the data from March last year to March this year shows the impact of the pandemic in the rental market, which does not happen in the sale and purchase of housing, because after the fall of the first months of the pandemic the market has recovered, even with more operations and with sustained prices. Sales and purchases show a year-on-year growth of 3.3% in the first quarter and an increase of 19.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020; on the other hand, prices have remained stable, with a year-on-year increase of 1% and a decrease of 1.4% compared to the previous quarter.

Fixed-rate mortgages

However, there have been some clear changes in the real estate market. On the one hand, the move out of the cities to more peripheral areas. On the other hand, buyers are opting for homes with more surface area. And, finally, the part financed with mortgage has decreased, that is, more own resources are allocated to the purchase of housing. In addition, fixed-rate mortgages are clearly imposed on variable-rate mortgages, because the former have lowered rates to levels just above 2% and variable-rate mortgages are at very similar levels and are no longer falling. In fact, according to the API report, 63.41% of mortgages have been made at a fixed rate in the last three months.

Although the price per square meter is almost maintained at 2,227 euros in Catalonia (+1.30% over the first quarter of last year) and 4,157 euros in Barcelona (+0.51%), the average price per home has increased to 206,937 euros in Catalonia (+4.85%) and 351,606 euros in Barcelona (-0.47%). The higher increase in Catalonia with respect to the growth of the price of the square meter is because "larger homes are being sold", according to Fabra. In fact, the average area has reached record highs and almost 40% of the flats sold in Catalonia exceeded 80 square meters.