Fittingly, in the year that Chris Mercer celebrated 30 years in Spanish property, his Murcia-based real estate agency notched up some extraordinary results. Total sales for 2013 outshone 2012 by a spectacular 60%.
“This time last year I was feeling bullish about Murcia’s property market,” says Chris, Director of Mercers. “We’d closed 2012 having done around a dozen more sales than 2011 and I was quoted as saying: ‘I expect our sales to increase by 25% in 2013 over 2012’. I am delighted to say my prediction was wrong. Instead we have completed 40 more sales than 2012 – an increase of 60%.”
The nationality claiming the largest number of house purchases through Mercers was British, making a strong resurgence after some time of observing from the sidelines. In 2012 it was the Belgians, French, Norwegians and Swedes dominating the market, with Brits only reappearing to the latter part of the year, along with a few Germans and Dutch.
For 2013, 64% of sales were attributed to Brits, with others mainly claimed by Belgians, French, Dutch and native Spanish. There was less participation from Scandinavians, and Germans remained in the minority.
Once more, sales prices were also up. “In 2012 our average sale price was €84,884. For 2013 this figure increased to €94,000,” continues Chris. “Property prices have held pretty well for several months now. I do not think that prices in our part of Murcia will slide further, but neither do I think that they will increase in the first three quarters of 2014. Since the peak, prices have dropped 40% to 55% and we are now in a situation of everyday low prices.”
A further increase
“Coming off the back of a very strong 2013, I predict a further increase in sales volume for Mercers in 2014 as buyer confidence continues to grow. If bank lending finally improves, then the market will accelerate across the board but, again, I do not think that is likely for the first three quarters of 2014. It is reassuring to see the British contingent participating so heavily in Murcia and I expect them to carry on leading the charge this year. And, this time, I will stick my neck out and predict at least a 30% rise in sales for 2014 over 2013.”
Mercers is certainly setting the scene for growth, having moved to a larger office premises on Camposol Golf in 2012 and growing its staff by two in 2013 – with the capacity to take on more sales experts if the property market continues on the upward trajectory that Chris expects.
“A lot depends on the Paramount Theme Park, which is now in the first stages of construction and on schedule for a 2016 opening. But, even without this tourist attraction, the general climate and appetite for foreign property buying is on the up – as evidenced by last year’s 60% increase on 2012 figures.”
Mercers’ excellent results coincide with a report from JP Morgan entitled ‘Spain is Back’. Released in January, the financial services firm predicts the country’s economy to grow by 1% in 2014 having seen encouraging results in industrial output, exports and consumer spending and confidence. It believes that Spain’s economy has healed enough and its banks are now well capitalised.
On the market in Murcia:
Villa (plus Apartment) in Camposol Golf, Mazarron, Murcia
A two-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a self-contained two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with roof terrace above. The home has a covered porch and the 600m² plot hosts a private swimming pool with a large poolside terrace and two separate driveways. The home is available fully furnished with central heating, air conditioning and installed solar panels for hot water. Camposol Golf has an 18-hole course and plenty of shops, restaurants and bars on site including an optician, vet, medical centre, hairdressers and a weekly market. The blue flag beaches and marina of Mazarron are within a 15-minute drive.
Price – €189,995
For more information, contact Mercers Costa Cálida at www.spanishproperty.co.uk