2020 has been a year like no other in so many ways. Taylor Wimpey España has been operating in Spain for over 60 years and I’ve been selling second homes with the company for more than 25. In that time, I’ve seen all manner of economic challenges, but nothing quite like the combination of site shutdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing and widespread economic distress that COVID-19 has caused.
What’s been interesting, though, is how strong demand remains for Spanish second homes. Demand is very much still alive. We’ve seen an increase of 33% in web visits in November 2020 compared to the November 2019. We’ve also experienced a 37% increase in year-to-date leads as at November 2020.
The fact that leads have increased despite the restrictions on travel serves as a clear reminder that buyers are looking at second homes to meet their future needs as well as their current ones. They are looking to the longer-term benefits of owning a property in Spain, in terms of both usage/lifestyle advantages and capital growth.
Of course, that’s not to say that the pandemic hasn’t changed what buyers are focusing on in the here and now. Indeed, we’ve seen a notable increase in buyers looking for open and bigger spaces, flexible accommodation that suits both work-related and lifestyle needs, communal pools and gardens and also quiet areas. Fibre and WiFi are simply non-negotiable. Apartments at our Grand View development, have just what buyers need when it comes to that sense of space and openness that has become so very important this year.
But buyers are also looking to the future. When it comes to their capital, buyers are accepting that situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic can create unforeseen property price fluctuations. That’s why it’s important to remain calm and look at the longer-term capital growth expectations of a second home.
With a long-term outlook, Spain remains an idyllic second home destination. The year-round warm weather, beaches, gastronomy, golf and rich culture will still be here when tourism returns, post-pandemic.
This long-term focus is one that is familiar to those buying properties off-plan. Clearly, those buyers need to ensure that the developer is still going to be there in one/two/three years’ time, irrespective of any economic fluctuations that may occur in that time.
It’s been interesting that we’ve seen growth in demand for new homes rather than second-hand homes during the course of 2020. Official figures show an increase of 7.3% in purchases of new properties in Q3 2020, compared with the same quarter of 2019. Again, this highlights buyers’ shifting behaviour as the ‘new normal’ moves to becoming just ‘normal.’
By Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard is Sales & Marketing Director at Taylor Wimpey España. He has spent more than 25 years overseeing the company’s sales in Mallorca, Ibiza, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol.