The housing market is still recovering from the blow of covid-19 and, little by little, sales and purchases are picking up speed.

According to the INE, 47,033 home sales and purchases were registered in May, 11% more than in April and 107.6% more year-on-year, coinciding with the start of the de-escalation. This means that transactions have more than doubled compared to a year ago, a figure that has also been advanced this week by notaries.

Thanks to this improvement, the balance of the first five months of the year is positive and already totals a year-on-year growth of 24.8%. However, and if we look at the absolute number of operations, the property transfers in May have been below those registered in March and also those registered in May 2019, the year before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Another of the most striking data is that new-build housing transactions have lost some steam compared to previous months (with 9,199 units, compared to more than 10,000 in February and March), while second-hand transactions have picked up speed and reached their highest level since January 2020 with 37,834 sales and purchases. However, between January and May the balance is more positive in the case of new-build housing transactions, whose rise is around 40% compared to the first five months of 2020. In the case of second-hand homes, the increase is around 21%.

The improvement in transactions, both sales and mortgages, is a constant in the statistics, despite the fact that notaries and the INE, whose data are based on the Land Registry, do not count the same period. In the case of the notaries, the latest data suggest that it has been the best May for home sales and mortgage signings since 2007, while in the case of the INE the current figure is below that recorded in 2019. It should be remembered that transactions are recorded in the registers after they have been signed in front of a notary, so they have a lag of approximately two months. In other words, the transactions registered in May are those that were signed weeks earlier before the notary.

May data by Autonomous Region

The INE places Murcia (206.5%), the Canary Islands (176.9%) and La Rioja (147.2%) as the three regions with the highest year-on-year growth in property sales and purchases in May, while the lowest increases were in the Balearic Islands (61.6%), the Basque Country (68.4%) and the Community of Madrid (68.5%). Andalusia and Valencia were above the national average (with a rise of more than 120%), while Catalonia was below, with a year-on-year growth of close to 89%. On the other hand, the regions with the highest number of transfers per 100,000 inhabitants are Valencia (166), Murcia (153) and Aragon (146).

But the ranking changes if we look at the volume of transfers. By number of transactions, Andalusia is still at the top of the list with more than 9,600 sales, followed by Catalonia (7,614), Valencia (6,675) and Madrid (6,474). The next most prominent autonomous region was Castilla y León, with just over 2,000 registered sales. On the other side of the table are three regions with less than 600 transactions: Cantabria, Navarra and La Rioja, which closes the ranking with 356 sales and purchases.