Blog

The Property Market May 2012

12/06/2012

We thought we would get this blog going by adding our last 2 BMI Mag articles, here goes...

It’s been a busy few months, refreshingly shocking if I can put it that way to see the volume of interest from purchasers and the significant amount of sales that we have achieved in the first 2 quarters of the year. Again, this year we had expected to plough through much in the same way as last year which was always going to be an improvement to the previous year (2010), and we have not been disappointed. This is evident simply by viewing our website which has never had so many “under offer” signs on it. So are we seeing the good old days emerge, or as Ben Bernanke put it back in March 2009, are we “seeing the green shoots of recovery”? – well there’s certainly more realism in that quote when applied to Gibraltar today; some might argue that the quote at the time was as relevant to the U.S as Berlusconi’s demands that his ex-wife apologise for accusing him of adultery.

So what’s been happening in the past three months?

A synopsis on what’s moving...

We have seen an increase in sales at Europlaza of late, although last year and the previous had seen sales slow in this development and prices had actually dropped by about 10 - 15% from its peak in 2007, this year has seen a visible increase in sales with prices (particularly on 3 beds) hitting close to the 2007 peak, which is great news for Europlaza, and the market in general. Interesting that the buyers in these cases have all been from local stock, which we believe further underpins the strength of our economy.

Kings Wharf and The Anchorage continue to churn out great deals and good numbers of sales (for us at least), we have had the privilege of dealing with over a dozen families moving into The Anchorage in the past 6 months and about the same amount at Kings Wharf...good going we think and great signs that we have an active and fluid market particularly in the new mid to high end developments, which had for a time, caused concern due to the speculative investors who were committed with no real exit strategy. Again, in these cases we are seeing a good proportion of local stock buying as well as international clientele making the most of what we consider great values.

Buena Vista Park Villas has also taken us by surprise, although to be fair, we have been focusing our efforts aggressively in this development. The fact that we are seeing positive movement in this development leads to undeniable evidence that the high end market of £1m properties is very much here and here to stay – it also provides further options to The Island and Admirals Place which remain at the top end of the scale. We are delighted with the sales we have achieved so far with further reservations made in recent days, we hope they too materialise and we continue to strive to attract discerning clients to this truly fabulous development.

In General

We are also encouraged by the high percentages of local buyers in other markets and specifically between £180,000 - £300,000 range including Montagu Gardens and Peninsular Heights to name a few. There is concern here that the recently released Govt tenders in the south district may compete unfairly with developments such as these and there may be a certain truth in this, the reality though is that more product in an active market is a good thing and will always serve to balance and adjust prices in the market.

Lettings

It’s difficult to see a trend with lettings and we feel this has more to do with particular waves, or influx of new business and relocations to Gibraltar; one thing is for certain and that's the fact that the buy-to-let market which has seen several buy-to- let units in Eurotowers and Atlantic Suites sold, is evidence enough to suggest that confidence in rentals is back. With important tenants now well settled in Atlantic Suites like Bwin.Party and The Financial Services Commission there has been a noticeable increase in residential demand for this smart address. A new business of serviced apartments has been set up there which is certainly contributing to needs of the business community and we are also advised that a new Atlantic Café is going to be built on the landing inside
the magnificent foyer which will most likely add further interest to this prestigious address.

It is also interesting to see that banks (locally) are also doing their best to encourage and facilitate with lending solutions, albeit cautiously, and we are most certainly seeing the results.

The Banks

One can’t help but get the jitters when you hear the word bank nowadays, from a personal point of view they have been a godsend to us Estate Agents of late, given that any time us agents get any grief, we just use the words bank, debt and credit in the same sentence and hey presto, we become saints in a flash…;) Seriously though, I personally think it is testament to the strength of our economy and the due diligence and attitude of lending practices in Gibraltar that has resulted in there being NOT ONE single (personal) repossession on the market. I have had the pleasure of meeting up with a few of our colleagues at NatWest recently and it is so very encouraging to hear their thoughts
and views on how to further improve on services and our communications in order to improve the experience that all our mutual clients deserve.

All in all we remain confident that the local property market is in good shape and we hope to see this continue regardless of the continuous down turns and bad news that we see / hear regularly on our screens.

In our next edition, we hope to fill you in further about our services; specifically on management of properties and our relationship with both tenants and landlords. I also hope to give you more details on a few new projects that we are working on related to Commercial / Office development; both sectors in our economy that have been somewhat overlooked of late.

Finally, we want to keep updating you as often as possible, and we have set up both Facebook and Twitter accounts with almost daily updates in what’s new and what’s what in property. We would also welcome comment or query, so please follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook and stay in touch.

Thanks as always to all our contributors, advertisers, friends and clients alike.

Louis