Now that 2015 has come to a close, with good although modest results, the real estate sector is looking to 2016 optimistically as the year of normalisation and stability after eight years of economic recession. Over the past year, the sector has seen sales figures return to normal, the number of mortgages granted increase, and housing prices return to what experts consider appropriate for a healthy market.

Based on sales data and market analyses for the past year, prognoses can be made as to how the Spanish housing and ‘brick’ market will behave in 2016, and the trends in the real estate sector for this year.

In terms of housing, sales are expected to rebound 15% to 20%, breaking the 400,000-unit barrier for the first time. This will happen, in large part, thanks to improved access to credit for homebuyers compared to 2015. This will be accompanied by an increase in national demand and, therefore, sales.

The sales will be seen, above all, in second-hand housing, which will be stronger than new construction. This fact is based on the decrease in available stock as a result of the lack of new developments. Buyers continue to prefer three bedroomed homes, as a sensation of luxury is increasingly associated with space.

In this regard, the general sensation is that prices are levelling out, when previously they had only dropped. Although there are some exceptions. Prices will continue to drop in provinces that still have a large stock of housing, taking a bit longer to level out. Land price is another key indicator of recovery, continuing to rise in the main urban centres, such as Madrid, Barcelona and the Costa del Sol.

Between renting and buying, the trend on a national level will continue to be to purchase homes. Nevertheless, in the near future the trend could swing towards renting, as is common in the rest of Europe. This hasn’t happened already because of the Spanish philosophy on life, which prioritises owning property, seeing the owner as the party with more protection under current law.

The main players in the sector, such as REITs, contractors, actuaries, cooperative managers, developers and consultancies all believe 2016 will be the year the real estate sector finally achieves the long-awaited consolidation, stabilisation and normalisation. After such positive prognoses and a general feeling of optimism, we’re looking forward to the first results.