A recent article on a property website declared that the “number of internet searches by Brits for property overseas has increased exponentially in the last 12 months, according to a study conducted by an estate agent consortium”.
The survey in question came from Primelocation.com showing that “June 2010 saw 151 per cent increase in the number of searches for property in Spain by UK citizens compared to June 2009”.
Flawed Arguments Create Distorted Realities
According to Ann Wright, the international development manager for Primelocation.com, “Spain will draw in international buyers whatever the economic situation.”
This statement has no quantitative quality at all. If one buyer from abroad comes to buy a property in Spain, this argument would be equally valid as if 100,000 buyers would purchase property in Spain. Therefore, the statement per se makes no quantitative reference to the number of buyers that actually do purchase a property, but merely that international buyers do come.
The statistics behind the claims are also lacking any quantitative quality. If 4 people searched for property in June 2009 and this year 6 people searched for property in June 2010, that would give the 150 per cent increase.
Pedro Martinez, from SpanishPropertyUpdate.com asks “151 per cent increase? Exponential growth in searches? How does this reflect anything substantial and significant about the Spanish Property sector?”
Another article in the Telegraph had the title: “Record number of Britons looking to move abroad”. The argument is misleading and doesn’t provide a real picture of the Spanish property sector which has actually only managed to sell 500 properties to non-residents in the first quarter of 2010.
It is evident that from the above statements one would get the impression that the Spanish Property sector is doing well, or at least recovering well. Fact is though, a property search is still very far away from a property purchase. Another fact that has been ommitted from the arguments is that of search engine rankings. The statistics could simply reveal how these property websites now rank 151 per cent better than last year, with the additional visitors having visited other sites in the past and therefore no significant changes existing in the market as a whole.
It could also be the case that once these Brits have searched for a property in Spain, they then go to other property websites and see how property in Morocco, Turkey, Albania or Bulgaria is actually much cheaper and end up purchasing property in those countries.
Lies and Hiding the Truth is Recovery’s Worst Enemy
Until real significant facts start to emerge and the media begins to take on the hard talk and investigate the truth and the facts, the Spanish property sector will be doomed without an end in sight.
The start of a recovery would begin with a look at the problems and challenges the sector faces. Another recent article published in the Guardian makes a brave attempt at unveiling the reality.