The housing market of the Salamanca barrio of Madrid, one of the most exclusive and well-known of the capital, has two faces to it. One of them is that of the majestic houses. Many of them are like palaces, of an old mint, needing renovation, which are arguably the wealthiest in the entire world. On the other hand, there are the numerous interior housing units.
These are dark and inside buildings with several floors of small flats on running balconies round a central courtyard, and today prove difficult to be rid of but are still being sold.
According to the agencies situated in this zone, the activity of this barrio is “frantic.” “We don’t stop showing flats,” assures Pilar Rivas, of Única Inmobiliaria, an agency with a portfolio of 200 buildings in the district. The last appraisals from the month of January according to Tasamadrid put the average price per square metre in the main areas of the district at more than € 5,000. The value of houses in this zone has not lowered like it has in others.
‘Four years ago one could sell a basement for the same price as an exterior flat on Velázquez Street’
As a fact, “the reduction fluctuates between 15%, and at the high end, 20%,” assures Maribel López, assistant manager of Coldwell Banker Barrio Salamanca, which handles a ‘stock’ of another 200 flats. “It’s difficult to negotiate more,” she states. López remembers when, four years ago, one could sell a basement for the same price as an exterior flat on Velázquez Street, “for more than 7,000 euros per metre.”
Rivas defines various types of buyers: “The regulars range from the typical investor, who buys a small apartment to rent it out; the middle aged couple who just sold their house and who want to make the leap to a bigger flat; retired couples who live in a house in the outskirts and who are returning to Madrid, because they want to give up their car and live close to Retiro Park.” But the profile of the person who is moving the market most in recent months is that of the “foreign investor,” she affirms, “from Central Europe, and most recently, many Venezuelans and Mexicans.”
‘As for today, many buyers pay in cash and they like that flats need to be renovated’
“As for today, many buyers pay in cash and they like that flats need to be renovated, because this way they can do it as they like and with their own interior decorators,” explains Rivas. This makes it so that, ironically, the most expensive flats (which are roomy and on the exteriors located near Paseo de la Castellana and Retiro Park), have more possibilities of being sold than the dark and elongated interior flats, or than those furthest away from aforementioned zones. “There are transactions that are closed in three days and others that last months and are bargained for € 100,000 as if it were nothing,” comments Rivas.
In the barrio there are scarcely any buildings being newly constructed. Of these, like the one located in Castelló, 67 (from the year 2006) the views and the “garage space” are valued, adds Rivas, since the majority of properties are around 70 or 80 years old.
‘90% of homes for sale are inheritances’
One of the other peculiarities of the district is that, as López explains, “90% of homes for sale are inheritances,” hence the high interest that the large buildings awaken. “Many owners, or their heirs, are seen as obligated to sell because, despite their valuable assets, they don’t have sufficient liquidity to maintain or renovated the home,” explains Benigno Sánchez, director of Coldwell Banker.
Article translated from Spanish (published in El Mundo newspaper)