construction sector

Property developer and former FC Barcelona President, Josep Lluís Núñez, goes to jail for tax fraud

November 17, 2014 09:35 PM | ACN

Josep Lluís Núñez Clemente – aged 83 – and his son – who had been Director of the family company – have been accused of bribing tax inspectors in the 1990s regarding their private business and have entered jail this weekend for a 2 year sentence. Núñez senior chaired FC Barcelona between 1978 and 2000 but his sentence has nothing to do with the famous sports club's activities. After one of the longest judicial processes in Spain's history, Núñez senior and his son were initially convicted in July 2011 with 6 years in prison and a €2 million fine. They were accused of bribing tax inspectors with €1 million in order to avoid paying more than €13 million in taxes between 1991 and 1999, and of forging official documents. However, they appealed the decision and the Spanish Supreme Court reduced their prison time. They filed a last appeal to avoid going to prison but in October 2014 Barcelona's High Court ratified their imprisonment. Considering Núñez senior's age, he could be granted day parole in a few weeks.

Catalan economy shows 0.5% growth in the third quarter, accumulating a year and a half of growth

November 6, 2014 09:12 PM | ACN

According to official data released by the Catalan Ministry of Economics and the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat), the Catalan economy grew by 0.5% between and July and September 2014, the latest in six consecutive quarters of positive economic growth. A signal that the recession is far left behind. The whole of Spain also grew by 0.5% in the same 3 months. In annual terms, Catalonia's GDP has grown by 1.8%, mainly thanks to the boost by the services sector,which has demonstrated an annual growth of 2.4%. The sector of industry grew by 1.5% and those of construction and agriculture decreased by -2.6% and -1% respectively. Idescat’s previous predictions for 2014 quarters has been reviewed: the 0.5% initially estimated for the first quarter increased to 0.7%, while the 0.6% for the second quarter dropped to 0.5%.

Barcelona Meeting Point 2014 prepares for a ''mass influx'' of international funds ''ready to buy''

October 29, 2014 09:25 PM | ACN / Nell English

The 18th Edition of the Barcelona Meeting Point will take place between 29 October and 2 November in Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic venue. The trade fair is a real estate exhibition that brings together buyers and sellers to network and learn about the latest industry trends. This year there will be 265 participating companies from 23 countries. According to the show’s President, Enric Lacalle, it will be the first edition to open in a recovering housing sector, after 6 years of crisis and setbacks. The real estate market is strengthening; there was a 36.6% increase in the acquisition of houses by foreigners in 2013 and a 12.5% rise in housing sales throughout Spain. In addition, real estate investment in Barcelona is expected to exceed €1.6 billion in 2014, 30% more than last year. In fact, 21 international investment funds will participate in the trade fair. The show will also include a series of talks and presentations, and offer financing options for property purchase.

Housing prices in Catalonia increase by 1.6% in the second quarter

September 8, 2014 10:53 PM | ACN

The value of homes in Catalonia increased by 1.6% during the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to the House Price Index of the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE). In relation to the first quarter of this year, prices registered a 1.8% increase between March and June, whilst cumulatively over this year there was a 1.3% increase in property value in Catalonia. However, the prices of new flats rose by 8.7%, whilst second hand properties only saw a 0.1% growth in their value. In Spain as a whole, the House Price Index reached a 0.8% rate in annual terms, the first time this has happened at Spanish level since March 2008. 

Housing prices rise again in annual terms after 6 years of continuously dropping in Spain

September 1, 2014 07:17 PM | ACN

The real estate market has stopped its downward trend and has started its recovery in Spain. Housing prices already registered an increase in September of 2013 in quarterly terms, but now the prices grew for the first time in annual terms, a phenomenon not registered for the last 6 years. By the end of June 2014, prices grew by 0.97% compared to June 2013. In quarterly terms, housing prices increased by 1.53% compared to March 2014. Since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, housing prices have plummeted an average of 32% throughout Spain, with prices equivalent to those registered in 2003. In the second quarter of 2014, Catalonia was the Autonomous Community with the second highest number of housing sales, registering 11,980 operations.

Catalonia's economic recovery gets stronger as GDP grew by 0.6% between April and June 2014

August 6, 2014 07:14 PM | ACN

The Catalan economy grew by 1.3% from July 2013 to June 2014. However, the economic recovery has particularly sped up and got stronger over the second quarter of 2014, when it grew by 0.6% in quarterly terms, according to data released on Wednesday by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat) and the Catalan Finance Ministry. The GDP growth between April and June was higher than the one registered during the first quarter of the year, set at 0.4%. With the 0.6% registered at the end of June, Catalonia has achieved 5 consecutive quarters of posting positive figures, leaving the recession more than a year behind. Regarding economic sectors, services have led the economic recovery, posting a 1.8% annual growth at the end of the first half of 2014.

CatalunyaCaixa confirms the sale of its €6.4 billion high risk mortgages to US Blackstone

July 18, 2014 04:24 PM | ACN

CatalunyaCaixa (CX) on Thursday confirmed the sale of its portfolio of high risk loans to US investment company Blackstone, consisting mainly of mortgages with a nominal value of €6.392 billion and provisions of €2.205 billion. The transaction involved the transfer of funds to a portfolio of asset-backed securities for an amount equal to its book value, €4.187 billion, with €3.615 billion supplied by Blackstone and Spain's public Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB) providing the remaining 572 million. With this divestment, the CX solvency ratio stood at 14.9% and coverage stands at 81.6%. After this sale, the liquid assets of CX will reach €16.848 billion and the company is now ready to face its full privatisation, after it was nationalised in 2012.  In addition, Blackstone had already bought CX's real estate business in June in a €40 million operation.

Catalan Government finally approves tax on empty flats owned by financial institutions

July 15, 2014 08:54 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government approved on Tuesday a measure to impose a tax on empty flats owned by financial institutions. The aim of the tax is to incentivise banks to rent out the empty homes. Santi Vila, the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, said that the "mere announcement" of the tax has already caused Sareb [Spain's public 'bad bank'], Catalunya Caixa and Bankia to yield to the Government 1,230 apartments for social rent. During the press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting, Vila pointed out that the new tax will not apply to individuals and will only be intended for flats that have been taken out of the market for more than two years. The Minister also said that the measure is not simply about "tax collection" but is instead to ease the access to housing market in the midst of a housing crisis.

Recovery of Catalan economy is ahead of that of Spain, employer association report finds

July 15, 2014 08:43 PM | ACN

''The recovery has come and has come to stay,'' according to Salvador Guillermo, Director of the Economy of Catalonia's main association of business-owners, Foment del Treball. Guillermo, who coordinated the report published on Tuesday, said that the analysis of economic data confirms that the positive trends have been occurring a month earlier in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain, "which means that recovery is more entrenched'' in Catalonia. The agents of this recovery are internal demand (consumption and investment) and the fast pace of exports in Catalonia.

Property sales in Catalonia increased by 13% in April 2014, compared with 5.3% Spanish average

June 11, 2014 09:38 PM | ACN

The sale of homes in Catalonia rose 13.1% this April, compared with the same month last year, according to the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE).  April 2014 saw the sale of 3,724 properties in Catalonia, 3,334 of which were free (89.5%) and 390 protected (10.5%).  Of these transactions, 32% corresponded to newly-built flats and 68% were of existing homes.  Across Spain, sales have increased by 5.3% in annual terms, with a total of 24,968 transactions registered. Thus, Catalonia sits comfortably above the Spanish average, but was surpassed by eight other Autonomous Communities, including the Basque Country, Cantabria and the Balearic Islands, where purchases increased by 48.8%, 41 6% and 28.5%, respectively.

Catalonia’s new tax on 15,000 empty flats owned by banks as “incentive” to have them rented

March 5, 2014 08:05 PM | ACN

The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, who is also in charge of housing policies, presented on Tuesday the draft of a new tax bill on empty flats and houses owned by financial institutions in Catalonia. During a press conference, Vila explained that such a tax is looking to be an “incentive” for banks to make available their 15,000 flats spread across 70 municipalities with “proven demand” for housing, mainly around Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona, and which have been empty for more than 2 years without a justified cause. The amount of the tax will be based on the total number of square meters owned by the banks and will include significant accumulative bonuses if the institutions decide to rent their properties, notably for social housing. The Catalan Government estimates that banks own around 40,000 empty flats, including in areas with housing demand.


Home sales in Catalonia up by 5% in 2013 while they decrease in Spain

February 13, 2014 04:47 PM | ACN

Housing sales in Catalonia have reached 45,064 units in 2013, representing a 4.8% increase on the previous year, according to data published on Wednesday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). Such figures are the highest since 2010, when 55,857 transactions were registered. Besides, in monthly terms, in December 2013, there were 3,014home sales in Catalonia, amounting to a 2.6% increase on the same month last year. At Spanish level, residential property transactions dropped to 311,414 in 2013, meaning a 2.2% decrease. The December figures reveal a similar trend, with the number of sales falling to 22,723 units in the entire country, a 3.6% decrease compared to the same month last year.

Housing prices rise in Catalonia for the first time since June 2010

December 17, 2013 03:24 PM | ACN

Housing prices increased by 0.8% in Catalonia during the third quarter of 2013, which is the first quarterly increase in the last three years. However, despite the positive figures, in annual terms prices at the end of September were 8.1% lower than those registered 12 months ago, due to the price falls registered in the second half of 2012 and the first 6 months of 2013. Between July and September 2013, prices of newly-built flats and houses in Catalonia rose by 5.7%, while those of second-hand housing were still decreasing (-0.3%). However, overall figures suggest that the real estate market may have reached the bottom and that its recovery might be about to start. In the whole of Spain, housing prices rose by 0.7% in the third quarter of 2013.

In March Catalonia registered the lowest level of housing sales since 2007

May 14, 2013 12:42 AM | CNA

In March, 2,750 flats and houses were sold in Catalonia, 13.9% less than a year ago in the same month. 32.5% were newly built homes and 67.5% were second hand ones. The previous worst month of the economic crisis had been December 2011, when 2,778 housing units were sold. However, the results from March represent the lowest level of housing sales since January 2007. The reasons behind this drop are the economic recession and the crisis of the real estate sector. In the whole of Spain, housing sales dropped by 12.6% compared to a year ago, with 22,086 flats and houses sold. However, at a Spanish level, the worst month in the last few years is still April 2012, when 21,551 housing units were sold.