The manager of Cardenas Real Estate, Carolina García Chagrin, has been interviewed by the local newspaper MaspalomasAhora where she explains the keys of the impact of the crisis by the coronavirus on the real estate sector of the island. Continue reading the article below which we have translated into your language. You can see the original article published in MaspalomasAhora.
Carolina García Chagrin: “Once a certain normality in air traffic has been restored, we see a rapid recovery in the real estate sector”
The manager of Inmobiliaria Cárdenas assures that the health crisis will boost the sale of second homes or vacation rentals
The real estate market will not be immune to this crisis and its recovery in the south of the island will be closely linked to the opening up of air traffic and the recovery of tourism. This is the opinion of Carolina García Chagrin, manager of Inmobiliaria Cárdenas, a chain with more than 40 years of experience in Gran Canaria. Due to the covid-19 crisis, Cárdenas has already adapted two of its four real estate agencies, those in Arguineguín and Puerto Rico, where they are operating in this initial stage and have established strict security protocols.
In an interview with Maspalomas Ahora, García Chagrin tells us that they are confident that the sector will recover quickly in the medium term, as well as boosting sales of second homes or holiday rentals due to the new post-coronavirus lifestyle…
What protocols are being carried out by the real estate agencies to prevent contagion during visits to the homes?
Our protocol, in Inmobiliaria Cárdenas, is even stricter than the recommendations established by Ministry of Health. We take very seriously the hygiene and sanitary measures, because we are aware that in many cases, unless the house is empty, we are accessing the private homes of our selling customers, with strangers and that under normal circumstances (hopefully soon if air traffic is restored) will come from different parts of Europe.
Of course, also in order to protect our staff, visits are made with a maximum of 2 potential buyers and 1 real estate consultant, trying to qualify the interest well in advance, to avoid unnecessary visits. In order to maximize the distance, we suggest the owner to leave the property during the visit. Both our staff and the interested parties are provided with masks, disinfect their hands, and even wear sanitary shoe covers (of course new ones), just before entering the house. We have established this protocol in writing and it is sent to all parties (owners and interested parties) before the visit, so that they are informed.
How is the coronavirus crisis affecting the housing market?
The real estate market is not going to be left out of this crisis. Its impact on the southern part of the island will go hand in hand with the recovery of tourism, for two reasons: on the one hand, because the demand for first homes is mostly from people who work in the tourism sector or depend on it, and until employment is normalised, it will be difficult for them to access financing to buy a home.
On the other hand, the demand from non-residents will be affected as long as they cannot travel, because not being able to physically visit the homes makes the decision to buy difficult. However, thanks to the new technologies that we have already been applying (virtual tours, videos of the homes, and now more and more increasing virtual online visit with the client) we are managing to close sales even if the buyer does not visit the home in person. As specialists in foreign buyers, we are very used to helping them in all the steps of the purchase even without their physical presence, for example in opening accounts, granting powers of attorney abroad, obtaining the NIE, etc. The good reputation we have acquired over 40 years in the market helps us a lot in generating the necessary confidence. We are even offering an independent technical report on the state of the property, to provide transparency and enable the buyer to make an informed decision.
What do you see as the short and medium-term horizon?
In the short term, therefore, there is a considerable reduction in sales volume, but not a total halt. In the medium term, as soon as a certain normality is restored to air traffic, we see a fairly rapid recovery as feasible. We believe that this health crisis will boost the purchase of second homes, as well as holiday rentals, as a solution for enjoying holidays, as it will offer more freedom and ease of social distancing, than staying in a hotel establishment with strict health measures.
What are the challenges to be carried out by the real estate sector to get out of this situation?
As in other sectors, the use of new technologies will be very important. The role of business associations must also be highlighted, at times like these it is essential to collaborate and join forces. In the Canary Islands, the strongest association is ACEGI and we have felt very supported for belonging to it.
Will there be a drop in house prices?
We must be very clear that the real estate sector is very very local, which means that Las Palmas is not the same as Tafira, or Vecindario as the South. Even in the South, Mogán is not the same as San Bartolomé de Tirajana, nor are the buildings situated at the beachfrontas others. The market is determined by supply and demand, and these can vary according to the area, even according to the building. It is clear that the demand will contract, but not in the same way in all areas, types or prices.
Our recommendation to the owner is that if he can wait to sell he should wait, now if he needs or wants to sell he should go to a good real estate manager who will make a professional valuation and carry out a marketing plan as advanced as possible. This valuation should be based on witnesses of similar properties sold and others that are on offer. It is very important to know which properties are competing with yours. To do this, it is important that the professional, in addition to having experience in the area, has technological tools for valuation. Our recommendation is to be the best product in the area and segment in terms of quality/price, in this way together with a proper marketing plan, the property can attract the contracted demand that there is. It is essential to maximize the dissemination to reach the largest possible number of buyers and thus obtain the best offer. Many buyers are making very low offers believing that it is time for opportunities, but if instead of a single potential customer we can have several candidates, we will have more chances of obtaining a reasonable offer.
Our clients are mostly foreigners and come from countries such as Norway, Sweden, Germany, where the pandemic has not affected as much as in Spain and they are still interested in having their second home on the island.
Will new trends emerge in the market?
The boost given to new technologies and teleworking during the pandemic could contribute to an already existing trend of people from other countries taking up residence on the island, even if their work or business activity is in their home country. This would have a positive influence on the demand for property, locally. Likewise, professional colleagues from the mainland commented that they observe an increase in the demand for housing with outdoor areas, since confinement has made this aspect valuable. In the South we are fortunate that many of the homes have outdoor areas.
In the commercial and retail sector it seems likely that online commerce will increase even more, and that people will go to shops less. The result could be a trend towards the conversion of commercial premises into housing.
This same trend applies to the real estate sector, users will try to do everything possible from home to minimize the visit to the office and homes. As professionals we must be up to date with the latest technological tools. But make no mistake, this sector is all about human relations, which is why PropTech (100% technological real estate) has not achieved the result they expected. Trust is fundamental and technology will never replace this aspect, a good real estate advisor must be a good listener, understand the needs of the client and make good use of resources -among which technology and big data is increasingly present, helping the client to make the best decision. Don’t forget that the home is often the most important purchase a family makes in its lifetime.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the Gran Canaria property market.