The Ministry of Housing published recently the statistics of the closed transactions for the fourth quarter of 2017 and therefore, the data for the whole 2017. The information for Benahavis and Marbella are somewhat different and does not fully fit with of all the good news on the press. If we start with Benahavis, the market is still not doing well. Looking at the chart, we can observe that 2017 was worse than 2016 and 33% worse than 2015, the best, up to now, year after the crash of 2008. However, It is important to clarify that this information comes from the Land Registries and only counts the sale of second hand properties.
There are new properties that have been sold off plan that will only be counted when the sale deeds are signed after completion and up to that moment, there is no information on the number of them that are being closed. Therefore, the total number of sales, that means the sum of second hand and new off plan properties, is unknown and that may affect a general comment about the market. However, there are two pieces of information that can give an insight of the market: the first one is that the sale of second hand properties went down 20% in 2017 compared to 2016 and that affects those owners trying to sell their second hand properties and, the second, is that on those boom years prior the crash, 40% of the sales were off plan transactions.
On the other hand, and if we look at the numbers of Marbella, things are getting better with an increase in the number of sales in 2017 compared to 2016 and that is without counting, as mentioned before, the sales of off plan properties. In general, the market is getting better and I am of the opinion that will continue that tendency, also in Benahavis where I think we will start to see those sales of off plan properties reflected on the official statistics during this year, if the general situation, economical and political, maintains the actual stability.