I am wondering if anyone here has any ideas on the current situation of spanish banks valuing property sales at pre-2007 levels for their accounts but - at the same time - permitting sales with vendors at a far lower price. I have been looking at two separate properties in N. Costa Blanca. I can settle either in cash but in both cases the vendors are underwater after the sale by around 50%. So the sale can occur - though not for cash, only via 100% mortgage - but then I am informed that the 'bank valuation' is nearly 50% higher. Is this a common practice in Spain?Part of the reason is that Spanish banks are restricted by law to lending not more than 80% of the asset value (the 'valor tasacion') and that should the asset fall in value after the loan is made, at any time during the term of the mortgage, the bank can require the borrower to pay the difference. In the case above, it looks like the bank is trying to 'lock in' a wealthy buyer at an artificially high valuation that would allow it to re-value subsequently and require the buyer to pay the difference. Wholly immoral and akin to legalised thievery, but since when in recent years have the banks been otherwise?
With Spanish 10-year bond yields down this week low enough to allow a breathing space, there is huge pressure to take advantage of this honeymoon with the markets to recapitalise Spanish banks; it's also the best opportunity they'll have to correct the banks' asset valuations. From 1st September all Spanish banks have been regulated and controlled with absolute authority by the government and the Bank of Spain. Part of the rescue plan being overseen by the FROB or Orderly Bank Restructuring Fund is to buy the negative assets of struggling banks and transfer ownership to a newly created 'bad bank'. But how to value them? Too low a valuation will still leave the banks struggling, too high will increase public debt. Spain has therefore agreed with the EU to use a set of valuations derived by US-owned consultancy Oliver Wyman.
Oliver Wyman is due to present the valuation set on 24th September to the Economic Ministry, Bank of Spain, European Commission, ECB and IMF. If all goes well, the valuation basis will be made public by the end of the month. When adopted it is hoped it will help get the Spanish property market moving again.
Am I being unduly cynical in predicting that the result will be to value Spanish property asset transfer price at exactly 125% of outstanding debt? Hmmmm.