RCA Insights

Tracking the Lag Between Spain’s Lockdowns and Deal Lows

By on October 6th, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has struck Spain particularly hard. Cases and total deaths from the first wave of the outbreak were among the highest in the world and a secondary surge is underway.

The extent of the Spanish government’s lockdown and the resultant economic fallout has had a marked effect on the country’s commercial real estate market. Deal volume through the end of August fell 54% versus the same point in 2019 and the deal count dropped by 37%.

Comparing data from Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government and Real Capital Analytics shows the lag between the government’s Covid-fighting restrictions and the low in commercial real estate investment activity.

The Spanish government introduced the first set of restrictions to halt the spread of the virus on March 10 and these increased to reach a peak lockdown on March 30, according to the Blavatnik School of Government’s Lockdown Stringency Index. In comparison, property deal count, as measured by a trailing 30-day total, peaked in mid-March and started a downwards path until reaching a low on May 7.

graph illustrating lag between lockdown enforcement in spain and subsequent fall in deal flow

As such, it took 58 days from the first major lockdown measures and 38 days from the moment of peak lockdown to the trough in property transactions. This emphasizes just how quickly the market reacted to onset of the crisis. The FTSE EPRA Nareit Spain Index took 38 days to go from peak in February to trough in March and this shows the direct market was on a similar timescale to the public market, in terms of deal flow at least.

More recently, Spain was forced into a new round of lockdown measures as the government tries to limit a second outbreak. The data suggests the property market has responded again and deal flows fell to a new low at the start of September, 54 days later. However, there is an important caveat: the summer period is typically slow for investment and the comparable data from 2019 shows that trend clearly.

Deals are still happening though, and Tristan Capital’s recent acquisition of two offices in Barcelona from Spanish player Immobiliaria Colonial shows international players remain active in the market. But with Spanish coronavirus cases elevated and the introduction of a local lockdown in Madrid, it is likely overall deal flow in Europe’s sixth largest market will remain subdued.


Real Capital Analytics will publish the third-quarter review of European transaction trends on October 28. Contact us to learn how RCA data, tools and analysis can help inform your investment decisions.

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Tom Leahy

Tom Leahy

Senior Director, EMEA Analytics

Tom Leahy joined RCA in 2014. In his role as Senior Director for the EMEA region, Tom is responsible for the development and expansion of the market analytics service for RCA’s European clients.

Prior to joining RCA, Tom was an Associate Director and then Head of Research at UK-based property consultancy, Lambert Smith Hampton. He started his career as an analyst at research consultancy Property Market Analysis (PMA).