SIMA 2010: The Party’s Over for Spain

SIMA 2010

The Bull Also Rises: Argentine developers avoided SIMA like the plague this year. Ole!

Saturday’s throat goring of a bullfighter in Madrid was more than a victory for animal lovers, it was a fitting sports analogy for the state of the Spanish economy.

High unemployment, a housing collapse and a tumbling Euro have many analysts referring to Spain in the same breath with Portugal, Italy and Greece, or our new favorite acronym for European countries drowning in sovereign debt, the PIGS.

Another Spanish acronym, SIMA, used to symbolize the glitz and glamor of the luxury real estate market in Spain. Hundreds of developers and thousands of buyers would descend upon Madrid each May in a second-home orgy of overpriced properties, over-eager agents and over-leveraged buyers. And while there was always a large delegation of Argentine developers at SIMA in years past, Reporte Inmobiliario says this year you can count them on one hand.

The story notes that the term “real estate bubble” was frowned upon a couple of years ago in Spain (As in, “If you don’t say it, maybe it will never happen.”), but now it’s part of the daily vernacular, Spanish developers are being squeezed by their lenders, and the speculative throng that once roamed the halls of SIMA signing multiple contracts for overseas condos has been reduced to a few bargain hunters.

Apparently the Argentine developers could see the writing on the wall and cancelled their Madrid reservations well in advance of this year’s Expo. Brazilian developers were also a no-show at this year’s SIMA, says RI, but for some strange reason the Uruguayan government chose to erect a huge booth. It’s the empty one on the attached article. (Full Story in Spanish)

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