TALLINN - Real estate transactions have reached an all time low in the first quarter of the year, recent data released by Statistics Estonia found.
The national statistics agency reported on May 12 that the number of purchase-sale transactions in the first quarter of the year amounted to 5,400, the total value of which reached 4.7 billion kroons (300 million euros).
This is the smallest number of transactions since the national statistics agency began keeping records in 1997. Since then, the number has not dipped below 6,000.
Year-on-year, the number of sale-purchase transactions fell by 39 percent in the first quarter, while the total value of the transactions that took place was halved. Both the total number of transactions and the value of those transactions decreased by about 25 percent against the previous quarter.
More than a half of the purchase-sale transactions with dwellings were notarized with the objects located in Tallinn and Harju County, the statistics department reported. The value of Tallinn-area transactions accounted for about 75 percent of the total value of purchase-sale transactions with dwellings.
In the first quarter, almost a half of the purchase-sale contracts were concluded for the transfer of dwellings, nearly a third were for registered real estate, 11 percent for residential buildings and 8 percent for non-residential buildings.
Since 2008 the data of the Estonian Land Board serve as a basis for the production of official statistics on the purchase-sale transactions of real estate. In previous years Statistics Estonia collected the data from notaries.
Latvia and Lithuania have also seen large drops in their real estate markets in recent months.
"Real estate remains an attractive investment, but at the moment the majority of people are not satisfied with prices," Vytautas Azbainis, a lecturer at Mykolas Romeris University, told The Baltic Times.
Azbainis said the market was not likely to balance out in the near future.
"The economics show no signs of revival this year, thus in 2010 it is not likely to recover."
"I think that when the "financial spring" comes the real estate market will jump up a little bit and then the prices will fluctuate according to economic cycles," he said.
The situation is similar in Latvia, which is continuing to see a decline in real estate prices as the crisis continues to take its toll.
"The prices are falling, as one can see by looking at the data, but at the same time we are lagging behind in apartment space, behind Western Europe," Ralfs Jansons, Chairman of the Board of Domuss real estate, told TBT.
"Unfortunately we don't think we have hit the bottom yet," he said.