Spanish house sales rise in 2014 for first time in three years
Spanish house sales rose 2.2 percent in 2014 from a year earlier, the first annual increase since 2010, official data showed on Tuesday, the latest sign the battered real estate sector could be turning a corner.
Around 319,389 homes were sold last year, the National Statistics Institute said, less than half the 775,300 sold at the height of the housing boom in 2007, a year before the bubble burst sending Spain's economy into a six-year slump.
House values continue to fall but last month they fell by just 2.7 percent nationwide from a year earlier, the smallest decline since 2008, separate data from real estate surveyor company Tinsa showed.
"The figures confirm a stabilising trend for the housing sector seen since the second quarter of 2013," Tinsa said.
House prices have fallen by more than 40 percent across Spain since the height in 2007.
Spain's economy returned to growth in 2013 after the prolonged downturn, lifted by strong exports and expanding domestic demand, and is expected to grow by more than 2.5 percent this year.
However, the housing sector remains depressed as banks, struggling to rebuild capital, are just returning to the mortgage market after a glut of cash from the European Central Bank and record low interest rates helps jump start the market.