Bloomberg News

Spanish Home Sales Slump Most in Six Months Amid Recession

April 10, 2012

Spanish home sales declined the most in six months in February as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy relapsed into a recession and banks reduced lending.

The number of transactions fell 31.8 percent from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said in an e-mailed statement today. That was the most since August, and compares with a decline of 26.3 percent in January.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in power since December, is struggling to turn around a slump in the real estate industry as banks squeeze lending at a record pace and unemployment exceeds 23 percent. The government has brought back tax breaks for home buyers and is forcing banks to recognize deeper losses on 175 billion euros ($229 billion) of real estate assets in an attempt to accelerate sales and push down home prices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at

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