Spanish housing sales plummet in 2008
News Article Date: Wednesday 11th of March 2009
Home sales in Spain dropped 33 percent last year, the government reported Thursday, more grim evidence of the bursting of the country's real estate bubble amid a dramatic economic downturn.
Sales of existing homes suffered most, plummeting 46 percent compared to 2007 to a total of 231,038 transactions, the Housing Ministry said.
In the fourth quarter, sales of new and existing homes dropped 35 percent compared to the same period of 2007, the ministry said.
Spain's construction sector had been the driving force behind more than a decade of solid economic growth, but it started to weaken rapidly at the end of 2007 as sharply higher interest rates on mortgages froze sales and banks tightened credit.
The Spanish economy is now in a technical recession and its 13.9 percent unemployment rate is the highest in the European Union and projected by the government to hit 16 percent by the end of 2009.
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