Spanish home sales up, in boost for economy
Spanish home sales climbed 6.8 percent last year after two years of sharp declines caused by the collapse of the country's property market, official data showed Thursday, in a boost for Spain's battered economy.
There were 441,386 transactions during the year, well below the peak of 775,300 in 2007, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.
Homes sales plummeted 25.1 percent in 2009 and 28.8 percent in 2008, when the bursting of the property bubble helped plunge the Spanish economy into its worst recession in decades and sent the unemployment rate soaring to more than 20 percent.
The country emerged with tepid growth of just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and 0.2 percent in the second but then stalled with zero growth in the third. The Bank of Spain last week estimated that the economy shrank by 0.1 percent in 2010.
The latest data on property sales will come as welcome news for the government, which is fighting to convince nervous investors that it will grow enough to bring its massive public deficit under control without resorting to a Greek or Irish style bailout.
© 2011 AFP