Spanish foreclosure auctions doubled in 2008

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A total of 58,686 foreclosure auctions took place last year compared to 25,943 in 2007 and is set to rise over 75,000 this year, says Spain’s judicial body.

MADRID – The number of foreclosure auctions of homes and businesses more than doubled last year in Spain, official data showed Monday, as people struggled to make mortgage payments amid the country's worst recession in a generation.

A total of 58,686 foreclosure auctions took place last year compared to 25,943 in 2007, according to the body that oversees Spain's judiciary, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).

The number of foreclosure auctions in 2008 was more than in the previous three years combined, it added.

There were 21,2111 foreclosure auctions during the last quarter of 2008, compared to 13,487 during the previous three months and 8,836 during the last quarter of 2007.

The judicial body predicts another 76,463 foreclosure auctions will take place in 2009.

Formerly one of the eurozone's chief engines of economic growth and job creation, Spain suffered an abrupt change of fortunes last year when the global financial crisis accelerated a downturn that was already underway in its once-buoyant property sector, which had fuelled a decade of growth.

The slump in the building sector has spread to other areas, pushing the unemployment rate to 15.5 percent in February, the highest level in the 27-nation European Union and nearly double the average of 7.9 percent for the entire bloc.

Spain's unemployment rate is rising at the fastest rate in the developed world, according to the Bank of Spain.

AFP / Expatica

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