Spanish home mortgage approvals rose in March for the first time in almost four years, adding to signs that the property market is stabilizing six years after triggering the worst recession in the country’s democratic history.
Offers to buy Spanish homes fell short of the asking prices by 23 percent on average last year, damping expectations that the nation’s residential values have reached bottom, according to Idealista.com.
In the upmarket Madrid neighborhood of Arroyo del Fresno, red flags bearing the insignia of Banco Santander SA flutter atop a building site nestled between a medical center and a metro station. Instead of caution, they may signal that Spain’s six-year property crisis is receding.
Spanish home prices are poised to fall the most on record this year, leaving one in four homeowners owing more than their properties are worth, as the government forces banks to sell real-estate holdings.
A decree that forces Spanish banks to make provisions for losses related to real estate had the “immediate´´ effect of lowering asking prices for residential properties, according to a study by Idealista.com, Spain´s largest property website.
Blackstone Group LP offered to pay 43 million euros ($58 million) for a portfolio of homes in Spain being sold by the country’s bad bank as the U.S. private-equity firm builds its rental business in the country, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.