Spanish Property: Correction Bottoming Out

September 18th, 2009

The sharp housing correction that has sent Spain’s economy into a tailspin is bottoming out, Housing Minister Beatriz Corredor told parliament Wednesday.

“Recent indicators show a trend toward stabilization in the housing market,” Corredor said.

Spain’s once-buoyant housing market collapsed last year as the global financial crisis worsened a correction that was already underway after years of overbuilding and spiraling house prices.

Data Tuesday from Spain’s national statistics institute showed the number of houses sold in Spain rose 4.7% in July, their third consecutive month-on-month gain, though they were down 20% from July last year.

Falling housing prices and interest rates are helping to improve the affordability of housing, Corredor added, saying this should stimulate demand.

The government has offered incentives to convert unsold homes into rental properties or to sell them to qualified buyers in social-housing programs. It has also said it will limit current tax incentives on home purchases from 2011 in an attempt to bring forward decisions to buy.

In a note to investors Wednesday, Citigroup economist Giada Giani said the rise in July home sales points to an improvement in demand for Spanish property, but noted that housing construction indicators continue to “decline sharply, depressed by the huge amount of unsold inventory.”

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