The four major banks that have been, or are, in the hands of the State – CAM Bank, NCG Banco, Bankia, and CatalunyaCaixa – last year sold nearly 40,000 real estate assets amounting to more than 5,000 million euros, with discounts reaching 60%.
The persistence of the crisis, and the new capital requirements contained in the two decrees of restructuring of the financial sector approved by the Government in 2012, were two of the reasons for the acceleration of sales by these organisations.
This also influenced the creation of the Sareb or so-called ‘bad bank’, which is already underway, and whose role will be to manage the real estate assets that remain, most likely with some discounts even greater than those mentioned, which these institutions have used extensively to dispose of these properties.
El Mundo reported that in order to sell homes and other assets, the banks also used other relevant factors as incentives to buyers such as the end of the tax relief for first-time home purchase, on 31st December 2012, or the increase in VAT from 4% to 10% in 2013.
Almost all these entities noticed an increase in sales in the last quarter of the year in order to benefit from the tax relief for house purchases, which ended on 1st January, 2013.
They also had the incentive of falling house prices in Spain, which in the second quarter of 2012 alone decreased by 15.2% from a year earlier, and was the country in the European Union (EU) where prices fell most since, according to data from the European Statistics Agency (Eurostat), prices fell on average by 1.9%.