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Spain's repossessed property values down 65pct in 2012

Source: Bloomberg - Wed 12th Dec 2012
Spain's repossessed property values down 65pct in 2012

Repossessed property prices sold on by lenders this year fell by 65% as a million new properties remain unsold and buyers find it more difficult to get mortgages, according to Fitch Ratings.

The fall in price is relative to the value of the property when the loans were made and is more than double the drop in real estate values recorded in government data, which compares with a 45% slump in Portuguese repossessed house values.

Spain's property market is hampered by the country falling into its 2nd recession in 3 years and struggling with Europe's highest unemployment rate of 25%. Fitch published its latest study 5 years after a decade-long real estate bubble burst and just as Spain sets up its so-called bad bank to purge toxic assets from the books of troubled lenders.

"Fitch believes that the factors weighing on the Spanish residential property market will continue to deteriorate," Madrid-based analysts Carlos Massip and Juan David Garcia wrote in the report. "The gap between original valuation and the sale price is a reflection of a distressed mortgage market, characterized by high borrower indebtedness, constrained decline since 2007, the analysts waffordability" and "falling property prices," they wrote.

The fall in 2012's sale prices of repossessed Spanish properties is the sharpest since the financial crisis began and compares with an average 50% decline since 2007, the analyst wrote.

Repossessed property prices are lower than official real estate values because banks discount houses and apartments to achieve sales and clear their balance sheets. Banks in Spain seized more than 200,000 residential properties, adding to about 1 million newly built homes for sale, Fitch said.

Spanish property prices have now fallen 25.5% from the 2008 peak, according to the country's Ministry of Public Works.