May 18, 2020 / 11:23 AM / 7 days ago

Despite COVID-19, Spanish rental prices rise sharply in April

MADRID, May 18 (Reuters) - Spanish rental prices shot up by 10.9% year-on-year in April, one of the largest property portals, Fotocasa, said on Monday as the country slowly reopens after flattening the curve on one of Europe’s severest coronavirus outbreaks.

The highest rises were in Navarra region at 25%, Andalucia at 12.9% and Valencia at 12.2%, with the capital Madrid seeing only a 4% increase and the Catalonia region, including Barcelona, 6%.

“The current situation with coronavirus isn’t making landlords lower their prices,” said Fotocasa communications director Anais Lopez. “It’s possible the direct consequence of coronavirus on rent will lag a few months.”

Monday’s data was the highest of five consecutive increases in Spanish rent since December 2019, despite the country being hit by one of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with 231,350 confirmed cases and 27,650 deaths so far.

Efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 - including a nationwide lockdown, now in its eleventh week - provoked an economic paralysis which pushed the number of people on benefits to a record 5.2 million.

April joblessness data showed Spain had a monthly average of 548,000 fewer jobs in April than the previous year.

The medieval city of Santiago de Compostela topped the list of municipalities showing the sharpest rent increases, registering an interannual growth of 14.1%. (Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; additional reporting by Belen Carreno, Graham Keeley, Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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