March 10, 2020 / 3:31 PM / 22 days ago

Spanish house prices grow at slowest rate since 2015

MADRID, March 10 (Reuters) - House prices across Spain grew 3.6% last year, their slowest pace since 2015 when the country began to emerge from a deep economic crisis largely brought on by the burst of its housing bubble, official data showed on Tuesday.

The National Statistics Institute’s House Price Index (IPV) also showed that house prices in the fourth quarter of 2019 dropped by 0.6% on average compared to the third quarter.

The property market’s slowdown is evidence of a wider macroeconomic trend in which fewer Spaniards are able to become homeowners because their incomes do not meet asking prices - especially in big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, where house prices skyrocketed in the past five years.

Along with the Basque country, the region of Madrid led the quarterly fall in housing prices, each registering decreases of 1.9% and 1.7% respectively.

Private entities in the sector have highlighted faltering house prices for several months now, particularly online real estate portals like Idealista and Fotocasa.

Ismael Kardoudi, director of studies at Fotocasa, said its data from the end of 2019 showed Spain’s first fall in house prices - minus 1.3% compared to a year earlier - after three years of uninterrupted growth. (Writing and reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette, editing by Andrei Khalip and Ed Osmond)

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