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Financials

Spanish house prices up in 2020, property portal says

MADRID, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Spanish house prices grew 1.6% in 2020 after falling in the previous year, online property portal Fotocasa said on Tuesday, in a sign that demand for real estate remains high despite the coronavirus pandemic.

House prices rose at the end of last year after 11 months of consecutive declines, a spokeswoman for Fotocasa said, as homeowners resisted lowering their expectations in the hope the coronavirus-induced crisis would pass.

Interest in buying a new home surged in Spain across the spring and summer months, converting into increased rates of new mortages as stay-at-home orders galvanised people into searching for bigger, brighter and more self-sufficient places to live.

“This high interest in buying homes means that, for now, prices for non new-build properties aren’t falling,” the spokeswoman said.

Some 43% of respondents to a company survey said they wanted to buy a home in October compared with 39% in February, she added.

House prices in the westerly region of Extremadura registered the sharpest annual increase, swelling 6.3%, followed by the wealthy regions of the Basque Country and Catalonia, where prices grew by 3.3% and 2.7%, respectively.

Regions such as Navarre and Asturias also figured in the top five real estate gainers of 2020, as buyers factored in local handling of the pandemic alongside newfound priorities including sparse population and abundant natural spaces. (Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Nathan Allen and Paul Simao)

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