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Costas suffer bigger property price drop than other parts of Spain

Sales in the region have fallen by around half, new housing starts are down by 80%, and prices are falling according to the figures from

In Barcelona city, prices are down 8.6% over 12 months, pushing resale prices back to where they were in 2005. Prices are falling more in Barcelona than in Madrid, Valencia or Seville.

Coastal resorts around Barcelona which have been popular with second home buyers are also seeing a steep decline. Asking prices have fallen by 15% in Malgrat and Pineda y Premià de Mar, 13.3% on the Costa Brava, and 13.5% on the Costa Dorada.

However interest from British property investors is expected to continue in 2009 as official figures show that many are still interested in emigrating to the country as well as buying holiday homes in Spain.

The number of people seeking a new life in Spain has surged by 12% according to the figures from the Spanish government and Brits are now the country's fourth-largest immigrant community.

British expatriates registered as resident in Spain rose to 352,000 at the start of 2008. That gave Spain a bigger British population than all but eight local authorities in England, according to the most recent census figures.

Although the new figures were gathered before the tumbling value of the pound began creating problems for those living off British pensions in Spain, few people expect numbers to start falling.

This could be good news for property developers who are struggling to sell properties. 'If people are looking for a bargain then now is a good time to buy in Spain,' said one.