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Confusion in Spain as real estate stats indicate lower price falls

There is a degree of stabilisation, with the index remaining the same as the previous month, said appraisal company Tinsa. But the headline figures hid the fact that in some markets prices are still falling considerably.
A closer examination of the Tinsa figures, which are based on valuations not sales, shows a different story for real estate on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands. Having improved for four consecutive months since September last year, prices on the coast decreased by 8.2% over the 12 months to the end of February, and by 8.9% in the Canaries and the Balearics.
So since the peak of the market in December 2007 prices are down 15.7% nationally, 22% on the Mediterranean coast, and 16.8% in the Canaries and the Balearics, based on Tinsa figures.
But the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics, which are based on actual sales figures supplied by lawyers, show that property prices fell by an average of 4.3% last year and by just 10% since the peak, seemingly backing up the trends identified by Tinsa.
They also show that resale property prices fell 3.5% last year and actually rose by 0.1% on a quarterly basis in the last three months of the year.
The Spanish government claims there are signs of recovery. The latest figures from the Ministry of Housing shows there was a small rise in property sales in the fourth quarter of 2009.
‘The transactions in the fourth quarter represent a rise of 4.1% with respect to the same period last year, this being the first year-on-year rise since the fourth quarter of 2006,’ it said in a statement.
But like the Tinsa figures, when the data is put into a wider context the picture is not quite as rosy. The government figures show that there were 413,112 transactions last year, a fall of 19% compared to the previous year, and 46% down on 2007. Even the fourth quarter sales were down 33% compared to the same period two years ago.
And some areas are performing better than others with Madrid and Barcelona seeing sales rise faster than more rural areas. In the fourth quarter of 2009 Madrid saw transactions go up by 41% and Barcelona by 35%.