Spanish Home Sales Slump Most in Six Months Amid Recession

Spanish home sales declined the most in six months in February as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy relapsed into a recession and banks reduced lending.

The number of transactions fell 31.8 percent from a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said in an e-mailed statement today. That was the most since August, and compares with a decline of 26.3 percent in January.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, in power since December, is struggling to turn around a slump in the real estate industry as banks squeeze lending at a record pace and unemployment exceeds 23 percent. The government has brought back tax breaks for home buyers and is forcing banks to recognize deeper losses on 175 billion euros ($229 billion) of real estate assets in an attempt to accelerate sales and push down home prices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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