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Spain Seeks Mortgage Foreclosure Law Change ‘Soon as Possible’

Spain’s ruling People’s Party is seeking to change foreclosure rules as the number of Spaniards losing their homes surges along with unemployment and the government faces mounting protest against austerity measures and using taxpayer money to bail out banks.

“It’s not a reform we want to put off, rather one that we want to approve as soon as possible,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said today during a press conference after a weekly cabinet meeting. The government is talking to the opposition Socialist Party to examine proposals and reach an agreement on changes, she said, without providing details.

Around 400,000 homes have been foreclosed on in Spain since the nation’s decade-long real estate boom ended in 2008, according to AFES, an adviser to homeowners facing repossession. That number is set to jump as unemployment, already the highest in Europe, continues to grow and tax hikes, rising energy and food costs chip away at families’ disposable income, leading more to miss home-loan payments.

The housing boom left Spanish banks with about 287 billion euros in real-estate related loans in the second quarter of this year, according to the Bank of Spain. Spanish lenders have about 600 billion euros of unpaid home loans on their books, Bank of Spain data shows.

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