EVICTION CRISIS

Home repossessions up 10% in 2013

Spanish lenders took back nearly 50,000 properties last year Figures released by Bank of Spain suggest more borrowers are handing back keys in payment

Anti-eviction activists occupying a residential building in Barcelona.
Anti-eviction activists occupying a residential building in Barcelona.Albert García

Spanish lenders repossessed 49,694 homes from defaulting borrowers in 2013, a 10% rise from a year earlier, figures released on Monday by the Bank of Spain show.

Of these, 38,961 were first residences, according to statistics provided by the banks.

The vast majority of properties were empty at the time of repossession.

Meanwhile, the proportion of cases involving dation in payment, in which borrowers in arrears hand over the keys of the property to the lender that approved the mortgage to cancel debt obligations, reached 32.5% of all repossessed homes.

38,961 of the properties were primary residences, according to statistics provided by the banks

This represents a rise from 2012, reflecting the introduction of new legislation to make this option easier. Borrowers have mostly opted for key return in the case of holiday homes, not primary residences.

The number of forced evictions was 147, less than half that registered in 2012. For primary residences, the figure was significantly lower, 93 in 2013 compared with 267 in 2012.

The Bank of Spain also noted that 70% of foreclosed mortgages were signed in 2007 or earlier, before the real estate bubble burst and the country’s economy took a nosedive.