Mortgage foreclosures, one of the most dramatic consequences of Spain’s economic crisis, rose 7.4 percent in 2014, according to figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE) on Thursday.
A total of 34,680 first residences were taken back from non-paying borrowers despite the end of the recession, timid job creation and a moratorium on evictions introduced by the government. For second homes, the rate rose 8.8 percent from 2013.
The upward trend can be explained by the problems households have accumulated after seven years of job destruction and unemployment. The incipient economy recovery will still take time to bring down these rates in a country with one of the highest home ownership rates in Europe – upwards of 80 percent – and 26-percent unemployment.
Out of all the home foreclosures that took place last year, 20.2 percent represented mortgages taken out in 2007, right before the beginning of the crisis; 17.3 percent were for 2006 home loans, and 12.1 percent for 2005 mortgages.
The 2005-2008 period, which marks the height of the real estate bubble in Spain, represents 61.6 percent of all foreclosures initiated in 2014.
The INE noted that not all foreclosures end in evictions. Home evictions averaged 184 a day in Spain in 2013.
20 families evicted in Madrid
On Wednesday, National Police officers evicted around 20 families who were squatting inside an empty building in Madrid city center. The 46 people, including 13 children, had been directed into the property by the Mortgage Victims Platform (PAH) anti-eviction group.
The association released a statement saying that two of the evicted people are seriously ill and another one is an elderly woman aged over 70.
The building on Toledo street was occupied by PAH activists on May 11, 2014 as part of a campaign that found temporary accommodation for over 2,500 people, according to PAH’s own figures.
A representative for PAH said the building’s owner, construction company Promociones Calvin SL, refused to sit down to talk with the squatters to do what was “fair: to use empty apartments for people without homes.”
The company declined to comment.