May 11, 2013
The central bank reported on Friday that a total of 39,167 homes were seized last year after homeowners were not able to make payments.
The number of evictions was based on a survey of lenders which approve over 85 percent of mortgages in Spain.
The large majority of evictions, 32,490 were considered primary residences, with the remaining either secondary dwellings used as holiday properties or rentals.
In over 14,000 cases regarding primary residences, lenders had to go to court to gain control of the home.
The massive number of evictions sparked protests, including people blocking entrances to homes in order to prevent police from removing the homeowners by force.
After a series of suicides by people who were in the process of being evicted, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government implemented measures to aid struggling families to avoid eviction.
However, it has refused to change mortgage laws to allow defaulters’ debts to be erased if they voluntarily give up their homes.
Under Spanish law, most homeowners must continue to pay off their mortgage debt even after the banks have seized their property.
Spain is struggling with a double-dip recession caused by the property collapse in 2008, which has caused the unemployment rate to rise to record 27 percent.
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