HOME mortgages granted in Spain last year fell to their lowest level since 2017 according to the National Institute of Statistics(INE).

The INE said that 333,721 home loans were approved in 2020.

It added that the fall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will not be the start of a new long-term trend.

“We expect to see a progressive recovery in mortgage numbers with the return to normality after pandemic restrictions are ended,” the INE observed.

Their review of 2020 said that the average amount of a home mortgage went up by 7.4% to €134,904 but the total figure loaned out last year dropped by 0.8%.

Unsurprisingly the biggest monthly fall last year was in May, when the impact of the first State of Alarm was most keenly felt by the real estate sector.

The INE said that new mortgages handed out that month fell by 27.6% compared to May 2020.

One key factor was that notaries and public officials were unable to deal with people on a face-to-face basis.

The busiest region for mortgages in 2020 was Andalucia with 63,519 granted last year, followed by the Madrid area on 60,494.

The biggest annual rise was seen in Aragon, up by 6.4% with Navarra recording the largest fall at 15.6%.

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