The Spanish National Statistics Institute reported on Tuesday that the sale of homes in Spain increased by 2.2% in 2014, compared with the previous year, reaching a total of 319,389 transactions, and thus returned to positive figures after registering three years of declines.

The second hand homes market has been the driving force behind this year-on-year growth, the first registered since 2010, when home sales recorded an increase of just over 6%. That year was a slight reprieve for the real estate market, which has been very badly affected by the economic recession.

During the crisis period, the worst years for housing transactions were 2009 and 2008, when the volume of these operations plummeted by -25.1% and -28.8%, respectively. In 2012 and 2011, home sales transactions still recorded double-digit declines, of -11.5% and -18.1%, respectively, while in 2013 the drop in transactions moderated to -1.9% as a result of the abolishment of the tax benefits for the purchase of housing.

After three years of registering declines, Europa Press reported that the home sales transaction figures are now returning to positive ground in a context of strong price adjustments. In fact, since their maximum values reached in 2007, the price of housing in Spain has fallen by over 40%.

The upturn in home sales in 2014 was due to the increase in the number of transactions for second hand apartments, which rose by 18.4%, reaching some 199,943 transactions. In contrast, the number of transactions on new homes fell by 16.9% last year, to a total of 119,446.

In the past year, 89.7% of the home sales transactions were for private housing and 10.3% for social housing. Private housing sales rose by 3.2% in 2014, while social housing transactions fell by 6.2%.

In 2014, the largest number of property purchases per 100,000 inhabitants were registered in Valencia (1,182), the Balearic Islands (1,043) and the Canary Islands (1,015).

Andalucía was the region which carried out most housing transactions last year, with a total of 64,349, followed by Catalonia (47,113), Valencia (46,678) and Madrid (44,231), while the regions which registered the lowest figures for housing transactions were La Rioja (2,263), Cantabria (3,917) and Navarra (4,403).

In relative values, housing purchases increased in eleven regions in 2014 and fell in six. The greatest increases were registered in the Balearic Islands (+18.5%) and Navarra (+13.9%), while the largest decreases corresponded to La Rioja (-25.1%) and Castilla-La Mancha (-12.6%).

In December 2014, home purchases registered an increase of 15.7% compared with December 2013, to 25,998 transactions, extending the year-on-year increase of 14% registered in November, and accumulating four consecutive months of annual increases.

Month-on-month (December 2014 over November), home sales rose by 3.2%, their greatest increase in this month of the last five years.