Spanish lenders repossessed 49,694 homes from defaulting borrowers in 2013, a 10% rise from a year earlier, figures released on May 19th 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.
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.