By Humphrey Carter

PALMA

THE Balearic property market bucked the trend last year and showed positive signs of growth with the latest figures from the National Statistics Institute reporting that 9'698 homes were sold in the region in 2010, 18.4 percent more than during the previous year.

The figures show that the property market, hard hit by the recession, has turned the corner and is certainly moving again.
After two years of a decline in business with a drop off in sales of 33.8 percent and 39.6 percent in 2008 and 2009 respectively, the market significantly improved last year and, according to real estate experts, the growth trend is expected to maintain momentum this year with many of Spain's neighbouring countries pulling out of recession.

Compared to the boom year of 2007, however, last year's sales figures still fell short of the 20'498 properties sold three years ago.
And, it was not only in the Balearics where the property market experienced an upturn in business, it appears that the nation's real estate business has bottomed out and is now recovering.

Spanish home sales climbed 6.8 percent last year after two years of sharp declines caused by the collapse of the country's property market, the official data showed yesterday, in a boost for Spain's battered economy.

There were 441'386 transactions during the year, well below the peak of 775'300 in 2007, the INE said.
Homes sales plummeted 25.1 percent in 2009 and 28.8 percent in 2008, when the bursting of the property bubble helped plunge the Spanish economy into its worst recession in decades and sent the unemployment rate soaring to more than 20 percent.

The country emerged with tepid growth of just 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and 0.2 percent in the second but then stalled with zero growth in the third. The Bank of Spain last week estimated that the economy shrank by 0.1 percent in 2010.

The latest data on property sales will come as welcome news for the government, which is fighting to convince nervous investors that it will grow enough to bring its massive public deficit under control without resorting to a Greek or Irish style bailout.