The Solvia real-estate company is forecasting an average rise of up to four per cent in house prices this year and a five per cent increase in sales. Solvia's Market View report also suggests that the cost to rent has reached its ceiling in various parts of the country and that around 30% of people's salaries is spent on mortgages or rent.

There was a one per cent increase in sales during the first quarter - around 137,000 in all - with the greatest concentrations of sales having been in Madrid and Barcelona. There was an average increase in price of two per cent in the Balearics, Madrid and Barcelona, with values above 2,000 euros per square metre.

The cost to rent went up on average by one per cent. This followed four years of price rises that were in double figures. The highest rental prices were in Barcelona (15 euros per square metre) and Palma and Madrid (14 euros).