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Nearly 40,000 homes seized in Spain in 2012


Madrid, May 10 (EFE).- Banks seized a total of 39,167 homes in Spain in 2012 as a result of foreclosure proceedings, according to a central bank survey of lenders published Friday.

The Banco de España study showed that in 83 percent of the cases the homes were primary dwellings.

The survey also revealed that more than half of the homes were turned over voluntarily by families. Of them, roughly 75 percent were handed over under the so-called "dacion en pago" procedure, whereby the lender fully discharges the borrower of the debt.

Banks seized the homes by court order in the other cases, with police intervention required on some occasions.

Evictions have sparked a grassroots movement in Spain in support of victims, and initiatives such as the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages are aimed at preventing home seizures via direct citizen action.

The central bank also said that as of Dec. 31, 2012, the number of outstanding mortgages came in at 6.77 million, meaning that the seized homes represented 0.58 percent of that total.

The survey also showed that 85 percent of mortgage agreements that resulted in court-ordered evictions were signed in 2007 or earlier, meaning prior to the collapse of a long-building real-estate bubble.

This marks the first time Banco de España has published data on seized homes, which was gathered via surveys of banks that manage more than 85 percent of Spanish mortgages.