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Spain July house sales hit highest level in 13 years

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FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a sign that reads "Properties and parking available" on the wall of an apartment complex in Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain registered its highest number of house sales in over 13 years in July, data published on Wednesday showed, as pent-up pandemic demand, increased household savings and new living priorities spurred a buying spree.

Around 50,200 homes were sold in July, 53% more than in the same month in 2020, according to the figures from the National Statistics Institute.

The July sale figures were 4% above pre-pandemic levels and approached the frenzied pace recorded during Spain's ill-fated real estate boom in 2008, when the month of April alone saw some 55,000 houses sold.

"If you compare with the same month in 2019, the evolution is positive ... which confirms that we've not only surpassed pre-pandemic numbers but also re-entered the big upwards trend in house sales initiated in 2018," Maria Matos, a spokesperson for online property portal Fotocasa, said in a statement.

The sale of newly built homes rose 40% compared with July 2020, buoyed by enthusiasm for pools, terraces, gardens and other outdoor areas as remote working let more people move out to bigger properties in the suburbs, where most new developments are, Matos added.

In a bleaker sign of coronavirus impact, the rate of homes passed on through inheritance procedures continued to grow. The latest figures were up 20% year-on-year, representing one in five of all houses on sale, mirroring the surge in mortality amid the pandemic.

(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; editing by Inti Landauro and Andrew Heavens)

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