Spain's house sales, mortgages grow 7% year-on-year in August

MADRID, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The number of houses sold in Spain in August grew 6.8% year-on-year and new mortgages rose 6.5%, data from the College of Notaries showed on Thursday, pointing to a flurry of deals resuming after the coronavirus pandemic paralysed the market.

Transactions had dropped dramatically since Spain entered its nationwide lockdown in March, which ended in June, and the new data suggest Spaniards are now more inclined to change homes.

Signs of the economically troubled times were evident however in a 7.3% drop in the average house price, a trend borne out in the monthly data collected by Spain’s three largest property portals.

A combination of lower prices, reduced buyer solvency, and heightened risk aversion from lenders also caused the average mortgage value to drop some 3.4% from August 2019.

Spain has been one of the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, with 835,901 cases and 32,562 deaths to date. It lost 18% of its GDP in the second quarter, and early indicators anticipate a weak recovery in the third quarter. (Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Jan Harvey)