The construction boom that has made Spain one of the fastest growing economies in Europe is over.
Spanish house prices have risen by more than 200 per cent in the last ten years, encouraging many overseas investors to purchase property in the country with the promise of short-term financial rewards.
But in the clearest sign yet that the boom is over, the seven biggest developers in the country reported last week that the number of sales in the first quarter of 2008 had plunged by almost 75 per cent compared with last year. The combined value of their sales had plummeted from €1.3 billion to less than €300 million.
The problem isn't just with new houses. There are an estimated two million unsold properties and estate agents are closing their offices across the country.