Official figures to the end of 2014 show that residential property sales in Spain rose 2.2% last year, indicating that the country’s property slump may have turned a corner, posting the first rise in sales in eight years.

The December figure of 25,998 transactions is 15.7% up on the year before. Some 72.2% of transactions related to second-hand property, with new-build sales down one-third on December 2013. Overall in 2014, new-build house sales were down 16.9% on the previous year.

The figures showed huge regional variation, with activity in Madrid falling 27% and a rise of over 50% in The Basque Country and Extremadura. In terms of the most popular areas traditionally favoured by overseas buyers, figures were lower in Murcia (down 6.6% in the year) but up in The Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.