2015 has been the year in which the housing recovery has taken hold. A clear example of this are the latest data from the General Council of Notaries, recently published, on housing transactions. Thus, the number of sales grew by 8.6% in 2015 year on year reaching 401,236 units and stringing two consecutive years of increases this figure after climbing 19% in 2014. These figures add that confirm the regrowth promoter activity and stabilization of prices in specific areas.
Looking ahead to this year, Solvia forecasts indicate that the growth trend in the property sector for various reasons will be maintained. Among them, the Spanish real estate remains attractive for investment compared to the scenario of global uncertainty that occurs in other asset markets and segments. In addition, since 2015 foreign investment, which had previously focused its focus on commercial assets, it is moving towards investment in residential real estate assets. Also the biggest confidence about the economic scenario that has the retail customer reinforces good behavior of the demand for housing.
In this regard, we estimate that the number of sales transactions of housing in Spain will climb to around 450,000 units in 2016. The market improvement will allow the promotion and development of new homes continue to record in 2016 double-digit growth as was I found the last year. Based on our data, we estimate that new work visas will exceed 70,000 units in the current year and approaching the 100,000 homes, which is the potential of new housing production that Spanish should have the long-term market figure.
Regarding the evolution of housing prices, the trend shows a stabilization in major markets and in certain assets. We anticipate that housing prices will rise slightly in 2016 with a rise of 3.3% and in any case, we estimate that will produce a more aggressive rebound. However, this growth figure will be uneven. As always, Solvia data show that there is no single real estate market so that their behavior must always be analyzed from a local point of view.
The dynamic behavior of prices continue to occur in areas of higher incomes, better labor market performance and where there is no relevant stock, especially quality product (Madrid, Barcelona, Baleares, coast of Alicante, Seville and Costa del Sol). By contrast, real estate servicers should devote more effort to the valorization of the assets that are in still sluggish markets such as the coast of Castellón and Toledo or high stock as the province of Almeria. These areas are based on a complex situation but, gradually, will be added to the housing recovery.