Spain unemployment off 29April2014 2
People line up to enter a government-run employment office in Madrid, April 29, 2014. Reuters

Spanish house prices fell 1.6 percent in the first quarter, the slowest rate in more than three years for the market crushed during the financial and European debt crises that wracked the country for the past several years.

The data showed a solid recovery from a 7.8 percent annual rate drop in the fourth quarter and are an encouraging sign for the nation’s battered economy.

Spain’s home prices have fallen 36 percent since the beginning of the housing collapse six years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The newspaper also reported that the first quarter move reinforces the idea behind Spanish investments by Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) George Soros’ Quantum Fund.

After half a decade of economic crisis, Spain is finally seeing signs of recovery. GDP is expected to grow above 1 percent this year, exports are at their highest in years and economists are predicting the beginning of the end of the crisis.

“Unemployment is still Spain’s biggest issue to tackle,” Miguel Cardoso, chief economist at BBVA Research, a unit of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BME:BBVA), said last month. “It is our largest barrier towards actual economic recovery.”

At the peak of the crisis, unemployment reached 27.2 percent in 2013. Right now, it’s at 26 percent. Things are even worse for young people: In 2013, 56 percent of Spaniards age 15 to 30 were out work.