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Jan 29 (Reuters) – Sales of European property loans will rise by about 15 percent to 25 billion euros ($34 billion) this year as Spain and Ireland speed the sale of unwanted and bad loans, confronting the extent of the real estate crash as they clear their books.

Both countries suffered the worst of Europe’s property collapse, with prices falling more than 50 percent in some areas from the previous peak in 2007. Both have national ‘bad banks‘ to purge lenders of their risky loans and after a slow start, during which better-performing assets were offloaded, both countries must now tackle the worst.

Sales will also pick up because of tighter rules governing how much capital lenders have to hold against risky assets like property and as banks‘ sales operations set up several years ago get quicker, a report from real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield said.

“There will be a big ramp up over the next two years”, said Michael Lindsay, head of EMEA corporate finance at Cushman & Wakefield. “There’s a possibility we will see the beginnings of a buyers’ market.”