Brick makers of Bailen feel the pain

The downturn in the property market is having a brutal impact on Spain’s brick makers, according to a recent article in the Spanish daily ‘El Pais’.

Much of the pain is being felt in around the town of Bailen, in Jaen, Andalucia, where 18% of Spain’s bricks and tiles are made. Brick makers are being forced to lay off staff or close.

“We didn’t expect the crisis to be so deep,” José Alcalá, President of the Ceramics Association of Bailen told El Pais. “We were expecting sales to fall 30% but we are already more than 70% down, and the worst of it is that our forecasts for the short term are far from encouraging.”

Unemployment in the municipality has doubled in the last 3 years to 22%, higher than the Andalucian average by 4%, and almost double the national average.

“We are living through the worst times in our history,” says Bailen’s Mayor Bartolomé Serrano. “Our economic dependency on just one sector was a big mistake. Nothing will be the same again because there will never be another construction boom like the one in recent years, and only the most competitive companies and those that have modernised their plants will survive.”

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About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based property market analyst and consultant, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com.