Spanish building sector moribund with planning approvals down 26pc in Q2

The pipeline for new residential building projects is still drying up at an alarming rate.

I read in the Spanish press that planning approvals had risen by 17pc in Q2 and couldn’t believe my eyes. Closer inspection, however, revealed that they were just comparing the second quarter of this year with the first, and had thrown in planning approvals for council housing for good measure. Strip out council housing and compare this year with last, and it’s a different story.

Look at it that way and you find that planning approvals in Q2 were down a hefty 26pc compared to the same period last year, which is nothing to be pleased about. The only good news, if you could call it that, is that it’s a bit better than last year, when planning approvals fell 33pc in Q2.

Even social housing was down on an annualised basis – by 9pc – though compared to Q1 this year it was up 35pc. That, however, is only because social housing slumped big in Q1. Why I do not know.

All in all it’s a depressing picture (for the industry) with total planning approvals down a cumulative 27pc to 44,826 this year. Take out social housing, and approvals are down 29pc to just 29,078.

It looks like there will be less than 100,000 residential planning approvals this year, down from close to 900,000 a few years ago. Moribund is the only way to describe the present state of the Spanish home-building industry, especially on the coast.



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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