Spain’s residential construction sector shrivels up

The latest figures confirm that Spain’s residential construction sector is a shadow of its former self, yet still manages to keep getting smaller.

Planning approvals for new housing have collapsed from around 60,000 a month between 2004 and 2007 (with a peak in 2006 of more than 120,000/month) to just over 7,000 this July, as illustrated by the chart above.

The figures from the Government (Fomento), reveal that planning approvals in the year to July (50,209) were 13pc down on last year, and 11% down in July alone. Remarkably, the sector is still shrinking.

Planning approvals have been flatlining around or below 10,000/month since the start of 2009. After 2 years of such low levels of activity, the residential construction sector has shriveled up. Professionals in the sector like architects have been hit hard.

When the time comes for Spain to build more new homes, which it will one day, it may be a problem finding the skills and resources to do so.

Right now, however, the pressing problem is how to deal with the glut of 700,000 new homes, many of them built on the coast with holiday-home buyers in mind. Can you help?



One thought on “Spain’s residential construction sector shrivels up”

  1. David Painter

    Your article ref 700000 unsold new built properties.
    With the problem of illegal developments, I suspect
    a large majority of these properties will only become illegal once they
    are off the Spanish Banks books. Having been sold to
    an unsuspecting non resident bought in good faith
    with all the advise and guidance from the professionals.
    Sorry to sound so synical but my experience over the
    last 4 years with Town Halls,Lawyers and Notaries
    would put the most robust purchaser off.
    PULL THEM ALL DOWN problem solved

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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