A glut of empty homes alongside unaffordable housing: Spain’s peculiar problem

13pc of Spain’s housing stock lies empty, whilst around half of all young adults can’t afford to fly the nest.

3.4 million Spanish homes lie empty – or 13pc of the total housing stock – according to a new report from IDC. There are 676,000 empty homes in Barcelona and Madrid alone. Of the two, Barcelona has the biggest problem.

This is a “worrying situation with very negative consequences, principally a huge cost,” explains Carlos Parra, Director of IDC, quoted in the Spanish press. The empty homes are neither for sale nor for rent.

At the same time, tens of thousands of homes are being repossessed, and millions of young adults can’t afford their own home.



5 thoughts on “A glut of empty homes alongside unaffordable housing: Spain’s peculiar problem”

  1. Buster

    The empty homes are partly due to the Spanish & also the English government’s (50%!) burden of tax on lettings, meaning that letting a Spanish property is a net loss on investment. Confiscatory Governments are always the problem hindering ordinary people from getting on with their lives & allowing the market to adjust to the needs of society.
    When enough people have lost their homes & businesses the rules will be relaxed allowing big business powers that be (that lobby governements) to take the spoils.

  2. Fela Hughes

    Opposite where I live in central Barcelona is a beautifully restored modernista apartment block which has lain empty for at least the three years I’ve been there. I’ve often wondered why. Perhaps it belongs to some developer who has now gone bankrupt or maybe someone with deep enough pockets to support their delusion that prices will recover soon and they’ll get their clearly considerable investment back. Either way a shame and a symbol of the basic structural problem of the Spanish property market- a lack of property liquidity. Sellers, both private and the banks, need to cut prices dramatically if they ever expect to sell something to anyone, let alone young adults.

  3. Liz Hagerty

    Spanish banks won’t give mortgage to people working in construction. Guess where major nu mber of people have been working to build 2m homes! Catch 22 created by SPanish gov and banks

  4. Profile photo of Mark

    A subsequent news report reveals that it costs €2,000/year on average to own an empty property in Spain. If correct, it means that a total of €6.8 billion is being spent on empty property in Spain. What a dreadful waste of money that could be spent on more productive things that Spain desperately needs.

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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.