Housing starts: a comparison of spain and the UK

Spain has a population of 43.5 million people, compared to 60 million in the UK, so the UK’s population is 38% bigger. Spanish GDP per capita in 2005 (PPP) was $26,840, compared to $32,548 in the UK, so British GDP per capita is 21% higher than Spain’s. However, for the last 5 years, Spain has been building more than 3 times as many properties per year as the UK, despite having a smaller population, a smaller economy, one of the highest levels of properties per capita in the EU, and the highest ratio of empty properties in the EU. It makes one wonder why Spain is building so many new properties. Having said that it should also be pointed out that not enough properties are being built in the UK to satisfy demand.

spanish housing starts

Housing starts in figures: Spain vs UK

YEAR SPAIN UK
1990 299,488 167,244
1991 274,136 172,786
1992 280,643 170,639
1993 252,787 195,237
1994 315,690 205,442
1995 347,727 174,828
1996 322,073 194,390
1997 399,007 198,089
1998 460,527 187,467
1999 563,682 191,956
2000 585,933 185,797
2001 547,883 195,519
2002 617,126 195,569
2003 681,178 212,332
2004 761,790 225,783
2005 812,294 235,360
2006 920,199

UK source: Department for Communities and Local Government
Spain source: Consejo superior de los colegios de arquitectos de España

About Mark Stücklin

Mark Stücklin is a Barcelona-based Spanish property market analyst, and author of the 'Spanish Property Doctor' column in the Sunday Times (2005 - 2008).

Leave a Reply