Planning approvals in Alicante Province, home to the Costa Blanca, fell 74% in 2008, according to the local College of Technical Architects. After a decade of covering the coast in concrete, building activity fell more in Alicante than anywhere else in Spain, where the average fall was 60%.
There was a total of 8,103 planning approvals last year, down from 31,655 in 2007, 48,133 in 2006, and 52,737 in 2004. Planning approvals were down 85% last year if compared to 2004.
Taking the last quarter of the year, there were just 960 planning approvals, compared to a quarterly average of 13,000 in 2004.
The collapse in building activity is even bigger than suggested by the fall in planning approvals. Of the 1,500 new developments started last year, 700 have been stopped, according to Antonio Morata, president of the College.
“Nobody knows how long this will last,” Morata told the Spanish press. “So far the only thing we know for sure is that this fall is without precedent, and although activity started to decline in 2004, nobody expected this collapse.”
According the Morata, the only building activity still going is people building their own homes.
There are an estimated 40,000 new homes on the market in Alicante Province, which helps explain why developers have stopped building more.