The results of the latest decennial census (2002-2011) from the National Institute of Statistics confirm that Spain has a problem with empty housing, especially too many unsold new homes.
The housing figures from Spain’s latest decennial census are out. Spain now has 25.2 million dwellings, after a building boom that added 1.5 new buildings and 4.2 million homes (+20pc) between 2002 and 2011 (15pc of them in 2005-2006).
In the same period the number of households increased by 3.9 million (+28pc) to 18 million, with the biggest increases in the Canaries, the Balearics, and Murcia.
72pc of Spain’s housing stock is now occupied as primary housing (18 million homes), 15pc (3.7 million) are second homes, and 14pc (3.4 million) stand empty, reveals an analysis of the figures.
3.4 million empty homes is a problem for Spain, given the current depressed state of the housing market and the economy.
If you look just at the 4.2 million new homes added to the housing stock over the decade, 19pc of them are empty, 14pc of them are second homes, and 68pc of them are occupied as main homes. So a third of all the new homes that were built over the decade are either empty or occupied just part of the time.
Some regions like Andalucia, the Valencian Community and Murcia added more homes than households, leading to an increase in the number of homes per capita. The reverse was true in regions like Catalonia, Madrid, the Canaries and the Balearics.
The housing stock increased the most in Murcia (+31pc), thanks to the resort building boom that also needed housing for construction workers.
The region with the largest proportion of second homes relative to its housing stock was Castile and Leon (25pc), followed by Cantabria in the north (21pc) and the Valencian Community (21pc), home to the Costa Blanca.
The region with the greatest empty housing problem was Galicia (19pc), followed by La Rioja (18pc) and Murcia (17pc).
The following map shows the empty housing problem distributed around Spain (the darker the colour, the higher the percentage of empty homes)
The empty housing problem increased the most in Murcia (61pc more empty homes) and improved the most in the Balearics (-30pc) over the decade.
Torre-Pacheco, empty home hot-spot
An analysis of the census figures by the Spanish daily El Mundo reveals that the Polaris World base of Torre-Pacheco, in Murcia, is Spain’s municipal capital of empty homes.
The percentage of empty homes in the municipality of Torre-Pacheco is 36pc, well above the national average of 14pc. That means that more than 1 in 3 homes in Torre-Pacheco, or 7,300 out of 20,400, are empty.
The Mayor of Torre-Pacheco, Daniel Garcia, denies this arguing that, based on an analysis of water bills, the real rate is just 17pc. But local agents interviewed by the Spanish daily El Mundo say the official figures are closer to the truth, thanks to thousands of empty homes on Polaris World resorts like Terrazas de la Torre. (Incidentally, El Mundo also report that at Terrazas de la Torre, the price of a 75m2 flat has fallen from 120,000€ to 40,000€, and from 150,000€ to 60,000€ on other resorts.)