More than 87,000 families are squatting in homes in Spain, which adds up to around 270,000 people, according to a new study by the Instituto Cerdà.
“The evolution of illegal occupation can be explained by the increase in poverty, the scarcity of social housing, and the existence of a stock of empty homes.” explains the report.
The report concedes that a percentage of squatters are not needy, and take advantage of the situation, without quantifying the number.
They estimate that squatters reduce the price of a property by between 40% and 60%, and most squatters do not cause problems in the neighbourhood, though some 10% to 25% do.
Between 40% to 60% of squatters hook up to utilities like electricity and water illegally, and the majority of them are living old or unfinished buildings lacking habitation certificates.
The situation in Barcelona illustrates how squatters concentrate in poor districts. Some 35% of empty homes in the downmarket Nou Barris district are occupied by squatters, whilst in the upmarket Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district, the figure is between 0% and 1%.
I’ve heard from quite a few people living in coastal areas popular with foreign buyers who have squatters as neighbours, so it’s not confined to the big cities.