87,000 families squatting in Spain

Logo of the Spanish Okupa (Squatters) movement

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.

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). He can be reached by email on ms@spanishpropertyinsight.com. All articles published in good faith as a general guide but no substitute for professional advice. Please read the SPI disclaimer

3 thoughts on “87,000 families squatting in Spain”

  1. swinb

    We have squatters on our urbanisation on the Costa Brava in a bank repos house and it seems that the police are powerless to remove them even though they have connected themselves to the utilities illegally. Does anyone know how the law stands on this nuisance?

    1. aceandking

      I’m sure they can be a ‘nuisance’, but not half as much of a nuisance as being homeless because of your failing national economy. Especially if you have young children, which many have.

  2. aceandking

    I’m sure they can be a ‘nuisance’, but not half as much of a nuisance as being homeless because of your failing national economy. Especially if you have young children, which many have.

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