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Spanish Property News

Report on the Spanish property market - The UN - Posted: 13/03/2008

A report from the UN on the Spanish housing market was the subject of several articles in the Spanish press during February.

The report identifies housing affordability, rising mortgage delinquency rates, and a lack of social housing and rental accommodation as serious and growing problems for Spain (virtually all housing in Spain is privately owned, with only 2 per cent of dwellings classified as public social housing compared to 10 to 30 per cent in other countries of the European Union). The report reserves its strongest criticism, however, for the housing distortions created by speculation.

“Speculation in housing has been a major source of extreme profits from which only some large developers have benefited,” says the report. “As a result of the priority given to an unregulated homeownership model, Spain possesses the largest number of vacant houses of the European Union. According to the 2001 census, vacant dwellings represent around 15 per cent of the total housing stock (more than 3 million units, not taking into account secondary residences). This percentage largely exceeds the estimated present deficit in rental housing market (about 800,000 units). Speculation and the financial benefits generated by housing have reportedly led to large-scale corruption.”

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Mark Haybittle