The failure of housing in the Balearic Islands

Carlos E. Vallejo.

For many years now, the Balearic population has been suffering from the difficult access to housing. Armengol has been saying for more than eight years what she never does. It is a great paradox to always say that thousands of VPOs are going to be built and when the end of the legislature is reached, hardly more than a hundred are built.

f we analyse article 47 of the Spanish Constitution, it states that all Spaniards have the right to enjoy decent and adequate housing and attributes to the public authorities the obligation to promote the necessary conditions and establish the relevant regulations to make this right effective.

The second part of the article is not being fulfilled at all, since the public authorities are not, and have not been, capable of implementing agile policies that create wealth and well-being for citizens in terms of housing.

Really in March 2023, the problem of access to housing has become a ball with a very difficult solution that requires a real consensus of all political forces in the long term (minimum 15 years) where the private professionals of the sector have a leading role in decision-making, since the political forces, regardless of the sign they are, have more than demonstrated their great incompetence to be able to solve this scourge.

How did we get here?

Let us remember that not many years ago, approximately 15 or 20 years ago, the Balearic Islands was a market where housing was cheap and affordable. We had affordable sale and rental prices.

And how did we get here??

It is the sum of many factors, among which I would like to highlight:

1.- We are a limited territory. The insularity of the island has a strong influence on land management.

2.- Protection of the environment. Let us not forget that our industry is tourism and in order to be competitive, it is essential that we protect our best asset, which is the territorial environment. This has meant that in recent years, more than 800 hectares have left the property market.

3.- As a world-class tourist destination, there is a need for workers from abroad to come and live here.

4.- We are a community where the population has been growing continuously for more than 30 years. We are an attractive destination, with an enviable environment, where both the national and European population come to live every year.

5.- The second residence of the foreign population represents 40% of property sales and the new concept of teleworking means that many digital nomads want to spend several months in the Balearic Islands.

6.- Since 2008, no VPOs have been built until 2018. The construction rates of VPO in recent years have been ridiculous in terms of demand.

7.- In the last 4 years there have been 19 legislative modifications that have created a lot of political demagogy with very little real effectiveness.

8.- There is a lack of consensus on the urban planning model between the main political parties.

9.- Great legal uncertainty in recent years, which does not favour private investment.

10. The housing model has changed radically. There are currently 2.6 members per household on average.

All these and many more factors have created the “Perfect Storm”:

Where access to affordable housing is unfeasible for a large part of the population.

The effort rate is 60%, compared to 30% on the mainland. We lead all the negative data in terms of the increase in the price of housing, rent and to make matters worse, the cost of construction materials has multiplied sevenfold, with galloping inflation that does not favour the granting of mortgage loans.

There is a lack of trained workers. The number of new homes being built is the lowest it has been for years, land is scarce and very expensive. In short, we are heading towards a collapse of the real estate market and, as Neus Truyol, the councillor for Urban Planning of Palma Town Hall, recently said, of using shipping containers as housing to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing on the real estate market.


1.- “URBANISM” in capital letters must be carried out, in the medium to long term and with a commitment from the main political forces. Define in a great consensus the model of city that we want.

2.- Public-private agreement.. t is more necessary than ever, a collaboration agreement between the two, combining the benefit of companies and the creation of social housing.

3.- Create a real number of multi-family housing units. The forecast is that 135,000 more dwellings will be needed by 2036.

4.- More agile licensing of building permits.

5.- Ease of changes of use.

6.- To be able to build vertically. Greater height, less impact on the environment.

7.- Review the model of the home. The trend is towards smaller flats, with fewer and cheaper members.

8.- Public rental agency that guarantees the payment of rents to landlords from less favoured groups.

9.- Plan to promote the acquisition of housing for young people. Aid, subsidies in the application for mortgage loans for the first home.

10.- Regulatory stability and legal certainty to facilitate investment.

After analysing the situation of the Balearic market and verifying that in the last eight years “flies have been killed with cannons”, I would like to highlight a factor that, however logical it may seem, should be insisted on, as reality has shown us the disastrous past management.

It is very simple to put professionals from the urban planning sector in positions of responsibility.

Last summer in Ibiza we saw how certain civil servants were forced to travel to the island to live in caravans and tents. In Mallorca on the Carretera de Sineu there are already illegal settlements of prefabricated houses.

If we do not remedy this now, the next two generations will not have access to decent housing.

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