Vacant properties in Spanish cities are declining, but increasing in rural areas

by Lorraine Williamson
vacant properties

MADRID – Over the past two decades, the number of vacant properties in major Spanish cities has fallen by 40%, while nationally it has increased by 24%, according to a new report from Tinsa Research. 

The study sheds light on the complex dynamics of the Spanish real estate market. This is influenced by urban migration as well as demographic changes and regulatory challenges. 

According to the research, there are currently 3.8 million vacant homes in Spain, which is 14.4% of the total housing supply. Interestingly, more than half of these vacancies are concentrated in coastal areas, a result of tourist demand and uneven housing supply. 

Cristina Arias, director of Tinsa Research, said: “Increasing residential demand in work and tourist centres has not always seen an equal increase in supply, which has driven up house prices. At the same time, in other areas, we see a decrease in population and an increase in vacant homes.” 

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Causes of vacanct properties

The report points to several factors contributing to vacancy: demographic shifts, outdated housing and lengthy legal proceedings. Furthermore, historical data shows there will always be some level of vacancy due to inherent imbalances between supply and demand. 

Regional differences 

Geographically there are big differences. The provinces of Orense and Lugo have the highest vacancy rate with 43.7% and 37.3% respectively. In contrast, the lowest percentages are found in Vizcaya, Madrid, Álava, Guipúzcoa, Barcelona and Valladolid. 

Tinsa Research proposes to increase housing supply in the most stressed areas and advocates public-private partnerships. The report also suggests rethinking the current city model and encouraging distributed growth in secondary cities. 

“At a time when access to housing is increasingly challenging, especially in large cities, it is crucial to approach this complex issue from multiple angles,” Arias concludes. 

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