27 Nov, 2010 @ 13:15
1 min read

Spain’s hidden housing glut

THERE are twice as many unsold houses in the Malaga province than previously thought.

According to a new study by bank CatalunyaCaixa, as of mid-2010 there were 44,000 unsold houses in Malaga, the highest number in Andalucia.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, which are based on older data, show only 22,500 such homes.

Moreover, although the housing stock appears to have reached its peak, supply and demand will take years, if not decades, to balance.

The net amount of Malaga’s unsold houses fell by only 400 homes from the first quarter of the year, says CatalunyaCaixa.

This means 4.65 per cent of all houses in the Malaga province are currently unsold, with majority concentrated along the Costa del Sol.

Only Almeria has higher ratio in Andalucia, with 6 per cent of its total stock left unwanted.

The housing glut in southern Spain, however, is dwarfed by the shocking situation in Valencia.

The three provinces comprising a region have 208,000 unwanted houses between themselves.

For the northern province of Castellon these houses represents an eye watering 21 per cent of its total housing stock.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. What have the estate agents been saying – now is the time to buy in Spain before prices rise – LOL.

    It will never be a good time to buy any of these rubbish built properties, tragically this applies to Ireland as well.

    Unlike the can’t change/won’t change Spanish, the Irish are already talking about bulldozing whole estates of rubbish built 4 bedroom homes.

    Ths Spanish government is still insisting that prices have only fallen 15% – how can they not see how stupid they appear to the rest of the world.

    I read yesterday that a quality apartment block with 83 flats needing kitchens/bathrooms etc, overlooking a spectacular part of the Galway coast was put up for auction with only one derisory bid of €5,000 for the whole thing.

    The auctioneers are prepared to look at offers per flat of €6500 – they were originally expected to fetch €250,000 each – the beer is better in Ireland too.

  2. Stuart,
    I agree with some of your comments, but I believe Ireland will find a way out,while Spain is heading for third world status.
    Fraud and deception is a way of life in Spain, no society can base itself on a foundation of corruption and Irelands property collapse in comparative terms is nothing like Spains.
    AN election early next year in Ireland will herald in a new dawn,and unlike Spain,Ireland can rise from the ashes!
    The Irish people will pull together and will get back on track after the cleansing out of the old guard crony politicians and corrupt bankers.
    There is only one way to go when you are rock bottom and that is up, Yes, the debt is huge but so is the challenge!
    The Unemployed and the Graduates will be found work, there is so much to do in Ireland,( ie- hospitals and schools to be built), ok, this should had been done when the country was flush, but now structure will put before PROFIT , and with vision and hard work,Ireland will go forward.
    There are thousands and thousands of families throughout Ireland on Housing lists awaiting good quality homes and ghost estates if finished could accomodate some of these families.
    Ireland has a future, its Young people will make things happen, the debts will be paid and the so called age of austerity will raise the quality of life in Ireland.

  3. …but the weather is crap, Stuart.

    I came here two years ago with an ey to buy, but I decided to rent. I’m now making a few appointments to view once again because some of the “asking prices” have dropped.

    Naturally I’ll be looking at these prices, deducting about 20% and offering something in the 30%-40% off asking prices and see what happens.

    Rents are very cheap.
    I can wait….

  4. It says in the article houses which is not what I would call these poorly built rabbit hutches we see all along the Costa. Andalucía has not got a glut of houses it has a glut of apartments built on urbanizations all along the coast. These are unfit to live in on a permanent basis and will be slums in 10 15 years.
    The government should take the difficult option and bull doze them

  5. Re John Keogh.

    I agree with you. It´s a buyers market. Set yourself a budget and keep offering that until you get what you want for the price you want. Thousand of unsold properties mean there will be desperate sellers who will bite your hand off. What goes around comes around!

  6. Hi Fred, it’s more than just kicking tyres.
    I’m ready to buy, but only if I see the right deal.
    In otherwords, the pressure that was present up to a couple of years ago whereby “you must buy now before its too expensive”, has disappeared.

    Its been replaced with “you should’nt buy now in case its too expensive”.

    I would in general prefer to own than to rent but thankfully I dont feel under pressure to buy.

    That has got to be good when making an informed decision on buying. I’ll be buying to live in, not to rent out. I think there is an important distinction there.

  7. Antony,
    I totally agree with you. The Irish are’nt a stupid people – why the hell should they pay for the greedy bankers and property developers, then again why should the ordinary Spanish pay either.

    Those two fat lumps for prime ministers of the UK and Ireland should have left the banks to collapse.

    I think the markets are well aware that the Irish will give the finger to the bank bailout and default, that will lead to a domino effect across the continent – houses will not fall down only the banks and fractional banking.

    It is the greedy political classes of Europe that want federalism not the ordinary people. The EU is all about big business not about a European Community which is something else again.

    The simple truth is that unless the mentality of southern Europe is changed irrevocably then it must be cast adrift – there is no other answer. Look at the money squandered on high speed passenger trainlines in Spain when what was and is needed is high speed freight lines.

    Look at the investment in golf courses when that water should have been used to regenerate forests.

    John Keogh I’m well aware the weather is crap but you should try living in northern Galicia, then you would really know what crap weather truly is, in direct contrast to the gobsmackingly beautiful coast.

    According to all reliable and proven formulae – property in Spain is at least 40% overvalued – no need to listen to Fred, he’s trapped by owning property so is entirely biased in his comments.

    Cinico is spot on and John you need to bear in a mind what will happen if and when the Euro collapses. Sure southern Europe can devalue and re-create their old currencies but just think how hyper-inflation will affect life. Spain sold it’s soul to the diesel/petrol engine. Pretty soon exporting fruit and veg will be uneconomic and that’s with oil @ $80 – price in $150 a barrel.

    We are and have been sitting on cash since escaping the leasehold trap in the UK nearly 10 years ago – every year I have skipped from currency to currency and only this year have I come unstuck, all values are unreal – the last few days the $ has been seen as a safe haven – are they mad, it’s the most over valued currency on the planet.

    Personally though I would have loved to have bought a piece of land here in France, I’m glad we are renting. My advice is to think very carefully about which currency you are holding and if you really want to live in Spain, make damn sure you have a reliable source of water – the most important commodity in life.

    Every time I mention water and desertification the silence is deafening on this forum. Only north west Spain has reliable supplies but that comes at the price of crap weather. As far north as Rioja they know the days of wine production are limited – think on.

  8. Stuart, you do make some good points but then make some utterly foolish ones that lose you all credibility on the forum, like saying the banks should be allowed to collapse. That would have been the most stupid economic decision ever taken, and puts your economic acumen on par with Zapatero.

    Trapped by property am I? Er, no. I own properties in three countries and am shortly off to a very warm climate for Christmas. I bought my retirement home when I was in my late 20’s – planning ahead a bit you know (and it’s not in Spain). All that renting nonsense is not for me. So you must stop assuming things Stuart, it’ll be your undoing. We’re not all silly old sods living in the French countryside with a desert fixation. Now let the young ‘uns get on with things lol.

  9. Fred,
    It’s you who does’nt know what he’s talking about. Letting the banks collapse would only really have hurt those with money and obviously having property in 3 countries means you have money – so you would have been one of the losers – self interest and you really don’t see how you exposed yourself.

    Argentina defaulted, the banks went bust and all the fat cats lost – today Argentina is on a roll by doing just that.

    If the Weimar republic had done the same – no Adolph – you really need to study history. I get the idea your a bit of a wimp – if you want to come up to France and do a forced running march, I’ll leave you for dead inside 1K.

    Your input on energy was like an immature student – where in the world is there a fusion plant. You see Fred people want electricity today – not at some time in the future.

    When you first came on the forum you tried to give everyone the impression that capitalism stank – homes in 3 countries – pretty good imitation of a b/s New Labourite – it’s you sony who has no credibility.

    And what an idiot to stay and pay €60 for a meal with chips – why did’nt ypou just get up and walk out – what a wally.

  10. There’s no fool like an old fool. Sitting on a pile of cash with nothing to do except sit on here and comment on Spain when you don’t even live or work here. I bet you’re having a great time in France lol.

    Capitalism does stink. It will be interesting to see what alternative you come up with however, because there isn’t one for humans. Talk about pot calling the kettle black, you are sitting on a ‘pile of cash’ – your words – invested in the very banks you just said should collapse, or have you got it stashed under the bed? What rubbish you talk, it’s about time someone told you.

    It’s pathetically simple to contradict you in just a few words, and you resort to childish and meaningless physical threats because you don’t like being exposed as a fool.

    I worked hard for my lot, and I spend my money. That’s what it’s for. The only person who’s trapped is you – trapped in the French countryside with no idea with what to do with your life and your dosh. As someone said before, you failed in Spain and now you will fail in France too.

    Btw, the first fusion prototype reactor comes online in 2 years. You just have an embryonic knowledge of world events Stuart. Leave running the world to the youngsters and get back to your wind farm, or are you just another capitalist electricity consumer? Btw, I’m off for another €60 meal today as well, billed to the client as always, of course.

  11. I love reading these coments, I am laughing away. Entetainment, the X factor can’t match this, lol.

    It was just the other day that my step father was saying don’t sell in Spain as there could be a mini ice age in Northern Europe within the next 50 years! That may forces prices up in Spain!

    Anyone with cash would be better buying in UK than Spain as you can rent a holiday home for peanuts and you cannot rent out your property there for many weeks of the year in general. Plenty of repossessions are in the UK now and reading the other article on this web site there could be a few more on the way.
    Everyone has an opinion but if you have several properties it does not really hurt too much if Spain has a problem as you can go elsewhere. Spain built 800,000 properties in one year alone in recent years, so the simple laws of supply and demand with a recession were always going to happen. Boom and bust happens in the UK all the time and that is why I have not bought anything for many years as I could see it coming, I just did not know when. The smart people saved in the good years and are buying now and can sell in a few years time. I think all of those property programmes like place in the sun did not help, along with the living abroad. Most of the younger ones left after a year or two and they never showed that or the ongoing long term problems they have in Spain. I have friends in Brazil and they are raking it in and although they say there is a lot of red tape they are still building apartment blocks and selling them in no time as Brazil has a growth rate of 7% at the moment. I am no intellectual but I reckon I could do a better job than those lot running Spain. Sort the corruption out. If you are young and English speaking and need to make money don’t go to Spain, do yourself a favour and do the homework and go somewhere where many young brits are making it.

  12. Isn’t it great to see Stuart Crawford and Fred squabbling and being rude to each other at last! Normally they agree with each other so much that we all thought they were the same person. LOL

  13. Question for you all. If Spain is so damn bad, if spaniards are corrupt, deceiving, lazy etc. If life here is so expensive, why don´t you leave? We didn´t ask you to come and we surely don´t need people that think like you. Take your time and get to really know spaniards, get out for some time, of your lousy bars, urbanizations and little englands and try to mingle with natives. For a start, try learning the language.

  14. TC
    que se nos pide que venga cuando nos pidió la compra de propiedades que ahora son nuestras. Las cosas son tan caros, porque usted pone los precios hasta siempre tratando de exprimir más y más dinero de nosotros. Nunca di cuenta de las listas de precios en los bares para las fiestas que mantenerse durante todo el año para que los extranjeros se puede cargar más? Sí, el Reino Unido tiene la corrupción, pero aquí en España es mucho peor crees que no es un problema? Y sí que necesita la gente que piensa como nosotros, gente que quiere cambiar porque sin nosotros y nuestro dinero de la UE España se rompería en pedazos pequeños y Andalucía sería la misma que en los días de Franco. No mucha gente no habla mucho español, pero nadie le importaba, mientras estábamos gastando dinero, pero muchos de los inmigrantes en el Reino Unido no hablan Inglés en absoluto. Tengo algunos amigos que son encantadoras español, pero sé que también muchos más que harán cualquier cosa para vaciar mi cartera.

  15. Fred,
    I don’t think you have an inkling of how stupid you look.
    You did’nt see as Reap and I did that to be involved in the property market was a no-no years ago. There you are with properties in 3 different countries – now that really is stupid and shows a complete lack of financial nous.

    John Keogh is not a time waster but someone who knows what the craig is and you don’t.

    As to threatening you I did’nt but calling me an old man who should sit back -I get the distinct feeling that your a desk jockey with no fitness at all just a big mouth. I challenged you to a fitness test – that’s not a threat – how silly you look.

    Failed in Spain – failed to get trapped into buying crap property and free to move where I like.

    Another stupid comment about banks – do you think I would keep our money in banks that had any chance of failing – what a chump you are.

    And you boast about charging your clients £60 for a crap meal – you never have said exactly what you do for a living, I’m not sure your not just a sad Walter Mitty character – there are quite a few of those in Spain.What you can’t see is that comments you make about me are actually your world view which is very limited Walter.

    You did’nt come back about electrcicty distribution costs and maintenance charges because you could’nt – you idiot. I was talking about photo voltaic not wind farms – grow up Walter.

    John Keogh – don’t buy, rent. The Chinese are playing everybody off against each other – today they support the Euro and tomorrow?

    OIl over $100 a barrel – just make sure your money is in the right currency or better still a real asset.

    Tunisia/Egypt – game changing scenarios which will affect us all – don’t forget Saudia Arabia is just across the water from Egypt – if that falls so will all the Gulf States – interesting times indeed.

  16. Stuart, I inherited two of my properties and therefore didn’t choose to purchase them. My property in the UK has risen in value by 300% over 10 years – is that a bad financial investment, Stuart?

    I did purchase in Spain, but I am on track for a profit on this project – it was a large rennovation bought at a very cheap price, and it is a unique and historic property. I am looking at a 100% profit on it currently, which is not bad given the current property climate. Over the last year I have had three purchase offers (all from Dutch and Scandinavian buyers) but I like the project so will carry on with it until completion on this basis.

    People think the Spanish property market has collapsed, but that’s only for cheap low-quality coastal rubbish. Certainly a mistake purchasing in Spain, purely because it’s such a corrupt and incompetant place to do business.

    By the way, later today I am pushing the boat out and will have a 70 euro meal with a client. I’ll let you know how it goes, since I know you take such an interest in my life, Stuart.

    So, I do hate to dissapoint you Stuart, but I am not suffering any failures. It is true that I have been at my desk a lot recently, and that is mainly because I am currently studying for a doctorate.

    Anyway, I do so enjoy our little conversations, Stuart, and I’m sure we’ll be in touch again soon, old boy.

  17. Uhhh Dr. Freddy having a 70 €uro smacker meal after pushing his boat around a bit

    can I translate this for silly Stuart who it seems just hasn’t a clue.

    Fred who is studying for a biz consulting degree from the Uganda On Line University will enjoy a faboulouse Big Mac (hold the fries extra pickle – got to think healthy) meal before dragging his inflatable mattress over a rainy beach ……. its a sad picture !

    Rather chip chip old boy be sure to wear the UOLU tie for the next Burger King outing

  18. Sharon, with a name like yours you shouldn’t be making any fast-food jokes lol. In fact, I just had a lovely fish meal washed down with a delightful bottle of blanco…

    Btw Uganda has some great Universities, you must stop making these stereotypical comments Susan.

  19. Sharp as a razor blade our own good ol Dr. Fred – nothing like a Brit Expat to tell you what a good fish meal is !

    Hope you know by now that milk and delightful blanco do come in different containers nowadays !

    Oh and of course you are more then right about the quality great universities Uganda has to offer ……….. just like my new house cleaner is an expert in interior hygiene ……….

    the only thing I ask is please don’t make fun of my name and pretty please do stop the girly lol. crap while at it

  20. au contraire mon mètre de plaisir Freddy !

    My “absurd” surname was not of my choosing but a given thing that connects me with my family past whereas your fish finger meal and abstruse degree titles are of your own making …… I sincerely hope you can appreciate the difference !

  21. Can you get Lubina Fish Fingers? I haven’t seen those at Iceland yet. Names are irrelevant on forums anyway Sharon, you could be Ronald McDonald for all I know lol.

  22. Lubina Fish Fingers !

    You tell me Fred – I don’t even know what Lubina is – for all I know its a lubricant for Dr. Freddy ?

    Well then I very seriously don’t want to know what a Lubina Fish Finger is

    and if I am Ronald McDonald then you could be Emma Royds

  23. Figures Fred – a dead link !

    So much for your Lubuna a-la-babumba !

    I am sure it was a treat ………. and I hope well lubricated !

    Now me, I prefer a nice chicken of the sea diner, served with yummy macaroni and cheese – little hint if you use the tuna in spring water it isn’t just tasty but healthy as well

    – Delicious & Nutritious –

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