OVER 209,000 properties are lying empty in Alicante province according to the National Institute of Statistics(INE)- around a fifth of all homes in the region.

Potential landlords are not making moves due to fears of non-payment or even squatting, while people looking to rent- especially in the younger age bracket- are holding back because of increasing prices.

Average monthly rentals have soared to €1,008- 30% more than at the start of 2023 and has depressed the rental market despite the high availability of property.

The rental average climbs to €1,300 in Alicante, €1,800 in Benidorm, and €2,500 in neighbouring Finestrat.

City areas have the greatest amount of housing surplus lead by Torrevieja(30,639), Orihuela(24,109), and Alicante(15,733).

The situation appears to be less acute in the north of Alicante province with Denia having 5,551 empty properties, followed by Calpe(4,719) and Javea(3,973).

The INE figures show that in addition to 209,000 empty properties, there are a further 385,000 that are used ‘irregularly’ as holiday or ‘second’ homes.

Even with high property demand, the question is why more owners are not looking for an easy revenue from potential tenants?

Maria Motos from real-estate portal Fotocasa said: “There are many reasons people are holding back including the fact that property cannot be rented due to its condition as it needs improvement.”

“Owners also fear tenants who do not pay or mistreat a house, or even end up squatting in it, causing legal nightmares,“ added Motos.

“They want greater legal certainty over non-payment or illegal occupation.”

Juan Carlos Sempere of the Alicante area Abaco real estate agency commented: “Insecurity over non-payment is a real fear but that is a problem that can be solved by taking out rental insurance to make up for any shortfall.”

The agency said that owners are looking to sell properties or to use them as tourist lets as opposed to offering long-term rentals.

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