The Housing Ministry has confirmed that the construction of up to 225,000 subsidised homes could begin immediately on land owned by town halls and regional governments throughout Spain while another 400,000 could be built between 2009 and 2012. To these figures another 70,000 houses need to be added which would be built on land owned by the state.
These official figures are significant in determining the viability of the government’s proposals for the New Housing Plan for 2009 -2012 which included massive figures for the construction of up to 1,500,000 new subsidised homes (vivienda de protección official – VPO) over a 10 year period announced recently by Beatriz Corredor, the Housing Minister.
Pedro Castro, the president of the Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (FEMP), has not commented on these figures saying that his organisation is on the point of presenting its own study on land available and only after this can a valuation of what different town halls are capable of can be made.
However, Castro supports the idea of the construction of more social housing saying that now is the time for town halls to contribute to economic development and the creation of more housing and employment.
According to Castro promoters, construction companies, unions, businesses and the government should all cooperate in order to meet the figures for the construction of new social housing (VPO). He said that there was a lot of land available and not to act would be ‘incomprehensible’. The announcement comes at a time when many construction and real estate promoters in Spain are experiencing severe economic difficulties in the face of the current crisis.
Despite the abundance of public land there is still an imbalance between the existing demand and the number of VPO houses planned or already under construction.
Specifically, the imbalance in Madrid is around 114,500 people on the waiting list for subsidised housing compared to 34,680 houses which could be built immediately. There is a similar situation in Catalonia with 200,000 people on the waiting list and just 25,730 houses being or about to be built. In the Valencian Region there are 123,000 people on the list and 11,225 houses and in Andalucía there are 116,000 people on the waiting list and 37,122 houses planned.
The debate between the government and major construction companies over their involvement with the ambitious plan to build up to 625,000 new VPO houses over little more than 4 years is on going. Some experts believe it will help the construction industry during difficult times and others believe it could be counterproductive to the interests of private companies in the long term.
There is also debate surrounding the terms of VPO housing. What is clear is that the new Housing Plan 2009 – 2012 which will shortly see the light will need to address these and other complex issues surrounding the question of housing in Spain