GABRIEL Oliver, chairman of the Balearic Real Estate Promoters Association, yesterday called for a reduction in municipal taxes to bring down the cost of housing in the Balearics by four per cent He said that the association had written to all the councils in the Balearics, asking them not to apply the maximum tax allowed on building and to adjust its rates correspondingly. Explaining why housing is so expensive in the islands, he said that the cost of land, taxes and construction made up 85 per cent of the cost, and in the past five years, house prices have shot up by 125 per cent, while wages have only gone up by 20 per cent. He declined to go into future proposals to limit the rising cost of land - up by 350 per cent between 1997 and 2002, in his opinion - although he did say he favoured some degree of liberalisation “with the intervention of the administration.” He claimed that taxes account for 23 to 24 per cent of the final price and a third of this could be reduced if the town councils applied measures defined in Law 52/2002. Oliver would like to see councils grant a rebate of up to 50 per cent in the rates of social housing, and up to 90 per cent in housing adapted for the disabled. His association would also like to see a rebate of up to 95 per cent in the rates in housing which uses solar energy and a similar amount for buildings of an historic-artistic nature or which promote employment. The charge for a works licence, he continued, should be limited to the cost of the service, adding that these proposals are only an example of what could be done to reduce the cost of housing “as there is no magic solution for reducing prices by 20 or 30 per cent.”


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