NOT only is the Balearics one of the regions with the highest house prices in Spain, it also has one of the largest amounts of empty properties. However, between 1991 and 2001, the number of “second homes” in the region rose by 95.000, while just under 80.000 lay empty, 16 per cent of the Balearic property bank, above the 14 per cent national average. On the one hand, the Balearics in the 90*s, not only witnessed one of Spain's largest property booms to have one of the highest numbers of “second homes” by the end of 2001, while on the other, more houses were being left empty. The report released yesterday by the National Statistics Institute also reveals that the second home boom has been fuelled by foreign residents. In 1991 there were 353.367 foreign residents in Spain, according to the census office, by the end of 2001, that figure has risen to 1.572.017. It is the foreign resident-fuelled holiday home boom which has been partly blamed for the sharp rise in house prices over the past ten years which has made it increasingly difficult for young people and families to get their foot on the property ladder in the Balearics. But the regional government is working at trying to not only construct cheaper housing, but also encourage young people to move in to the empty properties and renovate with the aid of government grants and subsidies. The report shows that a much larger proportion of 25-year-olds are single today than there were ten years ago and more want to leave home. But in regions like the Balearics, they are finding it increasingly difficult to purchase a home to move into.


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