By Humphrey Carter
OVER the next four years, between 175'000 and 180'000 second homes per year will be sold in Spain, and one in four being bought by British purchasers.
The residential tourism sector is considered to be one of the biggest growth sectors over the next five to six years, but in order to maintain the momentum in the market, regional and central governments are being urged to help ensure that the country has the adequate infrastructure to sustain such growth. The president of the National Association of Developers and Residential Tourism, Ricardo Arranz, said yesterday that residential tourism “is one of the principal creators of wealth and jobs” and that the time has come for the private and public sectors to start co-operating in its development. More and more second home buyers are looking inland, from the Balearics to the mainland, but inadequate roads and public services are proving a hindrance. “Despite the fact that some of these holiday home developments have a larger population than 90 percent of Spain's small villages, they do not have the same infrastructure and services,” he said. The holiday home market in Spain has grown at an annual rate of three percent over the past decade and now accounts for 18 percent of the Spanish residential market. According to the latest figures provided by Analistas Financieros Internacionales, between now and 2008, as many as 180'000 second homes will be sold per year and 50 percent will be sold to foreigners. The British will account for 52 percent of the overseas market, the Germans 22 percent, the French eight percent, the Italians six, the Belgians three and the Scandinavians six percent. The future of the sector will be discussed at the residential tourism fair in Marbella next week.
Event organiser Enrique Lacalle said yesterday that the second home sector consists of two important factors for the Spanish economy. Firstly, it helps drive the construction industry which accounts for 14 percent of the country's gross national product. Secondly, the important role it plays in the tourist industry, which generates 12 percent of Spain's GNP. Last year non-resident second home buyers spent 7.167 millon euros across the Balearics and Spain, 16 percent more than in 2002.

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