Joan Collins
THE Balearics was one of the regions with the most spectacular growth in construction of family homes between 1950 and 2001, going from 130'800 in 1950 to 495'100 in 2001. However, in the same period, the number of homes which are occupied has also dropped spectacularly, to such an extent that at the end of 2001 the islands had a total of 186'401 homes vacant, according to the report Historic Statistics of Spain by the BBVA Foundation. The report says that this significant evolution has its origin in the “explosive” construction of homes aimed at the tourist holiday home market (second and third homes). The concentration of building in Spain in the above mentioned period brought about the first tourist and holiday home enclaves situated on the Mediterranean coast, especially in the Balearics and the Canary Islands. Another fact in this report which explains the growth of housing is that, in the middle of the last century, there was a near equal division among rented and owned homes, while in 2001 eight out of every ten homes were the property of their occupier. With regard to the amount of people occupying one home, the aggressive building programme has meant that this is now equal to the European average. In 1950, every family home in the Balearics and the rest of Spain had an average of 4.47 inhabitants. In 2001 this average had become 1.96. And the size of the homes has also changed in this 55 years of radical transformation. In 1950, homes with five or more bedrooms (enclosed spaces, whether bedrooms or not) made up 37 percent of the total, a percentage which had risen to 67 by 2001. In 1950 the number of occupied homes in Spain was 95 percent of the total. However, by 2005 (55 years later) this had reduced to 68 percent, 27 percentage points less. The years when this dropped most were 1960 and 1970, during which the tourist and housing “boom” was experienced.

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