There is a need for more affordable housing. | Miquel À. Cañellas

At their annual assembly on Wednesday, members of the Proinba property developers association heard that there is currently a deficit of 16,000 homes to satisfy demand. This shortage is particularly evident in Ibiza and Palma and its neighbouring municipalities.

The association's president, Luis Martí, said that although there has been a reactivation in the building of houses and apartments in recent years, the number has not been sufficient. The majority of these properties, moreover, have been for a higher-earning market.

The housing shortage, partly caused by the financial crisis from 2009, has coincided with an increase in population and with scarce and expensive land. In addition, local authorities have been slow in facilitating new building by granting licences. Permissions can take between eight and twelve months, whereas they should be granted within three months.

Martí stressed the fact that the middle class is finding it increasingly difficult to buy or rent homes at reasonable prices. Proinba is therefore calling for there to be new private investment for the social housing sector and for quicker planning procedures for building properties of some sixty square metres. If this planning does not succeed, the association feels, in a few years there will have to be legislation to reclassify rustic land as urban in order to enable new homes to be built.