Panel discussion on second homes and the housing shortage. | Jaume Morey

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At the Mallorca Real Estate Summit on Wednesday, panel discussion participants agreed that the pandemic and the possibilities for teleworking have led over recent months to Mallorca having gone from being the second residence for a large number of Europeans to being their main domicile. Mallorca is a European benchmark for "high-end" housing, and demand continues to grow.

Vicente Tomás of the SCT Estudio de Arquitectura observed that "air connectivity is essential and so is physical and health security". "As people can telecommute, many are turning their second residence on the island into their permanent residence. This is also happening in California, Tuscany, Sicily, Oregon and Tulum (Mexico)."

Speakers were clear, however, that care must be taken not to "die of success". The CEO of the Grupo Ferrá construction company, Antoni Gurrera, highlighted the paradox that is affecting the building sector - it requires qualified workers but cannot get them because they cannot find affordable housing.

The participants were highly critical of the lack of properties for the middle class and demanded solutions from governments. Carlos Bardavío, real estate partner at KPMG Abogados, called for new types of housing such as build to rent, housing intended for long-term rental, and co-living (housing with shared spaces). Vicente Tomás added that "it is a mistake to dedicate 50% to VPO (social housing". In this regard, the administration's flexibility is "zero".

Luis Martín, president of the Proinba association of developers in the Balearics, argued that the administration has "misunderstood" flexibility. It has turned a defence of sustainability into a "prohibition".