Marga Prohens, speaking on Thursday. | Jaume Morey

Marga Prohens, the leader of the main opposition party in the Balearics, the Partido Popular, has once more attacked a Balearic government "intention" to prohibit the sale of properties to non-residents of the islands.

At a Thursday press conference, Prohens said that this is "an attack on the private property of citizens that only seeks to cover up the 'failure' of President Armengol's housing policies". "The left has not succeeded in any of its measures and now Armengol continues with an increasingly dangerous and radical interventionist drift. From policies that are incapable of solving problems, they now look to blame non-residents."

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The PP president noted that, since the left came to power in 2015, the price to rent has gone from 8.5 euros to 14 euros per square metre, while the cost to purchase has gone up 88% from 2,000 euros to 3,700 per square metre. Meanwhile, waiting lists for homes offered by the government's Ibavi housing agency have doubled in recent years. "Armengol talks about housing in the future as if she hasn't been governing for eight years."

Prohens insisted that the coalition government has overseen a "radical drift" of housing policies. These began with the registry of large property owners (ten or more properties). There was then the increase in rates for empty homes, the attempt to limit the prices to rent and now a move to define large owners as those with five properties. "No one doubts that this will come down to two or three, and so anyone with a second home will be forced to rent out at a set price or be faced with expropriation for the use of it."

The election may still be over four months away, but Prohens was willing to set out policies that the PP will pursue. These will include a "safe rental programme" of tax deductions for those who rent out and facilitating redevelopment of existing properties. "The Balearics cannot continue with this populist, radical and ineffective drift."