Podemos are highlighting housing policy failings. | Pilar Pellicer


On Wednesday, the regional coordinator of Podemos and candidate for the Balearic presidency at the May election, Antónia Jover, said that "if there is the political will", restricting the purchase of homes by non-residents "can be done".

During a presentation at the Balearic parliament, Jover and other members of Podemos outlined what they believe to be failings with regard to housing policy on the islands, where there are some 500 individuals who have at least 50 homes in their name. The right to decent housing is not being fulfilled, prices are exorbitant, speculation is rife, measures taken so far are not enough and must go further.

Jover drew a comparison with the so-called 'Iberian exception', which caps the cost of gas and electricity, in arguing that the Spanish government must endorse an exception for the Balearics to facilitate the restriction of home buying by non-residents.

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Podemos presented part of a study by the Observatorio DESC in Barcelona (observatory for economic, social and cultural rights) of the housing situation in the Balearics and the possibility of limiting the purchase of housing just to people residing on the islands. "We have heard too many times that this cannot be done. Today, we have come to explain that it can be done," stated Jover.

According to the authors of the study, there are a dozen cases where European courts have agreed with those who have promoted a limitation. But the report stresses that this cannot be general. It cannot affect an entire country but rather territories which, for specific reasons, require special treatment. In the Balearics, the study notes, purchase of land by non-residents has increased by 93 per cent, while the average price for a property is the highest in all of Spain - 408,173 euros.

Proponents of restrictions, including Podemos, all recognise that exceptions must be consistent with EU legislation. It would therefore require amendment, as advocated by the Balearic parliament. President Armengol has meanwhile echoed a motion approved by the Senate in Madrid that calls on the Spanish government to press for such amendment during the period of Spain's presidency of the EU.