When handing over the keys to tenants of new social housing homes in Palma on Thursday, President Armengol remarked: "We do not want more luxury homes but ones that the middle and working classes can access." However, figures from the College of Architects in the Balearics indicate that the building of social housing is way off being sufficient. At the same time, there is a growing trend to the building of ever larger and more expensive houses, the prices of which are well beyond the reach of most of the population.
According to the College, the number of new social housing homes last year was 237, of which 144 were VPO protected homes provided by the Balearic government's Ibavi housing agency. The other 93 were those of developers and which were approved by the College. The Ibavi homes represented a 16% increase compared with 2021, while the developers' homes were down six per cent.
Whichever way the figures are presented, the College is clear: "We're building very little public housing. A strong effort should be made to create quality public housing and governments must lead this change with adequate budgets. Otherwise, the situation is not going to improve."
Forecasts for building this year are not good, the College joining the developers association Proinba in criticising the urban containment decree that was approved in January. The developers have said that new regulations will only aggravate the problem by encouraging speculation, and the College is inclined to agree. Bernat Nadal, the dean of the College, explains that the decree declassifies a large part of the developable areas in the Balearics (meaning that there cannot be any building). "This will generate an increase in the price of land. This type of regulation usually has the opposite effect to that desired."
Apart from more social housing, the College advocates increasing the intensity of use of urban areas and the rehabilitation of existing buildings. It points out that European Next Generation funds have not yet had a visible impact on building licence applications, but the funds represent "an opportunity to bring about this change and adapt the stock of properties".
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