The government plans a raft of measures to address the shortage of affordable housing. | Teresa Ayuga

At a Tuesday meeting with representatives of town halls and builders' and developers' associations, President Prohens announced that the government will be permitting the conversion of large apartments and houses into apartments with a minimum size of 60 and 90 square metres respectively.

One of the measures to be incorporated into the Balearic government's emergency housing decree, these conversions will have the category of VPO protected housing or they will be made available at prices to be agreed by the government. This effectively amounts to the same thing in terms of setting affordable prices, the difference with VPO being that these are ultimately government properties.

The range of prices will be between 102,000 and 240,000 euros if they are for sale or between 385 and 900 euros if they are for rent. Prices will depend on the municipality. The same prices will apply to apartments to be created by increasing the height of buildings and by conversion of commercial premises and hotels.

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The decree is due to be approved later this month. It will be in force for two years, and work will have to be carried out within three years of the decree being approved. For potential purchasers, the newly created properties will have to be their habitual place of residence. Town halls will have the powers to give authorisation, while communities of owners will also play a role. In the case of buildings that are already inhabited, authorisation from communities will be necessary in order to add more floors. In no instance will an increase in height be allowed to exceed the height of the tallest building on a street.

At the meeting, Prohens said: "Access to housing is a social problem. It is a health problem due to the lack of health professionals. It is a problem of citizen security, because there are no security personnel, and it is a problem for competitiveness due to the lack of professionals in all sectors."

She stressed that the decree will entail zero cost for the administration and zero consumption of land, while it will respect town halls' autonomy to decide.