Housing is an interesting topic in Spain. Today I read in El Pais that the average square meter prices of houses go up in Catalunia, the Balearic Islands and Madrid. The house market in Spain is crazy. Salaries are no longer enough to buy a proper house. On the other hand, millions of houses are empty almost all year. The current government wants to do something about it but as yet no specific plans have been put forward.
Spain is the European country with the highest average possession of houses, more than 80%. But this is a distorted figure, since many families own two or more houses. To rent out houses is for a lot of people a way to earn some additional income or it’s a way to save for retirement. A lot of people also own a house or an apartment by the sea, which they only use for their own holidays.
Seldom do the stories about the places where people live and work, refer to the vast amounts of infrastructure that are required to translocate all the people everyday and during the holidays. Most people prefer to use these infrastructures at the same time. Moreover, since the car is the most valued mode of transport, an overwhelming parking capacity is also required: at home, at the office or the factory, and at the second or even third home. This means that each time someone occupies one place, all the other places are empty.
All this can lead to only one conclusion: half of the time cities are at least half empty. Of course this is not a big deal, because nobody notices the empty spaces. Everybody is always at the places where everybody else is, so for them the cities always look full.