Spain’s Balearic Islands to allow flats to be divided to fix housing crisis

Conor Faulkner
Conor Faulkner - [email protected]
Spain’s Balearic Islands to allow flats to be divided to fix housing crisis
Photo: Justus/Pixabay.

In a bid to try and fix its worsening housing crisis, the Balearic Islands has introduced a new housing policy that allows flats to be split up.


The Balearic Islands will allow large flats to be divided up into smaller properties of a minimum of 60m2 as part of urgent policy measures aimed at quickly securing affordable housing and alleviating the worsening housing crisis on the islands.

In recent years the Balearics have endured serious problems providing access to affordable housing as both purchase and renting prices have skyrocketed to levels now only exceeded in provincial capitals and big cities like Madrid and Barcelona.

To buy property on the islands, prices now exceed €3,000/m2, and average rents exceed €1,000 per month even in the cheapest areas.

In response to the price spiral, the regional government is set to approve an emergency housing decree that will allow the division of large flats or single-family homes into smaller units, so long as the resulting properties will be sold or rented at an affordable price.

The maximum sale price will be between €102,000 and €240,000, depending on the municipality, and the rental price will be between €385 and €900 per month.

READ ALSO: Where in Spain are rent prices rising the most?

Regional president Marga Prohens met with representatives of the property sector, with whom the measure was put together. Speaking to the press after the meeting with sector leaders, Prohens explained that the decree will mean "zero cost for the administration and zero land consumption."

"Access to housing is a social problem. It is a health problem due to the lack of health professionals, it is a problem of public safety, because there are no security personnel, and it is a problem for competitiveness due to the lack of professionals in all sectors," Prohens added.


The policy will also allow developers to increase the heights of some buildings in many streets in municipalities on the islands, especially in Palma.This will not be possible in all areas, but only in those where there are slopes, and the rise will be a maximum of 50 percent once the average height of the block has been calculated.

It also allows the conversion of commercial premises into homes, the conversion of hotels into apartment buildings, and other buildings on urban land to be converted into housing. All these new flats will have to comply with the same maximum prices authorised in the case of the division of larger flats.

In the case of increasing the heights of buildings with tenants, any changes must be approved by 'la comunidad', the building's homeowner's association. In addition, Prohens has announced that public land will be given to developers so that they can build affordable rental housing. The homes will be used to boost the community's public housing stock.

READ ALSO: 'La comunidad': What property owners in Spain need to know about homeowners’ associations

Rental prices have skyrocketed across Spain in recent years, particularly in places, like the Balearics, with strong tourist populations and tourism-based economic models.

The Balearic Islands, like mainland Spanish cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante, have seen a sharp rise in tourist apartments and Airbnbs, something that has put upwards pressure on property prices for locals.

Palma de Mallorca ranks in the top ten most expensive cities to rent an apartment in Spain.

The top ten for 2023 are: Barcelona (€19.8/sqm), Madrid (€16.5/sqm), San Sebastián (€16.3/sqm), Bilbao (€13.3/sqm), Palma de Mallorca (€13.3/sqm), Málaga (€12.1/sqm), Valencia (€11.4/sqm), Girona (€11.2/sqm), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (€11.0/sqm) and Vitoria (€11.0/sqm).

The average rental price per square metre in Spain is €11.70/sqm.


Change of model

The urgent changes to housing policy on the islands come amid a series of legal changes aimed at shifting the Balearics away from a short-termist, tourist centric model towards a more sustainable economic model that focuses on locals and the local environment more.

READ ALSO: Spain’s Balearic Islands want to limit number of tourists

Regional government in recent years has pledged to limit the numbers of tourists and improve the 'quality' of the tourism it attracts. Back in February 2022, the Balearic authorities also passed a law that banned the creation of new hotels and other tourist accommodations on the popular holiday islands until at least 2026, as part of a bid to engage their new model of tourism that values quality over quantity

Recently, the regional parliament of Spain's Balearic Islands also approved a law that allowed the holiday island of Menorca to limit the number of cars that can visit, preventing it from becoming choked by fumes and overrun during summer months.

READ ALSO: Spain’s Menorca gets green light to limit cars


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