An idealistic solution to the Spanish housing crisis

The central government of Spain should sponsor a programme to address the problem of incomplete building works. The role of the government should be to facilitate a programme that is implemented by each of the Spanish regions. The scale of the problem differs between regions, for example Andalucia has a large number of incomplete buildings littered along the Costa Del Sol. The central government should work with the central banks to provide a loan to the region that is proportionate to the reconstruction effort. Each region would then create a backlog of developments rated according to the cost of completion.

spanish building site
An abandoned building site in Spain

The region would then sponsor the formation of housing co-operatives. Each co-operative would draw on a mixture of unemployed people and those with experience in construction. A co-operative would apply to take ownership of a building site. The criteria for awarding a site to a co-operative would be based on the following:

  • The estimated capability of the co-operative to fulfill it’s promise
  • The amount of loan required to fund the re-construction
  • A loan repayment plan based on a mixture of rental earnings and sales from the salvaged properties
  • The destruction of one or more sites that have been rated as un-salvagable

During the re-construction and destruction period, co-operative members would draw on the loans to provide a social wage and funds for building materials. As habitable properties emerge from the projects, co-operative members can re-imburse themselves through either a period of rent-free occupation, or by selling on the open market and keeping a share of the profit. The remaining income would then be used to settle the initial loan to the central bank.

In this way, all the incomplete sites would either be converted to habitable dwellings or the land made suitable for re-use. A positive side-effect of the programme would be to reduce unemployment amongst young Spanish people.

It is possible that such plans exist already, but from my reading of (English-written) media it would appear that the hopes of the Spanish government rely entirely on foreign investors. The above solution maybe idealistic but it would offer the Spanish people autonomy, and control of their own destiny.

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