Legal insecurity in leases and the need for repairs are the main reasons for the 209,000 unoccupied properties in the Alicante province.
Torrevieja is the municipality with the most empty homes.
Despite the enormous demand for rental properties, one in five homes in the province of Alicante is empty, the two most quoted reasons being the legal insecurity of the owners when it comes to leasing, and the need for repairs and maintenance in many of these 209,000 unoccupied dwellings. At the top of the list are Torrevieja, Orihuela and Alicante, although in almost all municipalities the figure is very high and would allow many families with desperate needs to be housed.
So it is no surprise that the rental market in the area is subject to strong pressures, all due to the lack of supply, a fact that has led to prices reaching all-time highs, with average prices increasing to around 1,008 euros per month, almost 30% more than at the beginning of the year.
But that is only the average, with the costs of many rentals exceeding 1,300 euros in Alicante, 1,800 in Benidorm and even up to 2,500 in Finestrat.
What is surprising is that the situation is taking place in a context where there are a huge number of homes that are unoccupied, where their owners are not prepared to offer them for rent. According to the latest data published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), based on energy consumption, of the total census of 1,350,000 existing homes in the province of Alicante, there are more than 209,000 that are currently empty. This figure would rise to 596,000 if properties that are used infrequently as second homes are also included.
Focusing only on those that the INE accredits as unoccupied, Torrevieja heads the list, with 30,639 empty homes. They are followed by Orihuela, with 24,109, and Alicante, with 15,733 . The next five on the list are Elche with 9,585; Benidorm, 8,658; Santa Pola, 7,526; Dénia, 5,551; Guardamar del Segura.
The study finds that a considerable number of the owners say that they have concerns or fears about the trust they have of tenants, that discourage them placing their houses on the market. Their nightmares range from not being paid, ruining the property or even losing it. That is why they prefer to keep them empty.
Many others, according to María Matos, Director of Studies at the Real Estate Portal, Fotocasa, says that ” those who maintain empty homes do so, mainly, because the property cannot be rented or sold at this time due to its condition.
Alicante Realtor, Pedro Casamayor, agrees with the major points made in the report. “People – he says – do not trust tenants, they are afraid when arranging leases, so they choose to keep the houses empty or directly put them up for sale or simply commit them to the tourist rental market.”
The director of the Abaco agency, Juan Carlos Sempere, says that it is the lack of supply that is causing the increase in prices, with homes being rented withing 24 hours of arriving on the market. He adds that “Landlords are afraid of non-payment, but, in reality, this is a problem that can be solved with rental insurance.”
The study also confirms that owners would consider putting their house into the rental market if they had a greater legal certainty that protects them in case of non-payment or occupations. In addition, they consider that tax incentives and rehabilitation aid could also be positive measures that would help.