Stressed areas in the island’s north

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What do Alcudia, Buger, Campanet, Pollensa and Sa Pobla have in common? And why are Muro and Santa Margalida different? The first five are all so-called stressed areas in terms of the cost to rent, and the other two are not. The main opposition party in the Balearics, PSOE, have created a map of all Mallorca’s municipalities in order to show which ones meet the conditions to be classified as stressed – where more than 30% of average income is spent on renting (or on mortgages) and/or where the cost to rent and purchase has risen three percentage points above inflation over the past five years.

Under Spain’s housing law, rent caps can be applied in these areas. There can still be an increase in rent, but only in line with inflation. The aim is to prevent an ever upward escalation of rent prices.
Of the five municipalities which could qualify, Pollensa has the highest percentage of income dedicated to renting or to mortgages – 55%. Campanet follows with 51% then Alcudia with 49%. In Muro and Santa Margalida, the percentages are 15% and 21% respectively.

Only around a third of Mallorca’s municipalities are not stressed, and these are mostly in the island’s Pla (Plain) region. The Pollensa income percentage is way behind the municipality with the highest (Deya, 112.7%). Estellencs is the second highest (95%) followed by neighbouring Andratx on 83%. Pollensa isn’t therefore as stressed as other parts of the island, but 55% is nevertheless on the high side in comparative terms, as are Alcudia and Campanet’s percentages.

The chances of there being rent caps are zero unless the Balearic government has a change of mind, which is unlikely. The Partido Popular administration is inclined not to intervene in the housing market in this way, whereas the PSOE-led national government is. An argument for not intervening is that rent caps would force rented accommodation off the market. Llorenç Pou, who was the PSOE director-general for the economic model until the change of government last year, doesn’t see it this way, given that rents are already very high.

This, the current level of rents, is the nub of the issue. Some local rents that one hears quoted are ridiculously and scandalously high. One accepts the mechanism of the market, but there is market and there is profiteering, always assuming, that is, that people are prepared to pay. And this isn’t always so.

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