Mayor Ángeles Muñoz and Antonio Guevara among others. Josele
Marbella to assess accommodation situation following mass tourism protests sweeping Spain
Housing crisis

Marbella to assess accommodation situation following mass tourism protests sweeping Spain

The Malaga university study for the town hall will decide what measures need to be taken to make housing more affordable and accessible in the Costa del Sol resort

María Albarral


Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 12:46

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Marbella town is commissioning the University of Malaga (UMA) to carry out a study to understand residents' troubles in accessing affordable housing in the Costa del Sol tourist hotspot.

Mayor Ángeles Muñoz made the announcement this week and said the study's findings would update a previous analysis carried out in 2018. She said the most recent study will "create a real map of the situation". It comes after more than 15,000 people took to the streets of Malaga city last Saturday and demanded action against the high demand for homes to purchase or rent, the lack of houses available on the market.

There are currently 6,994 legal tourist rental properties in Marbella, which is 6.9% of the 100,000 existing properties, according to data from Spain's INE national institute of statistics. These figures place Marbella in fourth position nationally in terms of the number of properties for tourist use after Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga city.

UMA's study period will last four months with the results potentially ready by the end of this year, Muñoz said, who was accompanied by UMA dean of the faculty of tourism Antonio Guevara and director of the University Institute for Research on tourist intelligence and innovation Enrique Navarro.

While awaiting the updated data, the councillor said that "in Marbella there is no tension in the housing market due to tourist flats" and pointed out the boost to the economy tourists bring which accounts for 8% of the sector's income in the town.

Marbella's large foreign population

"What is happening in other places with the phenomenon of tourist homes, we have been experiencing it in Marbella for years, but not through booking platforms, but through real estate agencies or directly with the owners," said Muñoz, who added that "the town has a very large foreign population, where their period of residence has coincided with the months of September to May, which made it possible for them to rent their homes in the high season and go back to their countries of origin in summer, when temperatures are milder".

First study

"In 2018, town hall wanted to know what the situation was regarding tourist accommodation, which we understood that although it did not represent direct competition in our city with a sector as important to us as the hotel sector, we knew that it was an international phenomenon and therefore we understood that it warranted a serious and rigorous analysis," the mayor said.

Even then, the results found half of the owners of properties for tourist use are foreigners, while 50% of holiday homes are rented for periods of between one and three months and less than 6% for a period of more than six months. The same report found that the highest concentration of tourists homes is in Nueva Andalucía and Puerto Banús, followed by the eastern part of Marbella, and that only 6% of the supply is located in the centre. "Most of these are spacious single-family homes aimed at visitors with high purchasing power," Muñoz said.

Guevara said the aim of the new study is to "update and analyse all the data after the new decree of the Junta, which regulates housing for tourist use by shifting the decision-making process of its legislation to the local administrations". He said there has been a shift in the sector since the Covid-19 pandemic and pointed out that "in all cities you cannot put the same rules because each model is different". In the case of Marbella, he recalled that in 2018 "no conflicts were detected" and pointed out that, when the study is completed, "we will have a roadmap so that, if necessary, measures can be adopted by town hall".

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