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Flat chance
The Music Maker

Flat chance

This week I've embarked on an epic journey to hunt down a pink unicorn dressed in a purple tutu and sporting a fetching trilby on its bonce, writes Peter Edgerton

Friday, 26 April 2024, 12:59

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This week I've embarked on an epic journey to hunt down a pink unicorn dressed in a purple tutu and sporting a fetching trilby on its bonce.

Actually, I've begun looking for a reasonably priced apartment to rent in the centre of Malaga, but it's tantamount to the same thing – in both cases the chances of success are infinitesimal, although the possibility of discovering the unicorn probably just edges it.

Only yesterday I called a number I'd been given to enquire about a one-bedroom flat that was rumoured to be available.

"Good afternoon. I'm calling about the small apartment I'm told you have to rent in the centre of town."

"Yes, yes – we do have one that's currently free."

"How much is the rent?"

"900 euros per month."

"Sorry, I think there's something wrong with the line. I thought you just said 900 euros per month. Tee-hee. Imagine that. Tee-hee."

"I did."

"Dear Lord above. Thank you. Goodbye."

It's well documented that vast swathes of the city's accommodation are now dedicated to tourism rentals and the few apartments that remain for long term let are so scarce, the owners feel at liberty to ask for outrageously high rents seemingly chosen at whim.

On the one hand, it can be argued that it's simply a question of market forces and that there are people who are prepared to pay such prices. On the other hand, those people are rarely, if ever, from Malaga and certainly aren't locals earning a humble wage in a supermarket or bar. Thus, most of the workforce that binds Malaga city centre together find themselves living a good distance from town and spending a fair proportion of their wage on transport to and from their home. It seems a bit unfair.

Of course, this isn't a problem which affects only Malaga – many other cities are faced with the same conundrum: how to enjoy the economic fruits of a tourism boom without disenfranchising the locals. As far as I'm aware, nobody yet has found a satisfactory answer.

In the end, I'll probably end up moving out of town and commuting too which wouldn't be the greatest hardship in the world but would be something of an unwelcome inconvenience.

Anyway, must dash – I need to call a number I've been given. It's being whispered around town that it corresponds to a reasonably priced flat. Or was it a unicorn? I can't honestly remember - it all gets a bit confusing...

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