Housing starts for government-subsidized housing in Spain made up about half of total housing starts in 2009, according to a report by the government’s Ministerio de Vivienda (Department of Housing).

Subsidized housing starts for the year numbered 79,054 units (49.6 percent of the total) compared to 80,230 (50.4 percent) private housing starts.

The global housing downturn hit Spain especially hard after years of uncontrolled residential construction. The country’s current supply of new homes could be as much as 1.2 million, equal to the entire housing stock of Madrid, and could take years to absorb. Spain’s unemployment rate hit 17.5 percent last month, more than twice the rate in Germany, according to the Independent.

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