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.

According to statistics kept by the department, subsidized housing starts fell 17 percent in 2009 from the peak year, 2006, when such starts numbered 95,255. By contrast, private housing starts fell a dramatic 87.9 percent in 2009 compared to 2006, when there were 664,923 such starts.

Private housing starts fell 20 percent between 2006 and 2007, 55.3 percent between 2007 and 2008, and 66.3 percent between 2008 and 2009. At the same time, subsidized housing starts dropped 12 percent between 2006 and 2007 and rose 8 percent between 2007 and 2008. Between 2008 and 2009, they fell 12.7 percent.

Both types of housing starts rose quarter-to-quarter in the last quarter of 2009: 58.3 percent for subsidized housing and 20.4 percent for private housing. Both also sank compared to the last quarter of 2008, however, 36.7 percent and 50.3 percent, respectively.


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