Spain’s ghost town-Ciudad Valdeluz
Further to our article about Spain. Ciudad Valdeluz, is Spain’s number one ghost town. Tragic, but realistic view of the booming real estate business going bust in Spain. We just wonder on who’s balancesheet all these properties reside?
“From the middle of this dry land where sunflowers are still being sown, frogs croak in summer and the winter wind is turning inclement, Ciudad Valdeluz appears. It’s a big scar that someone, in an online real estate forum, compared to “a bad game of Sim City,” referring to the video game where the object is to build and supply cities like God, or an omniscient urban planner would do.
This burst bubble has left behind a country full of empty lots and flats, of unnamed streets where just one or two lights go on at night, and a building that looms like an island in a desert. On the outskirts of big cities, it isn’t unusual to find entire apartment blocks inhabited by only five or six families. They look out their windows and see skeletons of concrete and rust, victims of the bubble. They see uninhabited land that was developed too late, when the hot potato of construction was starting to leave people with blisters on their hands. In Spain, if we wanted to, we could put a roof over the heads of everyone in Norway. Not only do we have an army of new homes; there are also those that are halfway-built or that never got past the project phase. This was the scenario at the end of 2009, according to a report by R. R. de Acuña y Asociados, one of the most reputed consulting firms: unsold, finished homes: 565,063; under construction: 290,441; frozen: 358,071; never got past the planning stage: 1,073,670; finished residential properties for sale: 1,342,435. All in all, there are 3.6 million current and future domiciles inhabited by nothing but hot air. By the calculations of this consulting firm, if the market conditions remain “constant,” it will take at least six years for the surplus housing stock to be absorbed. The future is even bleaker for land zoned for development, those empty squares like a blank pad of paper. According to Fernando Rodríguez de Acuña, in charge of projects for the company, “Clearly, nothing is going to be built there in a long, long time.” From the air, you can see the map of an unfinished, residential Spain. On the ground, people adjust to life there as best they can.” (El Pais)