The number of homes for rent in Spain has soared by 51.1% between 2001 and 2011, reaching 2,438,574 units, according to the Population and Housing Census 2011, published by the National Statistics Institute last week.
The data shows that the home ownership rate has declined over the past decade to 78.9%, near the levels of 20 years ago, while rental housing has increased by more than two points, from 11.4% in the 2001 Census to 13.5% in 2011.
The percentage of principal residences for rent has increased in almost all regions in the last decade. The regions registering the greatest increases are Castilla-La Mancha (from 6.8% to 10.3%) and Navarra (from 7.7% to 10.9%).
The provinces with the highest percentages of homes for rent are: Melilla (24.1%), Girona (22.0%) and the Balearic Islands (21.6%), while Jaén (5.5%), Zamora (6.2%) and Cordoba (7.4%) registered the lowest percentages.
With regard to municipalities with over 10,000 inhabitants, the coastal towns are those with the highest percentages of rental housing, with six of the top 20 located in the Balearic Islands.
The statistical agency notes that the rising trend since 1981 in the percentage of home ownership was discontinued in the decade 2001-2011. Specifically, 30 years ago, 74.9% of the households surveyed were owned. This percentage climbed to 77.8% in 1991 and to 82.2% in 2001, then declined to 78.9% in 2011, this period coinciding with some of the years of the economic crisis.
Of the more than 18 million households surveyed in 2011, more than 14.2 million were owned, while just over 2.4 million were homes for rent, a figure 51.1% higher than ten years ago.
Also highlighted in the census data is that more than half of the principal Spanish households (55.7%) have access to the Internet, with Madrid (65.5%), Catalonia (62.1%) and Balearic Islands (61.3%) registering the highest percentages. At the other end, with the lowest percentages are Extremadura (42.4%), Galicia (45.7%) and Castilla y León (46.2%).