We have all seen photos of the deserted cities outside Madrid that were built during the boom years and now lie vacant. Here, on the Costa Blanca, we do not have whole cites but there are plenty of developments that have just been abandoned. Places where nobody lives and the rats have taken over.
In many cases, the houses or flats were completed ready for buyers to move in but of course that did not happen. As the companies ran out of money, so the banks took over the properties but even they could not sell them.
In some cases, the house prices were reduced down to bargain basement levels and they did sell but in many others the banks could not afford to give away their investments. The vandals soon stepped in and stripped whatever they could leaving the sites looking like the war zones of the Middle East. Now the banks stand no chance of recouping their money and we are faced with looking at eyesores until someone either decides to knock them down or renovate them.
It is all a huge Catch 22 situation. Young people, out of work cannot afford mortgages. Even if they could, the banks have no money to lend them because of the losses they made during the boom. The only hope is for foreign buyers but of course they do not want to buy a derelict property and neither do they want a property in a deserted development.
In a handful of cases, common sense has prevailed and the empty houses have been rented out cheap just to prevent damage occurring. That is a win win situation because the people get a house at a price they can afford and the banks see some return on their investment. Sadly though, that is not common place and so the image of Beirut prevails over many parts of the Vega Baja.