Architecture in Recession: Spain

The boom in Spanish housing construction, fueled over the past decade by low European Union interest rates, was dealt a fatal blow by the crisis this past fall. According to the Madrid College of Architects, a professional association, permits for new construction virtually came to a halt in 2008. Paloma Sabrini, head of the organization, estimates that at a national level, the market will require three years to absorb the existing overstock of one million units. In Barcelona, Carlos Ferrater, an architect who works in both the private and public sectors, reports that "Most developers have come to a full stop. We've gone from euphoria to ruin in three months."

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