A LOOMING battle is pitting Spanish professionals and families eager to rent properties against the growing number of tourists holidaying in apartments rather than hotels.
A recent survey found that more than half of people searching for a rental home in Spain in the past year believe the tourist trade is directly responsible for sharply rising prices.
The majority opinion conflicts with data from Fotocasa, a major property portal, which suggests the tourist rental trade influences price rises but is far from the main cause.
Market tensions and wider economic shifts are behind the startling 10.5 per cent rental price rises seen across Spain in 2016 according to their analysis.
But that does little to affect perceptions on the ground. The survey found that 75 per cent of would-be renters believe renting to tourists is economically advantageous for landlords.
Six out of 10 want tougher restrictions on the tourist rental trade, including higher taxes. Solutions are already being posited on a local level.
In Madrid plans to allow neighbourhood communities to vote on whether homeowners should be allowed to rent properties to tourists are in motion.
If the majority of residents are opposed then no property owner within that territory will be allowed to advertise tourists.
Compromises, such as price fixing or type of tourist rental, could also be imposed. Though rents have shot up across Spain in the past year, only in six regional capitals are they higher than before the crisis.
With the exception of Barcelona, Madrid, Palma, Las Palmas, San Sebastian and Girona, major Spanish cities actually have lower rents than in 2007.