10 May 2016 – La Voz de Galicia
Its silhouette – large blocks of toasted brick emerging out of the green fields of Toledo province – attracts attention from the Madrid-Andalucia motorway. The urbanisation of El Quiñón or Residencial Francisco Hernando, as its developer, Paco, el Pocero, named it, is located in the municipality of Seseña (Toledo), which borders Madrid, in an image linked to the real estate bubble whose crash hit it hard, but from which it is striving to break loose.
It wants to show that it is just another neighbourhood in Seseña and that, as such, the ghost town with deserted streets that received its first visitors in the Summer of 2007, when the first half a dozen residents moved in, of the 580 who received the first sets of keys, has gone from being a dormitory town to one where 6,700 people are officially registered, of which 1,600 are under 16 years old.
Amongst those that financed Pocero’s mega project – a PAU containing 13,000 homes of which only 5,096 have been constructed in two phases – at the height of the boom, was the former Galician savings banks. In fact, one of the financing operations, by Caixanova, is now under the spotlight of the National Court, along with the allegedly irregular loans that the FROB sent to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor at the time. The Town Hall highlights that the neighbourhood currently has an occupancy rate of 80% and that the “reactivation” of the real estate sector has been felt “over the last year or so”, when the banks started to put the stock they holds in Seseña on the market. “The population has grown very fast”, say sources at the Town Hall. And the census confirms this: El Quiñón has more than doubled in terms of the number of inhabitants in five years, from 3,280 residents in 2011 to 6,700 currently, who represent 30% of the municipality’s total population (22,500).
But the start – which is now happening – is slow and not free from difficulties. The key factor for Seseña to become an object of desire for potential buyers once again is prices, which have decreased by more than 50%. At the moment, for example, Aliseda has several two bedroom homes for sale for €85,000, although in 2012, other real estate arms of banks such as Santander and Sabadell ended up selling homes off virtually at cost, for less than €60,000 (…).
Original story: La Voz de Galicia (by A.B.)
Translation: Carmel Drake