Housing minister Marc Pons outlining the decree law on Friday. | Govern de les Illes Balears

The cabinet has approved a decree law for housing that is intended to increase the number of VPO properties, facilitate the entrance onto the market of homes at affordable prices and tackle situations of vulnerability.

The decree widens the regional government's rights to first refusal and repurchase in respect of VPOs - viviendas de protección oficial, which are a form of social housing with prices that are set by the government. A key aspect of this decree is that it confirms a previous announcement regarding the ceding (for free) of government-owned land to private developers. These developers will be able to build properties for rent that are subject to a government tender based on the best price-quality ratio. They will then manage the properties and take the rent revenue and hand the properties to the government after a set period; the government will be involved with setting the rent prices. This arrangement was going to be for 75 years but will now be 50 years.

Contained within the decree are mechanisms for swift administrative procedures. Even if a town hall building licence has not been received within two months of it having been requested, the government will be able to approve construction. The decree contemplates the collaboration of professional institutes (e.g. architects) in ensuring swift processing of licence applications.

The government says that the decree is a response to the general need for housing and to growing demand and factors distorting the housing market, such as holiday rentals. As such, the decree is in accordance with government strategy to increase the stock of VPO properties.